"Never give up hope. When there is a will, there is a way."
Susie W., Papua New Guinea

Susie W., aged 39, has been using MyHeritage since December 2015. She grew up with her mother in Papua New Guinea. She is now married with six children. Growing up, Susie always felt that she looked and acted differently from the rest of her siblings. She asked her mother questions about her roots, but her mother always answered that Susie took after her grandmother, whom she never knew.

In 1994, her grandfather told her the truth. Susie, then 16, had always thought she had a different father, but she was shocked and angry. She confronted her mother who confirmed that Susie was the product of a brief encounter with someone, who remained unknown. Susie had no name or country to go on. Based on the limited information from her mother, he was an American tourist working with a Lutheran missionary organization.

For years after, Susie searched for more information about her biological father. She left no stone unturned, asking everyone who might know something for clues. But no one knew anything else about her father. She kept hitting a brick wall and she was quite discouraged. After an exhausting and stressful search, she decided to quit looking.

Years later, after taking a DNA test, Susie was finally able to get some answers about her biological father.

In 2014, when she heard about DNA testing, she was amazed to learn that a person can find relatives just through a DNA sample. She decided to give it a try. Her results confirmed that her father was of predominantly North Western European heritage. Surprisingly, her closest DNA matches were all British.

When my results were posted around October 2015, I was in for a surprise! I logged in to my account and there was a list of total strangers who happened to be my fourth-to-fifth cousins. For the very first time, I knew where my biological father was from…Europe.

It was an exciting moment for Susie but she wasn’t satisfied. She didn’t understand where to go from there, and how to use her DNA matches to get more information about her father. But she decided she wasn’t going to stop there. She started searching online, and soon she reached MyHeritage.

My instinct was telling me that I would find something on MyHeritage, so I signed up and started looking through historical records. While I was searching on MyHeritage, I came across the link to “hire an expert.”

She enlisted Legacy Tree Genealogists, our research partner, to advance her search. As a first step, the researchers located U.K. birth, marriage, and death records, as well as U.K. censuses for her DNA matches. This helped determine that the matches were descendants of Charles A. and Louisa V. of Grays Thurrock, Essex, England. They concluded that Susie was also likely a descendant of Charles and Louisa.

One descendant of Charles and Louisa shared DNA with Susie on the X-chromosome. Since the genetic cousin had no ancestry from Papua New Guinea, it was assumed she shared DNA with Susie on her paternal X-chromosome. Therefore, Susie descended from Charles and Louisa through her paternal grandmother. In turn, Susie’s paternal grandmother was a granddaughter of the couple.

One of Susie’s other close genetic cousins had no shared DNA with Susie’s other relatives. However, she only had a single line of ancestry from the U.K. A single couple was narrowed down to the likely ancestral candidates of the cousin, Charles P. and his wife, Mary.

Having identified two couples who were likely among Susie’s ancestors, the descendants of each couple were traced. The team searched for marriages and relationships among the descendants of the respective families. A granddaughter of Charles and Louisa was found to have married a grandson of Charles and Mary P. This couple had two sons, either of whom could have been Susie’s father!

Susie was ecstatic. She contacted one of the sons and his daughter and discovered that, while he had never been to Papua New Guinea, his elder brother had. A Legacy Tree Genealogists researcher in Australia was contacted to locate immigration records for him. These records revealed that the elder brother had a daughter who lived in Queensland, Australia.

Susie reached out to her half-sister in January 2017, and although her sister was quite surprised by the news, she was also excited. They exchanged information and photos, and the half-sister couldn’t believe Susie’s resemblance to their father. The two arranged to meet.

 

The reunion was so emotional. We connected instantly and talked for hours. It was as if we had known each other forever. The feeling was remarkable, embracing each other for the first time in 40 years and shedding tears of joy together.

Since this meeting, the relationship between Susie and her father has been confirmed through a MyHeritage DNA test. They’ve been in contact and Susie learned of another half-sister as well.

Our lives have changed now that we are family. We are excited to create new memories together with our children. My older sister’s kids are excited to meet me and my children and vice versa. We are looking forward to a big family reunion soon.

When she started her research, Susie was looking to find more information about her heritage and to get a sense of closure.

It turns out that my findings developed into something beautiful. My dad accepted me as his daughter. I gained two new sisters, a niece, and a nephew. I’ve also learned the names of my paternal grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents.

After a search of over two decades, Susie is finally complete with her findings.

I have found my family and was finally able to get the closure that I so needed through MyHeritage and their research partner Legacy Tree Genealogists. MyHeritage DNA Matching is amazing because you get a breakdown of your ethnicity that is clear and easy to understand. The DNA Matches are also useful and you can through them. They also have billions of historical records for you to dig deeper into your family history.

