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Secret Told and Kept Close

Genetic testing by companies like and 23andMe are unraveling some of the stories behind so-called 'Gertie's Babies,' people who, as infants, were born and sold to adoptive parents between the 1920s and the 1950s in Montana by Gertrude Pitkanen, the New York Times reports.

"Tales have emerged of desperation, betrayal, and secrets taken to the grave, but also of joy and newfound connection, like Heather Livergood's," the Times writes.

Sixty-nine-year-old Livergood, the Times says, found through two half brothers and was able to fill in some of the gaps in her knowledge surrounding the circumstances of her birth.

Livergood, who said she grew up loved, had been told by her father that she had been bought for $100 from Pitkanen in a hotel room in 1946 and that her birth certificate said her mother's name was Valerie Wilson. She's since learned her mother's name was Valerie Sandberg, and she had become pregnant as her husband was still away with the Army Air Corps in the Pacific in mid-1945 with another man's child.

Livergood says that this has given her insight into the lonely years during World War II.

Still, the Times notes, many of the secrets remain secure as other "Gertie's Babies" have been unable to get a glimpse into their pasts.