Half-Siblings Reunite After MyHeritage DNA Upload

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A MyHeritage DNA test was the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for MyHeritage user Larry Gilbert of Michigan, helping him connect with his half-sister Janice Cafarelli in Massachusetts.

Watch the moving reunion here:

Janice, 67, knew that she had three half-brothers and a half-sister. Her daughter bought her a DNA kit to help her mother find the biological family of her deceased grandmother.

Years after my mother’s passing I had been trying to prove who her biological father was. My mother had been adopted as a baby and always was very closed mouth about her life and for some reason we never questioned her.

None of her DNA matches were successful, and she turned to MyHeritage and uploaded her DNA results.

Once her results arrived, she was shocked by the first name — Larry — on the list of her DNA Matches.

The moment I was able to view my results on My Heritage I was shocked when the very first name was Larry Gilbert — half-brother!  

She messaged Larry, but he didn’t reply. She tried again and wrote, “If we are related, you have siblings waiting with open arms to meet you.” Again, there was no reply.

I could not let this go, I had to find a way to connect with Larry. I sent a third message on MyHeritage asking him to please contact me. Then I started writing letters to every Larry Gilbert I could find in the areas of Michigan I thought he might have been born or could be living. I started contacting every Larry Gilbert on Facebook who lived in or had contact with family in Michigan.

In the meantime, Larry, who had been adopted, had seen Janice’s MyHeritage messages but was reluctant to make contact. His previous attempts at connecting with his biological mother’s family had not gone very well and he didn’t want to be disappointed yet again.

Larry ignored Janice’s messages until one night as he and his wife Valerie were talking to another couple. They were thinking of doing a DNA kit and Valerie said she had gotten a kit for Larry. He chimed in saying “Yeah, I got a half-sister match.” Valerie was floored. She hadn’t known about the match, and she immediately made Larry reply to Janice’s messages.

Larry sent Janice his phone number, and they connected. When they spoke, they were nervous and excited. They hung up teary-eyed, in disbelief at what they had just experienced.

Janice got in touch with the rest of her father’s children and gave them Larry’s contact info. They have all since been in touch with Larry.

After careful planning, the siblings arranged to meet in Massachusetts. Larry, his wife Valerie, Janice and their other half-sister, Sherry Lynn Locke, met at a local restaurant where they hugged, shared stories, and began to get to know one another.

I can’t tell you how thankful we all are to MyHeritage. If I had not uploaded to MyHeritage I never would have known about Larry and he never would have known who his biological father and siblings were. He may have been a shock to us at first, but finding him has been a real blessing and has pulled the rest of the siblings into a closer bond than we had before.

The family is forever thankful to MyHeritage for bringing them together and into each other’s lives. Upload your DNA kit to MyHeritage here

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  • Hatty


    March 4, 2019

    I’m glad these tests become more and more popular. I really hope one day I’ll find everyone I’m looking for.

  • Bob Nicholson


    May 2, 2019

    Why not my story? I found out that I have 9 brothers and sisters after 69 years!

    • Esther


      May 8, 2019

      That’s amazing Bob! Send us an email at stories@myheritage.com. We’d love to hear more about your story.

  • Dennis Thompson


    May 3, 2019

    MyHeritage

    Dear Heritage Team,
    I want to thank you for this wonderful incite into my past. I created a family tree in the 1990’s with extensive research into my Thompson family. It was very tedious as on line research and dna testing were not available. Recently I submitted my dna and when I got the results I was delighted to find an abundance of cousins who were descendants of my original 1990’s research line. But nothing prepared me for the new discovery match that was To come. Dna confirmed that I had a half sister in New Mexico. I contacted her and upon further investigation, we figured out how this had occurred. It seems that my/our father (deceased) was stationed at a New Mexico military base in the 1950’s and dated her biological mother (only twice)at that time. She was put up for adoption but contacted her biological mother when she was 25. She had no idea who her father was until she did her dna test with MyHeritage and matched with me. We were so blown away by these results that we are both still in shock. But we have been talking non stop ever since. We are planning to meet as soon as we can. I live in Ohio and she’s in New Mexico. So to sum it all up, I would like to tell you that what you do at MyHeritage is fantastic! If it were not for you, I would never have known that I have a half sister whom I cannot wait to meet. I want to thank you and encourage you to keep up the wonderful work that you are doing. You are changing lives in a wonderful way.
    Sincerely, Dennis Thompson

    • Esther


      May 8, 2019

      Hi Dennis,

      What an incredible story! We’re so happy to hear about your life-changing discovery.

      Best,
      Esther

  • Gary Ball


    May 3, 2019

    The same thing happened to me. My family located a half sister in Minnesota that no one in the family knew anything about. We have connected and she has visited 3 times since November and will be back again in June to celebrate Father’s Day with the dad she never knew until last fall. The whole family is thrilled and loves her so much.

    • Esther


      May 4, 2019

      Hi Gary – how lovely for your family! Enjoy!

  • Karen Anne Kolling


    May 4, 2019

    This is very touching, but I am confused about how they are related. Do Janice and Larry share the same father? Is this somehow connected to not knowing who Janice’s mother’s father was?

    • Esther


      May 8, 2019

      Hi Karen Anne,

      Janice and Larry have the same father and are half-siblings.

      Best,
      Esther / MyHeritage TEam

  • Jenifer M Gibson


    May 6, 2019

    How can I upload my DNA report from 23 and Me?