"This has been a life-changing experience for both of us." Andre Gantois, France
Allen Henderson of South Carolina took a MyHeritage DNA test to discover his roots and explore his ethnic background. Allen never imagined that he would find a brother in France whom he never knew existed!
During World War II, Allen’s father was a U.S. soldier stationed in Normandy, France where he met and fell in love with a French woman named Irene (Andre’s mother). They wanted to marry and build a home together in the U.S., but Irene decided that she could not leave her family. Irene’s brother (Andre’s uncle) was part of the French Resistance. He was captured and sent to his death in Buchenwald. After her brother was killed, Irene’s mother was inconsolable. She stayed in France as she didn’t want her mother to lose another child.
Irene hid the fact that she was pregnant from Allen’s dad. On her deathbed, however, Irene revealed that he was the love of her life.
Allen’s father went on to build a new life in the U.S. after the war and married Allen’s mother. He passed away several years ago, never knowing that he had a son in France.
After watching the results of a MyHeritage DNA test on Fox and Friends, Allen was also inspired to take a MyHeritage test to discover more about his ethnic origins and roots. Shortly after receiving his DNA results, Allen got an email from Andre’s wife, through MyHeritage, saying that he had a half-brother living in France!
It was very surreal because I just had no idea. I got to thinking how I could have a brother in France and then I remembered my dad fought in World War II on Omaha Beach and in Normandy. He was there from June 1944 to November 1945. So I thought that it’s possible.
Andre grew up not knowing anything about his family. All he knew was that his father was an American soldier. He had spent his entire life searching through historical records, trying to locate any information that could tell him more about his father.
He would often look in the mirror and think, “Who do I look like? Where did I come from?”
Now he has the answer.
From their earliest Facetime conversations, Andre and Allen were shocked by their remarkable physical resemblance.
In addition to owning nearly identical cats and both being partial to plaid shirts and sweater vests, they have even led similar lives. Like Allen, Andre worked as a part-time Evangelical pastor, which is quite remarkable given how small the Evangelical ministry is in France compared to the U.S.
Just a few weeks ago, Allen traveled to Nancy, France to meet Andre and his family for the first time.
The two men spent time getting to know each other by sharing stories of their families and looking through old photos.
Allen remarks, “This has been a life-changing experience for both of us.”
They are both extremely grateful that MyHeritage DNA has helped them to find each other. Allen is delighted to welcome Andre and his children into the larger Henderson family. Andre is thrilled to discover the biological family he’s been searching for his entire life.