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.
“Thanks to AncestryDNA, my FULL blood biological sister found me after 56 years. We both share the same biological mother AND father! My sister (Helen Zolna Abrams) and I are 18 months apart. This story impacted my life like no other. You see, I am a bereaved mother that lost my only child on May 24, 2006, at the age of 21, I had been in a very dark place. On May 27, 2017, I got THE call from Helen asking me if I had been on Ancestry.com and asked me if I had my DNA tested with Ancestry. With my “yes,” she then informed me that she also had her DNA tested with Ancestry and results came back that she was my FULL BIOLOGICAL SISTER! Alas, the bright light at the end of my darkness. Our DNA is so strong that we could have been fraternal twins. We were both adopted at birth in Montreal Canada. Helen was born March 3, 1959 and given up for adoption at 3 days old. I was born September 18, 1960 and given up for adoption at 1 day old. We both have many photographs that show ridiculous likeness. Even a picture with Santa. At the same place with the SAME Santa! In 1968 my parents moved to Florida where I still live. On August 15, 2017, my husband and I flew to Montreal where I was met by my sister, her family and a full news crew to document this amazing miracle. We spent eight glorious days together hugging, kissing and getting to know each other. We are so much alike in so many ways. Almost clones! Our story went nationwide throughout Canada. It’s as wonderful as it is surreal. Thanks to FaceTime, we have been inseparable ever since. We spend hours daily talking with each other. Thank God for Ancestry.com. You may not realize it but you literally saved my life!”
~ Adonna J.
“I am a 26-year-old wife and mom to a precious four-year-old. I grew up never knowing my biological father, and always wanted to find him. Just recently, I shared a Facebook post with the little information I had about him. At the same time, I ordered an AncestryDNA kit. Through Facebook, I ended up finding my father (or so I thought), before the kit results came back. I started to build a relationship with this man and his family..and then the results came in. I got linked to a close family member and tons of first-fourth cousins. I spoke to both my mother and father trying to figure out who was who, and neither had any idea, even on the close family member matches. So, I found some of the people from Ancestry on Facebook, and messaged them. Well, as it turned out, and unbeknownst to my mother, the original guy I had just found on Facebook, whom I believed was my biological father for 26 years, was not. My mother had a very short relationship with a man just before she met the guy I thought was my father, and never imagined he was the one who was my dad. If it were not for the DNA test results, I would never have known my biological father. Thankfully, all ended well on both sides, and I am going to meet my dad in two weeks (October 12th to be precise). He does not have any other children and is absolutely thrilled to be both a dad and a grandpa. I will also be meeting my paternal grandfather and cousins for the first time. I am over the moon. Thank you so much Ancestry!”
~ Dominique D.
“Before Ancestry, I believed I only had siblings on my mother’s side of the family…until I received a friend request from a stranger that looked familiar on Facebook. My aunts has called me over for an emergency meeting (kept it a secret) and when I got home, they asked me if the woman in the picture looked familiar. I said yes, but I couldn’t figure out why.
Well, why she looked familiar is because she was my sister…my sister that I went 26 years without knowing about. She had used Ancestry to track down our father, who she grew up not knowing. Our father passed when I was young so she unfortunately will not get to meet him.
However, because of Ancestry, our family has grown. We have met Lisa and her family and it is great to see relationships bond and form.”
“While visiting with family, my father Charlie found out on accident at the age of 45 that his dad was not his biological father. An aunt who he is very close to made a comment to him that changed his world forever. She commented about him being Jewish, not Puerto Rican like he always thought. She started crying right away and apologized. She gave him all the details she could, but had very few to share. Once he flew home, he asked his mom about it. She confirmed it was true but would not answer any detailed questions. With the little information that he had obtained, we started searching online. He was told that his dad’s name might be Beckerman or Beckman. He was told that he might be Jewish. We knew that my dad was born in Bronx, NY. He knew he had been adopted by his dad when he was around 1 or 2 years of age. He tried to write the state of New York and find his original birth certificate, but had no luck. He even had a friend with connection to the governor’s office see if she could find his original birth certificate, with no luck! Our searches died down as we had nothing more to search. My grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and deteriorated quickly.
