"Thanks to MyHeritage, my Grandma shared a joyful Christmas with her new relatives!" Ludmila Benová, British Columbia

This is a guest post sent to us by Ludmila Benová, a MyHeritage user who wanted to share an amazing discovery she made with us.

I’d like to share with you how MyHeritage helped my Grandma find her siblings — brothers she wasn’t aware of until she was 86! 

My Grandma, Květoslava Bechyňová, maiden name Štiková, was born in 1930 in the Czech Republic and grew up as an only child to a single mom. At the time, my great-grandmother, Julie Tichá, born Štiková, worked as a house servant for a wealthy family in Prague. It must have been an extremely difficult time in the ’30s of the last century in central Europe, especially as a single mom. 

My Grandma was brought up largely in her grandmother’s house, as her mom was working to earn enough money for the family to live on. Luckily, she always seemed to have work, and later on, she also married an amazing man. 

My grandmother didn’t know her biological father and she never looked for him. When she turned 7, she met her new stepfather, who truly loved her. She never felt the need to search for her biological father. However, as a child, she did overhear her aunts mentioning his name, Emanuel Lukšíček, when they were chatting.

The years passed, and she married and had 2 children and 4 grandchildren (1 of whom is me!). When she was already a grandmother and all her older relatives had passed away, she shared the name of her biological father with her curious kids and grandchildren, myself included. We sort of expected that the name would be connected with the family her mom was working for at the time she got pregnant. The family was Jewish, and unfortunately, they disappeared during WWII. But the truth turned out to be surprisingly different. 

I really wanted to find my great-grandfather, Emanuel, so I searched for him online. In the summer of 2015, I searched different websites and databases including MyHeritage but with no luck. After a couple of unsuccessful tries, I gave up and abandoned my quest.

 

About 9 months later, I got a message in my MyHeritage inbox from a Karel Lukšíček. The message was very short, asking me what relationship I had to the name I looked up about 9 months ago.

MyHeritage has a feature called Search Connect™, which allows users to connect with other MyHeritage members who have searched for the same ancestors as you. It turns out that the person who sent me the message found me via Search Connect™ when he searched for my great-grandfather’s name, Emanuel Lukšíček.

I started to communicate with Karel, and quickly learned that he might be my grandmother’s half-brother. He is also a MyHeritage website user, and as the family genealogist, he takes care of his family tree.

At the very beginning, my grandmother was very cautious and she didn’t want to believe it. A few weeks later, the 2 met, and it was immediately obvious that they are related. The resemblance is striking! The 2 then took DNA tests to confirm their relationship… and it was true! At the age of 86, my Grandma found a part of her family that she had never searched for, but welcomed enthusiastically — two half-brothers and their families.

Thanks to the new relatives we discovered, we were able to put together most of the pieces of the story that led to my Grandma’s birth. And the story turned out to be quite different from what we expected. 

My great-grandfather didn’t belong to the employer’s family — he actually worked in their furrier’s workshop. They were both 21 when my great-grandmother got pregnant. We don’t know how long or involved their relationship was.

The only missing piece that we still don’t know for sure is whether or not my grandmother’s biological father knew about her. This may remain a mystery…

Thanks to the MyHeritage website, this year my Grandma shared a joyful Christmas with her new relatives for the third time, and next Summer they will celebrate her 90th birthday together!

Best, 

Ludmila Benová
Vancouver, BC, Canada


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  • Paul Morris Hilton


    March 12, 2020

    Good Morning Friends and Family. I too have recently have been in touch with a Cousin whom I had not been in touch with for many years. He and another cousin (his sister have been contacting me re distant relatives who were from or had links to Hylton Castle in Durham co., England. There are carved into the Stone of Castle 20 + Coats of Arms or Heraldic Shields. There are just 3 buildings in England where there are COAs. I have been working on this Historical data for many years (since I was about 14 years old- now 80. My Grandmother Archibald-my Dad’s Mom sent me a Hilton COA in Needlepoint way back then. I have been able to locate many links to our family via the data that many relatives have sent to me. In return, I would be honored to assist anyone with and Hilton, Archibald, Morris and many other surnames if they wish. Al the best to all the great folks at My Heritage. Sincerely Paul Morris Hilton

  • Kate


    March 13, 2020

    That’s a wonderful story. I found my mother’s half sister but she died in 1989. Her sons are impossible to get a hold of and the grandsons don’t seem to care. It’s sad that I’ll probably never know about my aunt.

  • Margaret Whalley


    March 13, 2020

    How do I find my mother’s father? My mother, Stella (mother’s maiden and family name) Dreyer, was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1914. Her mother was Poppie(nickname) but daughter of Johan Nicolaas Dreyer and Marie Petronella Fourie who were married in 1877, possibly in Namibia.

    Poppie’s partner was ‘English’ but no name. My mother and her three sisters were sent to an orphanage in Cape Town South Africa due to family circumstances and small pox.

    Through DNA I found my grandmother and my family tree but how do I find my grandfather without a name?

    Margaret Whalley born Hutton daughter of Stella Dreyer

  • Hilda Gilbertson


    March 14, 2020

    I had my DNA test last May, and on boxing day found a match for a third cousin which eventually led to finding 3 half sisters I didn’t know I had. One of them lives here in Australia and the other two live in England where I was born. One was booked to come with her husband for a holiday to Melbourne to visit her sister the following month, and I seized the opportunity to meet them. Two of the three half sisters knew about me, but I knew nothing of them. We arranged to meet at a restaurant for lunch, and spent three hours chatting, then another four hours at my half sisters house. I lived in Sydney, and we have agreed to stay in touch. Thank you ancestry for helping me to find them. Another success story !