I want to tell others who have open questions like me to never give up hope. When there is a will, then there is a way.

Have you thought about locating unknown relatives? Or have you successfully reunited? Share your stories in the comments below.


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  • Ginna


    October 25, 2017

    Wish I could report finding my father. Still looking after 37 years.

  • Darlene White


    October 25, 2017

    What an amazing story!! Really, what are the odds of her ever locating her bio-Dad when they lived so far apart? DNA & MY Heritage…angels in disguise.

  • James Umland


    October 25, 2017

    My Heritage, I too found my my biological father after 40+ years of searching. It was extremely difficult, as my father had the very common name of “James Clark” It turned out that he passed in 2004. But he had 7 children after me. I made first contact with them 08/02/17. And was welcomed to their family with an overwhelming amount of love. I’m truly blessed to have found them!

  • Ginger Hammack


    October 25, 2017

    So what if you don’t have a name?
    How do you find your father then?

  • Frank Baldwin


    October 26, 2017

    Congratulation !!! What a great moment that was, I’m sure. I’m very proud of Susie W for being so very persistent . God bless you and your new found Dad !! Enjoy.
    Best regards,
    Frank from central Texas

  • Marisa Baines


    October 26, 2017

    I was adopted at birth. In my younger years I had lots of questions, anger, and emotion surrounding my adoption. I am of mixed race and did not even know what ethnicity I was. Later I was told I was 1/4 black, 1/4 east indian and half white. Very long story short at the age of 35 my sister gave me a My heritage year as a birthday present. When I got my results I discovered what my ethnicity was! too my surprise it was not what I had thought my whole life! I also didn’t realize that you get paired up with DNA matches. I was matched up with a girl that was very interesting to me because we resembled each other. so grew up in a place where I did not see anyone who resembled me! I thought to email her but I chickened out. a couple days later she emailed me. She had been on a quest to find her father’s family (another cool story) and so she was able to figure out exactly who my biological father was (another long story! lol) it turns out I am of African descent….then to Barbados, hence the west indian not east indian. After finding my biological father he assisted me in finding my birth mother through a name. I had believed I knew people in my small town to be my birth relatives…i was always too nervous to ask them my questions. It turns out they were family friends not relatives. Anyway. it is a really really complex story so it us hard for me to write this! my mother waa very young…parents disapproved. while she was pregnant with me she told him there was a car accident and she had lost the baby. He was very shocked/emotional to find out I was alive. Pretty crazy story. thanks for all you do!

  • Judy Burke


    October 26, 2017

    I have been trying to find who my natural father is for many years. My natural mother would never give me any information. Over the last 2 years i have met 2 natural aunties and uncles as well well as some cousins. My DNA is on My Heritage so far nothing has happened that i can confirm who he is.
    My natural uncle has told me who is my natural father. They have said 99% but i just want that 100%. i have written to three of his sons a few months ago but so far they have not contacted me. Im 73 and would like to know my family medical history not only for me but my daughters

  • Patricia may risbrough


    October 26, 2017

    I recently took a d.n.a test with my heritage. I am 70 years old and was never told who my biological father was who I am desperate to know even though he will be deceased. My results came back with more American than anything else so I think I could possibly be a war baby is there anymore help you can give me please kind regards Patricia Risbrough

  • Tom Burke


    October 26, 2017

    I paid a lot and not getting anything. No Prison records, no hospital birth records and no adoption records.
    A total waste of my money and my time.

  • Roseann Crooks


    October 26, 2017

    Ginger Hammack: I found my father and family without a name. First have an DNA test and start from there. You’ll be surprise what can be found.

  • Simone Sutton


    October 26, 2017

    Congratulations i am in the same situation i have no name and no information on my father i would love to find out but dont know what to do next i have had a DNA test and it seems im Scandinavian, Iberian, Greek and Native American Indian help kind regards Simone Sutton

  • Rozanne


    October 26, 2017

    I would love to find my bio dad. All I have is a name and very general location at the time of my birth. That was in 1955. I don’t hold much hope of finding him alive, but you never know. I’ve been burned by two different PI’s so my trust level is not high. Still, stories like this give me cause to hope.

  • Eleanor


    October 26, 2017

    Lovely story with wonderful outcome for all!