A few years ago I decided to buy my dad an Ancestry kit for Christmas. We mainly wanted to figure out what he really was and had little hope of actually connecting with someone. He received his DNA profile back and was in fact half Jewish! He had tons of DNA matches but most were 4th cousins or beyond. He wrote his matches that popped up and asked if they might know anything, but without a name, he didn’t find out anything. This went on for a year or two. I know he was thrilled to see his DNA profile, but he longed to figure out who he came from. One day, I got a call from my dad and his voice was ecstatic. He opened up his Ancestry account to find a new match, the closest one yet. It said this person was either his first cousin or aunt! He could not believe he finally found someone. He messaged her right away and she responded! Turns out that she was adopted as an infant too and had just reconnected with her biological family. She took down my dad’s mother’s information and said she would ask her siblings if they had ever heard of her. My dad basically couldn’t sleep for a day or two waiting to hear back from this woman. She finally called back and said she thinks she is my dad’s aunt! Her name is Barbara and she said my dad would be getting a phone call soon. A few moments later a man named Howard Beckerman called and said he was my dad’s biological father!
Howard and my dad talked for an hour or two that day. My dad learned that his mom and bio dad were in love but not allowed to marry. His mom was Irish Catholic and Howard was Jewish. Their parents forbid them to marry. Howard knew my grandma was pregnant and said he even saw my dad as a baby one day from across the street, but felt helpless to do anything. They never saw each other again after my dad was born. Both went on to marry and have other kids. My grandma had four more kids and was married to my grandpa until she died. Howard has two kids and has been married to his wife for 50 something years. Howard and my dad talked on the phone constantly and also started FaceTiming! This last April, they both flew to Arizona with their wives to meet for the first time. My dad enjoyed every minute. Although my dad is much taller than Howard, they look a lot alike. My mom said they were so similar in personality and in mannerisms. They talk on the phone every Sunday for probably an hour! My dad also talks to his new biological sister on a weekly basis. He is hoping to meet his sister and brother soon. It is coming up on a year now of when we met and it has just been such a huge blessing. My dad is 62 and Howard is 84 and I just feel so blessed that Ancestry.com exists. They would never have found each other otherwise. Now they have had the chance to get to know each other and have a relationship. Thank you for that!”
~ Lesli N., Charlie’s daughter
I was given up for adoption at birth. My adoptive parents were very open with me about the fact that I was adopted, and shared that with me when I was very young. I knew my birth mother was 16 or 17 when I was born and was planning on going to nursing school. Later, I found out her last name was Clay. I knew I was born in Omaha, Nebraska and that I was adopted through an adoption agency in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I had searched on the internet 20 years ago and even had a lady help me, but the records were sealed..so I gave up. I always thought that it might hurt my parents feelings if I sought out my birth family. In the last four years I’ve lost both of my parents, so I decided to try again. I put messages on Facebook groups, but never received any answers. Finally, my cousin messaged me and told me about Ancestry. She had used it to find her birth father and told me how amazing it was. I ordered my kit that day. Waiting for my results seemed like years! I had fantasized for years about my birth mother and what she looked like. I always wondered if she looked like me.
Then, the day came! I checked my email, and there it was. I opened it excitedly. I skipped over everything and went straight to DNA matches, and when I saw all of the matches I had, I immediately started to cry. I had family, there were people out there who were related to me. It was so overwhelming. And three names down was the name Rebecca Clay. Clay. That’s my birth mother’s last name. It said this lady is my cousin so I sent her a message. I told her who I was, when I was born and where, and that my birth mother’s last name was Clay. I begged her to help me if she knew anything. Within 30 minutes I received a message back! She knew exactly who my mother was! She was her first cousin. Her name was Nancy and she remembered her being pregnant. I have two uncles….and two sisters!!! She gave me their names, and said she’d try and get their information and would get back to me. It was that fast.
