Posted by pplotkin on December 5, 2018 in Holidays, In The Community

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 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 30th2017, 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 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.


  1. Linda Turcotte

    Im so happy for you both! Life is full of surprises…lol looking for a brother and sister from childhood.god bless you both you look ☺

      • Harry Marnell

        What a warm and wonderful story, Patricia! I can feel your joy and excitement right through my computer screen. After tracing my ancestry for over 40 years I don’t anticipate finding any news as surprising as yours… but I have learned to always be ready for the unexpected.

        Thank you so much for sharing your lovely story!

  2. Jessie Fuger

    I guess I’m lucky, my family’s written genealogy goes back to 1818 and it has been kept UTD by people who care about where they came from but I don’t think that will continue. I have been trying for almost 20 years to find someone who would promise to keep it up to date after I’m gone and the younger generation, at least in my family, could care less and I think that is so sad. Maybe some day after I’m dust, somebody will find it and wonder…

  3. Tina Fox

    I am new to this and has sent my DNA off to be tested.
    I was told I had a brother and sister in flordia.if they have done this test and our DNA matches how will I know where to look?

    • Lin

      If you find them, there are online search sites( many not free) such as truthfinder. I’m using that to find people for a high school reunion. There are others as well z . If you join one, call them for help getting started and for suggestions.

    • Lydia Copeland-McNeal

      Tina, start by in boxing your 1st, 2nd and 3rd cousins on your DNA matches. They will be able to connect you to other relatives. If you get a 1st cousin, that means their mother or father, is your mother or father sister or brother. I hope this is helpful to you.
      Lydia C-M.

  4. Jenny Little

    I discovered 2 half siblings but sadly both had passed 2 yrs earlier. Sent the information I had researched on our mutual father dating back to India from 1800 so they would have the background they were missing. They were pleased with same however we are only in limited contact. Am with Jessie Fuger above ….. the younger generation do not seem to care a hoot about keeping up the family history although mine will probably keep a copy of my findings if I present it in a simple way. Good chance that my work could be lost though as my lot are constantly on the move – often leaving ‘stuff’ behind! As it is I have just been delivered of all their personal memoriabilia to ‘keep safe’ …. Just when I’d thought I’d handed it over to them to take care of! ……. What to do? The thought of all that work being for nothing is very disappointing & saddens me greatly.

    • Kelly Naramore

      I too thought after 39 years I had wasted my time….until one day…I noticed a little blue eyed girl sitting mesmerized by a story my grandmother (and her great) shared with me when I was her age. I knew… I am trying to get my work in an order someone can understand besides me. I intend to give it to her soon…

    • Lin

      Perhaps put your family tree online on a site such as and give relatives the username and password so whoever decides it’s interesting or important Or wants to keep it up can do so even if the paper is lost. I also have no one who seems interested to carry on. Maybe when the younger generations get older someone will decide its interesting or important

  5. Rosalee

    I found family when I wasn’t even looking. Ancestry DNA notified me of a “1st cousin” match that I didn’t think was correct. After contacting the other person, I found that the match was 16 year old boy looking for his father’s family. (His mother was managing it for him.) He didn’t want anything to do with his father (and I can’t blame him) but he wanted to know about his father’s family. Turns out he is my sister’s grandson and my great nephew. We are in contact now and he really is a GREAT kid. Looking forward to getting together in the spring.

  6. Amy A

    I was adopted in NC in 1971 and long ago gave up any hope of finding my birth parents. I had a DNA test with 23 and me a few years ago and in August on a whim took advantage of a sale with Ancestry mostly to confirm ethnic heritage. I always laughed at the commercials where someone learns they are from a different background then they thought. I was absolutely and completely shocked in September when the results came back and an immediate DNA match…to my biological father. We connected via the site, then by email. Both bios were still alive AND I have two full brothers and two nephews. My bio mom flew to California to meet me and her grandson two weeks later, my father a few weeks after that to celebrate his (new) grandson’s 10th birthday. Sorta of a whirlwind but such an amazing gift this year. So glad I took the test and looking forward to meeting all sorts of family I never knew about.