  • Ellen Mulkern


    October 27, 2017

    I’ll try to make this a short story. Forty five years ago I adopted a little girl. When my girl turned 40 she wanted to find her biological mother. We did not know where to start because my daughter was a foundling baby having been left on a doorstep at birth. Therefore the state had no records of her birth. My son had the idea of placing a display ad in the newspaper of the town where my little one was found. The ad was answered by the woman who found the infant at her door. She knew the biological mother who eventually admitted the birth. Yes, there has been a reunion but mother will not reveal the name of the biological father. We are still searching.

  • Camille Thompson


    October 27, 2017

    My mother took the name of my biological father to her grave. I have all but given up hope of finding any information about him.

  • MOHAMED IBRAHIM KONNOLA


    October 27, 2017

    KONNOLA is a family name at the district headquarter of Malappuram of Kerala state in the southern region of INDIA. One of our ancestor namely AHAMED KUTTY (AYAMUTTY in local language) fled to Singapore in 1920s and got married there. He has one son namely MUHAMMAD ALI and one daughter namlely HALEEMA in that wedlock. After that he returned to INDIA and later died. He had another wife and children in INDIA. Any one come to know about his heirs in Singapore may inform me: mikonnola@gamil.com

  • Robinn Lea


    October 27, 2017

    Does anybody have any idea how much it costs to have a geaneologist search for an unknown father? Any approximate costs? I realize it varies but if anybody hired a professional I would like to get some information.

    Like so many my mother took this to her grave.

    Regards,

    Robinn Lea

    • Jessica Katz


      October 29, 2017

      Hi Robinn,
      Thank you for your comment. You can hire a researcher through our research partner, Legacy Tree Genealogists. Learn more here: https://legacytree.com/myheritage/

  • tonya scanlon


    October 27, 2017

    wow congrats ivebeen trying to find my father for 30 yrs now i keep hitting bricks walls n give it arest for a while i have found out where he was born n know his full name but alot of records from where he was born got burnt due to a big fire i moved to a different country n found out my maiden surname is actually from this country im living in now but i dont know where to begin tryiing to find grandparents as know nothing at all bout my father or his side of the family just1 thing my mother kept telling me was he properly has loads of children n left the mother so i could have loads of half brother n sisters out there

  • Seb Axtman


    October 27, 2017

    trying to find Josef Axtman circa 1853 – father of Anton Axtman born Janaury 22, 1883 In Baden Kutschurgan Russia Died December 24, 1961 in Aberdeen, SD . Josef was married to Helena Wangler born 24 November 1853.

  • Mary


    October 27, 2017

    I would love to find my maternal grandfather. I have his name, but no birthdate. Cannot locate anything about him. Do know my maternal grandmother and cousins on that side of the family

  • Mrs EG Pieterse (Hulsenbeck)


    October 28, 2017

    I have been trying for over 30 years to get a german passport, but to no avail. They say that as I cannot give them any info from germany, it will be impossible. The records were all destroyed during the last war in Berlin and roundabout. I have my DNA results and wonder if there could be a connection somewhere. Even though my parents on both sides were born in SA. they come from German stock late 1800’s. I have my paternal grandfathers original birth certificate (born 28 March 1869) as well as his original marriage certificate. unfortunately , both these documents are in the old deutsches shrift and I cannot read all that is in them. My maternal ancestry is as follows:
    changes in Hypervariable Region I (HVR I) 16126T-C, 16294C-T,16296C-T,16519T-C
    changes in Hypervariable Region II (HVR II) 73A-G, 195T-C, 263A-G
    MTDNA Haplogroup (Branch) T
    Do you think I could find any relatives ? or do you have enough info ?
    Mrs Elizabeth Grete Pieterse (nee Hulsenbeck)

  • Willie Mae Frazier wise


    October 28, 2017

    That is awesome. I am looking for my daughter biological father t. His name is Richard James he was at Ft. Jackson working at Head Quarter Troop Command back n 80, 81. He got his papers t go over seas n March of 81 he never new I was having his baby for 36 years I have been looking for him, our daughter has Lupus and she wants so much t c and meet her father.

  • Jo Acuff


    November 2, 2017

    Great story! Always exciting to find a nugget! I’m still looking, still hitting the proverbial brick wall but every now and then there is a crack and you just keep widing the crack until you can see what’s on the other side………

  • Ricey Mitchell


    November 21, 2017

    I wish I could find my brother early Mitchell he was from Tunica Mississippi in the last I heard he went to Denver Colorado with his mother probably 70 years ago because I’m 76 and he was a big boy he walked on his hands to amuse me I never forgot him

  • Cynthia adams


    December 10, 2017

    Iam searching for my birth parents and any other family members I can find
    I was given another name at birth …then my adoptive parents changed my name when I was about 5 months old when they lethally adopted me…any help would e appreciated..thank you