"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.