This holiday season, we are honored to share the reunions of 12 Ancestry customers who found long lost family members. We are inspired by the connections, love, and hope from these stories, and we hope you will be too! Check back as we add each story throughout the month.
“Miracles do happen! I can attest to that after finding my biological father thanks to Ancestry.com that resulted in a DNA match with my second cousin Diana Barnes. I was born October, 1967 in the Philippines during the Vietnam War and grew up with the hopes of finding my dad. I knew he was out there somewhere, but never imagined it could become a reality considering I didn’t even know his name.
I submitted my DNA in 2014 primarily to determine if I was Hispanic, but on Sept 30th, 2017, I checked my profile to learn that I had three new significant matches! I emailed all three individuals and was surprised to hear back from Diana with the willingness to help with my lifelong quest. Diana worked diligently and had me in touch with my biological father, Gary Dean Barnes within five days!
We spoke for the first time on Oct 4th, 2017, the day before my 50th birthday. I ordered the DNA kit for Gary and on 11/5 the results confirmed that he and I matched as Father and Daughter!
This last year has been amazing; we are truly blessed to have found one another! We have been spending a lot of time together to make up for all the years of being apart. We love sharing our story as an inspiration to others that miracles can happen- don’t give up on your dreams!”
~ Olivia R.
“My story began when I was born October of 1967. My mother, Cookie, my older brother, Jimmy, and my birth certificate father, known as Michael, all resided in the Baton Rouge area. For unknown reasons my parents split up, and Michael would later join the US Army, subsequently moving away. Approximately two years later, my mother met and married Jimmy Jackson, who adopted both my brother and me. I could not ask for a better childhood. Jimmy provided stability and a since of direction, and raised my brother and me to be responsible, respectful and honest. We always had hot food to eat and a warm bed to sleep in. We grew up in a Christian environment. Several years later, my brother joined the armed forces and eventually moved to the state of North Dakota for his first assignment. This same year my mother and adopted dad divorced. Reaching the age of 21, I took a job at the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, where I still hold a position today as a supervisor in the detective office.
Sometime in 2017, being curious of my origin and wanting to know more, I decided to try Ancestry. A few weeks later, I received my results, which also included people you are related too by DNA matches. Intrigued with this idea, I started investigating the DNA matches by placing them into four categories, the names of my grandparents and my bio grandparents. According to the DNA matches, a young female named Alley showed up as a first cousin. Being so closely related to this individual, and placing her on my bio father’s side of the family, I decided to send her a message to ask her if she was a Butler or Babin. She replied neither, and was not familiar with the names. Not sure of what to do, I reached out to my brother, Jimmy, and after six months of harassment, he finally agreed to do the Ancestry kit. One month later, I would learn that Jimmy and I are half-brothers.
I began investigating the mystery and contacted the next DNA match on my list, named Andy, in hopes of finding the connection between the three of us. Andy recognized the name Ally. It was soon revealed the only connection is through his uncle Donald Owens. Andy saw a photo of me, and said I resembled his uncle a great deal. I also learned he was a retired Baton Rouge Police Officer. Andy would later send photos of a younger Donald and wow, there was no doubt whatsoever. I was a clone to this guy.
After learning this, I contacted my mom, to see if she could provide any further details or facts about what I discovered, in which she could not. My dad Jimmy, who has always given me sound advice, encouraged me to seek out Donald and show him what a good man I had become. I decided to contact Donald in October, 2017. I arrived at his house, (20 minutes away), and as I started walking towards the house, Donald, who is now 80, met me halfway with open arms and a hug. He said he could not deny being my father, we look too much alike. Later we did a paternity test and confirmed that he is my bio father. I have to admit, I’ve always suspected of having a different father than my brother because we’re very different people, although we do have some similarities. Donald and I have continued a friendship the past year, I have learned a great deal about his family and medical history, and I still remain very close to my adopted dad.”
~ Ken J.
“I was always told that someone else was my biological father. He was on my birth certificate until my stepfather adopted me when I was 5. Very shortly before my Mother died however, she confessed to me that my biological father was a different man that she had an affair with. He was married with children, and they did not stay together. She told me his name and I packed it away in my heart for over 20 years… not really sure what to do with this new information.
In June of this year I decided to submit my DNA sample after watching TLC’s Long Lost Family and realizing there was a huge hole in my heart! I longed to find my father! I never dreamed that when I received my results that I would match with a first cousin with the same last name as the one my Mother had alluded to all those years ago. I emailed my closest match and one other one that morning. By that afternoon, I had found my father! He was still very much alive at 91 years old. Within that week, I was video chatting with my Father! About three weeks later, I flew to visit him and some of my new found family. He lives about an hour from where I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. We talk to each other at least once a week and we really didn’t realize how much we needed each other! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
~ Deborah P.
“Around December of 2017, I got word from relatives that there were two females that matched with them as “close family.” They showed me their results and I noticed some other names on their matches, but these two names I did not know. During the summer of 2018, I decided to do the DNA testing because I started having suspicions that these two women might be my sisters. I had been in contact through texts and Facebook messenger with them and they knew I was going to take the test. About 28 days later, and it was a long 28 days, we got our results, and we indeed are siblings, yet none of us had ever met or known the other two. We found that we shared the same biological father, the one I grew up with, but Amy and Holly never knew.
I am 47 years old, Amy is 45 and Holly is 40. Amazingly, after talking to each other, we found that Amy and I shared a lot of the same friends and she was even originally from the city I live in. Holly, although 7 years younger than me, was from the same area as my wife, and they knew a lot of the same people as well. It amazed all of us how small this world really is.
On September 22, 2018 we finally got to meet! I don’t get nervous easily or often, but I found myself very anxious waiting on Holly to arrive. After we greeted each other and did our introductions with the people that were there, the three of us sat by ourselves at a table and I showed them pictures of their father/grandparents they never knew. We told told each other more about ourselves and got to know each other better. We get along amazingly well and I believe we have all found something very special. Holly and I only live a few hours from each other and Amy is only about 10 hours away, so we will have many more opportunities to visit one another. Although we perhaps missed out on things, we are all very blessed to have found each other now and I cannot wait to keep learning more about my new found sisters.
Thank you Ancestry for letting us find each other and bringing us together.”
~ Mike M.
“I found my father on Ancestry.com. I wasn’t even looking for him! I thought another man was my father my whole life – 36 years. My birth father did his DNA kit about a year before me so once my DNA was in, it matched us and we were both completely shocked. We know a lot of the same people. He messaged me on 07/03/18, and the next day we spoke on the phone. My Dad wanted to know me and I him. We met on 7/15/18. It was extremely emotional. He had balloons, a cake, and “it’s a girl” decorations! I have a stepmom, two more sisters, another brother, three nieces and two nephews. My husband and I felt so comfortable with them, it was so surreal and has been amazing getting to know them all. I grew up with male figures in my life, and never felt like I was missing anything or anyone, but finding out this kind and amazing man is my father is everything I never knew I wanted. It’s a whole new life almost. I want to renew my vows so he can walk me down the aisle and dance with me for the father daughter dance. Things like that. I hope everyone enjoys my story because it’s my favorite one to tell!”
~ Patricia F.