Fulfilling a Promise: Jessica finds a long-lost uncle

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Jessica Shackelford, 31, from Oklahoma City was sent on a mission by her grandfather: Find all her lost uncles and aunts.

Her grandfather knew he had seven children from previous relationships, but unfortunately never had the opportunity to be part of their lives. He lost touch with their mothers shortly after their births. Later in his life, he beseeched his grandaughter, Jessica, to help him locate his now-grown children.

Through extensive research, Jessica managed to find all but one. Then, sadly, her grandpa died.

“I felt like I failed him,” says Jessica.

Fortunately, he had taken a DNA test and it was uploaded to several DNA sites, including MyHeritage.

Six months after his death, she received a message through MyHeritage from Stephen Brown, 51, of Jacksonville, Florida.

Stephen was raised by a single mom and had been searching for his father since the 1990s. He was the missing son!

Watch their heartwarming reunion:

Growing up, Stephen had always known his father’s name but it was too little to go on.

“If you have ever tried to google James Ronald Roberts or James R. Roberts, 10,000 of them pop up on the internet.”

Stephen’s girlfriend purchased a MyHeritage DNA kit to help him locate his father.

The night before Thanksgiving, Stephen received his DNA results from MyHeritage, and almost immediately saw an alert that he matched with James Roberts — he had finally found his father!

He quickly contacted Jessica, who had to tell him the bad news about his father’s death.

“By the time I got the results, I missed my father by five months after searching for 51 years. It’s tough.”

However, Stephen was delighted to learn he had six siblings!

“My disappointment pretty much grew to joy knowing that I’ve got all these brothers and sisters out there that I never knew I had.”

Tonya, Jessica’s mother, shared:

“It’s like we’ve been friends our whole lives or family members our whole lives.”

As Stephen learned more about his father from Tonya, Jessica and his other siblings, he realized he shared much in common with his father. Just like his dad, he had served in the military, and even in the same branch, the Navy.

Jessica and Tonya arranged to give Stephen a special gift.

“I have decided to give him the one thing I got when my grandpa died…his Vietnam veteran hat that he wore every day. I’m also purchasing an urn necklace that’s Navy-engraved, in which I will put some of my grandpa’s ashes.”

“I want him to have something tangible. I have my memories, so I can let go of my hat.”

Jessica explains:

“I know my grandpa is smiling down. We did it, we found them all and it’s come full circle.”

Do you have an amazing DNA connection story to share? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below!

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