Our Stories: Discovering long-lost siblings

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Just a few days after creating a family tree on MyHeritage, Nancy Guay received a message: “My name is Judy, and I think I’m your sister.”

These were the words Nancy Guay – of Montreal, Canada – and her brother Jamie had been waiting to hear for over 50 years.

Nancy: For a moment I felt the ground disappear from under my feet. I’d discovered my lost sister after believing I’d never find her.

The siblings were separated when their mother, Doris, left her husband Roland, who had a history of heavy drinking. Nancy was only 8 months old when her mother left. She has no memories of the divorce, but she always knew that her mother took her older sister Judy. Nancy and her brother Jamie, then 3, were left behind with their father, who raised them.

Nancy: I never met my biological mother. I was always angry that she didn’t want me — that’s how I saw it — since she left with just my older sister. Judy, who was then 5, remembers the day they separated: I was playing in the yard and suddenly I heard a scream. I went inside and I saw that Dad was putting ice on Mum’s broken arm. Mum decided to leave and took me to her parents. That was the last time I saw Nancy and Jamie.

Judy Watson went to live with her mother at her grandparents’ house. For the first few years, she kept in touch by phone with her brother Jamie. But then her mother stopped that communication.

Judy: Dad wanted to take me too, but Mum refused… I even remember him once appearing in the doorway of the house, but Grandma refused to let him come in and take me.

In 2002, Nancy’s father asked her to try to find Judy. She joined MyHeritage, adding the few details she knew about her biological mother and her older sister to her family tree. Around this time, Judy also decided to create a tree to try to find her two siblings.

Soon after, she received the match to her sister’s family tree.

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Nancy: It was very emotional. We exchanged telephone numbers and spoke right away. The first few moments were really hard because we just didn’t know where to begin, but with time and patience we got through to each other.

The siblings were fascinated by the similarities between them:

Judy: It was the most powerful thing we had experienced in our lives. The more I got to know Nancy, the more I understood how similar she is to Mum, even though she wasn’t raised with her. But the most amazing thing is my similarity to my father. I found out that my father was a dog trainer. And I’m a dog trainer, too!

Judy is currently enjoying her renewed connections with family. Finding her family again has given meaning to her life:

Judy: Until now, I felt alone in my journey in the world, without knowing where I come from. Today, thanks to MyHeritage, I know my roots and I’m no longer alone on this amazing journey. Thank God this happened.

Heart-warming stories such as this demonstrate how magical family history discoveries can be. Finding a long-lost relative after years of searching can change a person’s life forever. We’re happy to offer tools for incredible family tree research and to have played a vital role in reconnecting old or lost family ties.

Are you looking to make an exciting breakthrough into your family history? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Joan Middleton


    March 3, 2016

    My late husband, Dave at age 65 years learned he was not an only child. He had older siblings. Marriage #1, Thomas and Lucy were Parents to Tommy and Patty. Marriage #2, Dave’s Mother was Edna, son, only child, David (2 children). Marriage#3 younger siblings were Raymond and Donna Marie. In 1995 we located Ray (4 children) and he was in touch with older sister Patty (4 children). Sadly, Tommy (no children) had passed two years earlier. Tommy was in WW-II, an Air Force photographer, Dave served 29 years in US Army as a CWO-4 in Missile Systems. So sad they never met. Ray and Patty were in touch thru the years, his sister Donna Marie was challenged from birth and died as a toddler. Our first meeting in March 1996 we had lunch at Red Lobster in Melbourne, FL. Ray and wife Becky flew in from Dallas. Diners sitting near us over-heard our conversation and were amazed that we were related and had never met each other. We all consider it a Miracle that we met.

  • Donna


    March 4, 2016

    Love stories like these!

  • Agnes mcghheelooking for Robson family decent ed from William Robson Catherine black


    March 5, 2016

    My mum was brought up in indtitutustion and with help of another girl got away on second attempt her mother died at aged 39 and in those if know one could look after you you went to poor house she was youngest of three then passed to institutions but en I found rwo living cousins one who was dying if farmers lung and hadn’t the breath to get involved understandably and another who’d moved to England and could read me of the family bible mum died nearly two years ago at 3 months of her 9th birthday I have since found that a lot of stage going ons were happiness around the time of grand mothers death and they were instituted by people who were or knew that they did have living relatives as this man later became a registrar and was also witness to family members marriage he also the same man who signed them into institution now thete is nobody really interested ti find the truth except me I have loads of info but due to health would still like to know if there are any living cousins in area where I’m living now as that’s where mother was born near I found an aunt of my mother who lived not far from here on great grandmothers grave stone who died in 1983 so surly there must be a cousin or something with a bit of passed down info

  • Phyllis


    March 10, 2016

    Inspiring stories! I am grateful and astonished to gain an understanding of my vast ancestral history which I had no idea about, especially the Jewish and American side. It makes me feel I belong in the world, as I grew up without any sense of belonging to anyone.Thank you, very much.

  • Janice Tomaschefsky


    March 19, 2016

    I’m grateful to read all your family stories, it’s veryheart warming. I started this as a whim and now it’s a heart warming passion. I’ve been able to connect with cousins I lost track with over 50yrs ago.
    Thank you to all who participate and My Heritage for their web site.
    And by the way, if all is correct I’ve taken my tree back to 1660 in the USA.

  • hitchinson


    March 24, 2016

    I am new with the fameli history ibattel with the sistim I hope get it write somtime

  • Barbara Whitley


    April 6, 2016

    We learned thru this site that my husband’s uncle we was killed in WW2 was married prior to leaving for war and had a child and grandchild.

  • Susan Donohoe Cumberlandg


    April 24, 2016

    Looking for what I can find out about our family history.