"I’m flabbergasted and over the moon."
Tonny Van der Vegt, Australia

A recent MyHeritage DNA Match brought together two half-sisters living thousands of miles away from each other: Tonny in Australia and Janny in Holland.

Tonny, 70, living in Australia, is a genealogist and educator. She had taken a MyHeritage DNA test out of her fascination with genetic genealogy.

Unbeknownst to her, Janny, 80, living in Flevoland, in the Netherlands was asked to take a DNA test by her niece, Annemieke.

In November 2017, they discovered the surprise of a lifetime: a genetic match. Janny was very surprised when her niece Annemieke told her that she found Janny’s half-sister across the globe through a MyHeritage DNA Match.

The pieces came together quite quickly: Janny and Tonny realized they had the same father, a baker in Amsterdam who had had relationships with each of their birth mothers.

Born in Amsterdam in 1948, just a few blocks away from Janny, Tonny moved to Australia as a young girl with her family, who sought economic opportunities and joined the wave of emigration out of post-World War II Europe.

Tonny had always had a feeling that she didn’t quite belong in both Victoria, Australia as well as within her immediate family. She held a deeper allegiance to her Dutch origins than to Australia despite having lived in Australia for most of her life. Within her own family, she always felt like an outcast and yearned her entire life for love and acceptance. Within an instant of speaking with her sister Janny, she felt the belonging and unconditional love that she had so desperately dreamed of.

Of this experience, Tonny writes:

What I just discovered is mind blowing. I DO have a warm, loving family that is sweet and caring! We have the same DNA, we are the same kind, I can tell. That is such a great feeling. I’m flabbergasted and over the moon.

Janny wanted nothing more than to embrace her half-sister and give her the warm family feeling and recognition she had so longed for.  Janny grew up in the Netherlands with their biological father (the baker), her mother and her two other sisters, both of whom have recently passed away. The unexpected news of a new living sister in Australia inspired tears of delight and comfort as Janny was still very much coping with the tremendous void left by the loss of her two sisters.

Tonny flew from Australia to the Netherlands to finally meet her half-sister Janny back in Amsterdam, their city of origin. They extended their reunion to span several weeks, as they get to know each other back in Amsterdam. These sisters’ story has resonated with audiences in Holland and abroad, leading to TV coverage in the Netherlands. Janny has immensely enjoyed hosting her new sister and has graciously welcomed her into her home and heart.


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  • George Shaw


    April 23, 2018

    I think that’s fantastic!

  • Paul L. Springfield


    April 23, 2018

    Our grandson we had never seen was discovered. During 1984 our teen son and his girl friend became pregnant and the girls parents pretty much forced her to give up the baby for adoption. It was a closed adoption therefore no one knew the disposition of the baby nor could they gain access to any information about the recieving adoptive parents.
    Thirty four years later my daughter presented me with a dna kit because I had expressed an interest in knowing what my family tree was. I submitted the test and was awaiting a report when I received some inquiries from an individual I did not know about family information. This individual had also submitted a dna test approximately 4 or 5 weeks earlier. He had seen my report even before I knew it was complete. After a few email and telephone exchanges I suspected this individual was our grandson we had never seem. Eventually we confirmed this to be the case and a in August of 2016 we met with him and his family in Austin, Texas where one of their relatives was getting married.

    It was a wonderful meeting and all of us were elated to see one another. Earlier this month my wife and I made a trip to Indiana to visit our Grandson and his family and parents. It was an exceptional time and highlighted with our getting to see and get acquainted with our great grand daughter. Our Grandsons parents are exceptional people and raised our Grandson in very favorable environment.

    I never thought I would ever see him in this life but thanks to God we have experienced something that cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

  • Laurie Boyd


    April 24, 2018

    Wonderful! I myself discovered I also had a half sister I never knew existed when we met it was instant chemistry! It felt as though we had known one another forever. We can still finish each other’s sentences almost as if we are twins except we look nothing alike! Now we have grown boys and surprisingly our sons really resemble one another.

    • Esther Shuman


      April 25, 2018

      That’s so lovely! Enjoy each other!

  • Jan


    April 26, 2018

    This is wonderful news l am very happy for them, and l wish them all the best. A big thank you to my heritage for helping them to find each other and god bless

  • marina


    April 26, 2018

    I have a similar story born in Italy, adopted to the USA, my mother had several other childern,born in Italy. although not through Dna but facebook, my sibling that remained in Italy, was able to locate me. We met in December she flew to Florida, it was amazing and as if we had known eachother all our lives…..

    • Esther Shuman


      April 29, 2018

      Hi Marina,
      What an amazing story! We’d love to hear more about it at stories@myheritage.com.
      Best,
      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Marlene Eandahsega-Williams


    May 7, 2018

    What great news. I am praying that thru this dna program that I may also find my long lost brother that my father had before he met my mother. When my father was in the army he was stationed somewhere over seas and had told us that he had to leave his child and his mother behind when he was brought back to the states. Shortly after returning to the states my fathers time in the United States Army was over and that’s when he met my mother and they began their life together. Although my father never forgot about his son overseas he was never able to contact his mother as she had moved from her previous address and didn’t leave a forwarding address. All his mail he had sent her came back to my father as address unknown. I always knew that there was a huge part of my fathers life missing and although my father had passed on I feel the need to find the older brother that I’ve never got to meet. But ima so happy for all the people this dna program has helped to get siblings together. May god continue to bless the many people who are still seeking family out there and help each and everyone of them.

  • Christina Scott Liddle


    May 23, 2018

    I also have a quandry. Born in Oban, Scotland in 1944, was adopted out 2yra 4months. Prior to this my birth Mother had three other children my sisters and Brother.. Firdt child passed away at 5yrs from Measles, then we came after. I know all birth names, tried to find out a little as found a cousin, sadly she passed away a couple of years later.
    Have had DNA done but feel it was not a good one on my part, so may try again. My sister Mary is 2 years older then me and brother a couple of years before her, his name was Sidney and the surname we had was Scott after mothers name. No father is shown.
    Mother never married and worked all her life. She came from a very large family7 in one and 7 in her next…