"Just touching her, I knew she was family."
Christine Courtwright, Florida
Forty-five years ago, Christine Courtwright’s mother let her in on the family secret. She told her that one day, a woman may knock at the door claiming to be Christine’s half-sister — and that Christine should believe her.
Christine guarded her mother’s secret for decades. Then, earlier this year, she got a DNA Match with the long-lost half-sister her mother had mentioned. After 67 years, the half-sisters reunited in Florida.
When Christine was a young adult, her mother confided in her that Christine’s father had a child from before he and her mother had met. Christine wasn’t sure what to think: was this story true? She wasn’t sure, and never thought to actively pursue the question.
Over the years, Christine became an avid genealogist. As a resident of The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, Christine has spent countless hours helping friends research their family history online.
Christine recently joined MyHeritage to help a neighbor research his own family history. While doing so, she created her own MyHeritage account. After uploading her DNA data, she was shocked to discover a close DNA Match.
It turned out that the match, Liz Cuccinello from Dover, Delaware, had also joined MyHeritage to research her family history. Liz found out at age 15 that she had been adopted at birth but wasn’t given much information about her biological family.
She had tried to search for her biological family over the years, but back then, without the online databases we are fortunate to have today, it was much more difficult to do so.
Liz originally tested with another DNA service, but after receiving many distant and irrelevant matches, she decided to widen her search. So she uploaded her results to MyHeritage.
Christine and Liz realized right away that they were, in fact, half-sisters. They began to correspond and speak on the phone, and then, after 67 years apart, they decided they would finally meet.
Christine invited Liz to visit her in Orlando. At nearly 70 years old, she was about to become a little sister.
A reunion 67 years in the making
Christine waited at the airport with bated breath, holding a bouquet of red roses. Not even knowing what Liz looked like, she paced nervously — but when Liz appeared, Christine knew immediately who she was. They embraced warmly and began sharing stories and jokes.
Christine remarked how natural it was for them. “Just touching her, I knew she was family.”
They’re so excited to get to know one another and continue their life journey forward — as sisters at last.