  7. Michael M

    I never new who my father was. My mothers step father, who raised her was killed in an auto accident in January 1973 and sent her into depression and drinking. She went for a time where she didn’t know what she did and didn’t know who my father was. She was always ashamed and never told me the truth about that and I always believed he just didn’t want anything to do with me. I took the ancestry DNA a few years ago and almost 4 years ago I got a hit on someone who was listed as close relative- 1st cousin. We connected and always thought we were cousins. I did believe he was on my fathers side as he wasn’t related anywhere on my mothers side. Earlier this year on Facebook I saw his father in an old pic and knew at that point that we were brothers. The pic looked like an old pic of me. My brother and I began talking and believed the same thing. At this point my mother came out and told me the truth about how things happened and she still doesn’t ever remember my father and her ever being together but she doesn’t remember much from that time. It was the early 1970’s and neither my mother or father remember anything as they both were drinking a lot. Since then I have met my father, 2 brothers and a sister I never knew I had. I did the DNA specifically to find him, even though at the time I believed he didn’t want anything to do with me. As I got older I wanted to know medical history which is why I was looking. I am so glad I found him and learned what I believed for so long was so far from the truth. We only live about a 3 hour drive apart so am looking forward to making up for lost time.

  8. Angela Conway

    My mother, who passed away from cancer at age 52, was adopted at birth. There’s a whole side story that my (adoptive) Grandmother told my mom, which of course has became “the story surrounding my mom’s adoption”. There was a short period of time that my mother searched for her biological family, but that was before the internet and only a last name and a story to start from. It was impossible! I took the ancestry DNA test in 2016. I had one close match that come up as a 1st cousin match. I emailed this match and after a little while, I received a response! Turned out, my match is the husband of my biological aunt. Kurt was more than helpful in trying to help me solve my mystery, but my aunt didn’t want to be involved. I was given a name for my biological grandmother, but with no other matches and no way to trace this information that was given to me, I was again staring blankly at a proverbial brick wall. I decided to take a break!! I was exhausted and let down that my “family” didn’t want to help me connect the dots. That is until last year…3 days after Christmas, when a new match contacted me saying she thinks we are cousins. I logged onto Ancestry (hadn’t been on after getting so discouraged) and sure enough..she showed up as a second cousin. Her story was, she was adopted and searching for her birth mom, whom she found just a day or two before contacting me. After speaking with her, and sharing with her the information Kurt had passed on to me a year earlier, she was able to help me confirm the name I was given as my grandmother! I then got motivated to start my search again. I found out my grandmother had passed away in 2011, one year before my mother. I also found that I had 3 1/2 uncles and a 1/2 aunt. I’ve only been in touch with one uncle…who told me that they learned as teenagers there was a “sister out there somewhere” but again….that was before the age of internet. I’m not sure if the other three will ever come around and I still don’t know the identity of my biological grandfather, but my story is still unfolding! I’m not giving up and will one day know that 1/4 of me that’s still missing in my identity. As more matches come in, more messages being received from matches…I am that much closer to having a name for my bio granddad. Until then, I am ecstatic about the cousins and Uncle that have been brought into my life and my search continues. Don’t give up! I know I’m not!!

  9. #DNA_R_Us has been my mantra since Drs. Crick & Watson discovered it and its brother RNA. Long before their 1962 Nobel prize, and internet and all the other technology which makes finding one’s roots were available, I made it may mission to retrieve my identity stolen by adopters courtesy of a county judge in 1950. I was 5 1/2 years of age, and 3 years before abandoned along with my little sister who was pulled from my embrace, adopted as was I to different adopters. We remain separated by the law which says we are not to know our ancestry in any form, including denial of birth and adoption records, et al. Today we are still separated despite my being in multiple DNA data bases.
    But I have her OBC and my own-only because we ere not born in the state of adoption, along with my borther’s and my mother’s. She and my father left their daughters in a dog pound in 1948 taking our brother with them… I was 37 before I knew parents’ names from the original birth certificate the adopting state swore many times that I would never have. As the old kosher hot dog commercial announced: We answer to a higher law.
    I had my DNA done first with the Ancestry DNA Project just to have an idea of my origins … It was years later that conformed by DNA matches that key people from both maternal and paternal sides of my family were confirmed to be my family members. They continue to deny me, but I just smile and move on… As a court cannot make me or anyone else child of X when in fact we are child of Y, no one from the DNA chain can disattach us from the familial branch of the family tree.
    In truth, names on a piece of paper are anti-climatic because they are just names of strangers. Finding their histories and maybe even them is the real key to sorting out who is who and the whys and wherefores of the adoptee. Most adoptees are the skeletons in a closet, easily rejected because they are really not known by others. Buyt keep on keeping on. You may find someone who will not slam a door in your face or the phone in your ear or the unanswered emails/FB requests.
    Happy holidays and happy reunions to those fortunate enough to have them.

  10. Shamen Starr

    I found my half sister through a DNA test from Ancestry. But, better yet, that sister found her biological mom 69 years after her mother had been convinced by unscrupulous hospital staff that her daughter had been born dead. My half sister’s DNA test was a gift from her daughter. I pray that more people will be able to reconnect with loved ones from the “baby scoop era”.

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