The next morning…Mother’s Day…my husband called my Uncle and spoke to him for me. I couldn’t do it because I couldn’t stop crying. He confirmed everything Becky had told me. He said my sister Teresa would call me in a little bit…my phone rang 30 minutes later and I spoke to my sister for the first time. We both cried. I had a younger sister Kris, and an older brother Mike. They’d been looking for me too. We talked for over an hour. Then we had a 3-way call with Kris, and talked for another hour and a half. We asked questions, we cried, we laughed. We made arrangements to meet one week later. Unfortunately, our mother passed away in 1987, so I can’t ever meet her, but I have a huge family that has welcomed me with open arms! I feel as though I’ve known them forever. My sisters and Mike’s wife, Tina, text every single morning. Finding them has fulfilled a lifelong dream! Thank you, Ancestry!! It wouldn’t have been possible without you!!
~ Lori P.
“My name is Nichole and I am 36 years old. I am married to my wonderful husband, Andy and we have two amazing children, Anderson and Annabelle. I was in search of my father whom my mother had kept from me. She told me nothing about him and later took her own life, as well as all the secrets with her. When I finally got the courage (a little over a year ago), I took a DNA test through AncestryDNA.
When I received the results, my closest matches were 2nd-4th cousins. So, I started sending messages to anyone I didn’t recognize as being on my mother’s side of the family. I made a connection with a cousin who sends out newsletters to the family. She asked if she could publish my mom’s information to see if anyone knew her. The newsletter was sent out and time went on. It was Christmas time and I had kind of lost hope that anything would come of it.
On December 23rd, 2017, I received an email with the first line which read, ‘Dear Nichole, As you have likely figured out by now, according to our test results, I am your father!!! What a wonderful time we live in that family members can be reunited by tests such as this! I just received my test results this morning, and almost waited until after the holidays to contact you, but I just couldn’t wait!’
I was in complete shock! We are now connected and have welcomed each others families into our lives. Our family tree has grown in a new and beautiful way! I am forever indebted to Ancestry DNA for connecting my father and me. I could not be happier to not only now know my father, but also my grandparents, half brother, uncles, and cousins. ❤️
We met each other in person in January, 2018 and we were able to be with one another to celebrate my 36th birthday. Life changing.”
~ Nichole T.
“I grew up the son of a Puerto Rican father and a Mexican mother. I was proud of my Hispanic heritage and wanted to share the family history with my kids. After running into a brick wall researching my maternal grandfather, I thought a DNA test may help. Waiting for my results seemed to take forever and I was excited to see where my roots are from.
When the results came back, I was confused, not a single match with anyone who had ties to Puerto Rico. I wanted to figure out how an error had occurred but after reaching out to some cousins who had taken a test earlier, we found no DNA in common. So, I started a search for why I had all these matches from Kentucky and why my DNA came back 45% Irish.
With the help of a Facebook group, I was able to start piecing together what the DNA said my family tree actually looked like. I was sure I had the right grandparents but with several kids, how to narrow it down? Two of the kids had lived in California, so I started there. I reached out to one person and shared the news and was met with lots of skepticism about my claims. I would be skeptical too to be fair. This cousin talked with her cousins, and after sharing my search, one decided to open an Ancestry account and take a test herself. Bingo, we had a match! I had just matched with a half sister.
About this time, my half sister confessed that she knew I was adopted. Dad had wanted me to grow up without the stigma of adoption or knowing that I was the result of an affair my mom had. The story she shared confirmed what I was learning about my biological family.
Once we had the DNA confirmation, the new family welcomed me with open arms. I went from being the youngest of three (a full brother and a half sister) to the eldest of six! I got to go to Illinois to meet the family during a family reunion. About 40 people turned out who are all related to me! And these were just the ones that could make it, there were literally hundreds more as my grandpa had nine siblings and some of them were pretty prolific. 18 new nephews and nieces too.
So, at the ripe age of 59, I find out that I was adopted, not fully Hispanic, but half Irish, a whole new set of siblings and extended family, and a rich family history that includes many of the founding fathers of our own country. Oh yeah, about my maternal grandfather? Still a brick wall but at least now maybe I can get back to it! Thanks so much for allowing me to share. Knowing where I came from and who I am would not have been possible without Ancestry!”
~ Jay F.
“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.