4 Times the Gift of a MyHeritage DNA Kit Changed Lives Forever

Many MyHeritage users have found that the MyHeritage DNA kit makes the perfect gift. The gift of a DNA kit is so much more than just a nice experience of finding out your origins — it can lead to life-changing family history discoveries.

These 4 stories highlight just how much impact a MyHeritage DNA kit can have one someone’s life.

Reta traced her birth father, and connected with her cousins

Born in 1943 in a home for unmarried mothers, Reta was the product of a brief relationship between her mother, a young WAAF stationed at Woodhall Spa Airbase in Lincolnshire, and a Canadian airman serving under Guy Gibson in Bomber Command. Reta’s mother told the man who had originally intended to marry her before the war, who was stationed far away, about the pregnancy. He told her he would adopt the baby and marry her as he had planned. That’s what happened: he married Reta’s mother and raised Reta as his own alongside the two sons they had together.

Despite a happy and secure upbringing, the mystery of her biological father lingered. Reta’s mother, reluctant to revisit the past, only shared sparse details: her biological father was Canadian, named Donald Dell, and had been stationed in England during the war. This scant information remained unexplored for decades, partly out of respect for Reta’s adoptive family and the potential impact on unknown relatives in Canada.

The turning point came in 2018. Reta, then 74, received a DNA kit from MyHeritage as a Christmas gift from her husband and son. The DNA results led to a life-changing email from David Dall in Canada: a first cousin. This discovery set Reta on a path to uncovering her Canadian family roots, learning that her biological father, now known as Don Dell, had survived the war as a POW but never knew of her existence.

The story culminates in emotional reunions with her newfound family in Canada, including her half-sister Anna and various cousins, and the celebration of her 80th birthday surrounded by this extended family in Cornwall.

Ina, Reta, and David

Reta and her cousins

Read Reta’s full story here.

Penny found her long-lost brother

When Penny Fox blew out the candles on her 64th birthday cake, her wish for family connections was about to become a reality. Thanks to a MyHeritage DNA kit from her husband, she uncovered an entire paternal family she never knew — complete with a half-brother, uncle, aunts, and a whole crew of nieces, nephews, and cousins, many just a stone’s throw away. Penny has been spending quality time with her newfound family, and “it just keeps getting better and closer.”

Adopted just two days after birth, Penny had lived most of her life with zero clues about her biological roots. Her adoptive mother provided no leads. Attempts to uncover her origins through official channels turned up redacted documents. Even a private investigator compared the level of secrecy to the KGB! But Penny had one key — a full birth name — that led her to a British woman named Dorothy Hale Coutinho. Dorothy, originally from England, lived in Singapore with her husband during World War II, then settled in Canada with their young son. Unfortunately, the husband didn’t like how she was raising their son, so he took him away and left her. Dorothy was devastated, and, wanting another child, got pregnant during a brief relationship with Penny’s father.

Penny’s husband gave her a MyHeritage DNA kit for her 64th birthday. While spending winter in Palm Springs, Penny was notified of a MyHeritage DNA match. The name was Richard Smith — a half-brother 14 months older than her! Richard, who recently lost a sister, embraced Penny as his sister from the start. 

Their first family reunion in Victoria was very emotional. Now, she’s a regular at family gatherings, finding joy in the details — like discovering how she and her cousins have similar-shaped toes!

Penny (back row, center, in the navy jacket) reunites with her birth family

Penny (back row, center, in the navy jacket) reunites with her birth family

Read Penny’s full story here.

Dianne discovered she had a sister

In November 2021, Dianne Larson, 71, was heading to a Christmas show when a call from her daughter turned her world upside down. According to a DNA Match on MyHeritage, she had a new half-sister. This revelation came at a poignant time for Dianne, who had recently faced a cascade of grief with the loss of her two brothers, father, aunt, and uncle. The feeling of being alone was overwhelming, her immediate family having dwindled rapidly over the past months. The DNA kit, a thoughtful gift from her daughter Saundra, was initially sought to explore distant familial roots. What it delivered, however, was a connection that Dianne had longed for all her life, and at a time when she needed it the most.

The half-sister in question, Sarah Triplett, 74, had been adopted at two years old and had also always yearned to know about her biological family. Her life had been filled with questions about her origins and potential siblings. Dianne’s mother, who had a deep love for children, would have certainly welcomed Sarah had she known that her husband had another child. Meanwhile, Sarah’s adoptive mother had hinted at siblings, but Sarah had always assumed they were from her biological mother’s side.

The impact of this simple gift — a MyHeritage DNA kit — proved to be life-changing. From the sudden connection established via an email to their first emotional meeting in July 2022, the sisters discovered uncanny resemblances and interests that cemented their bond. They now enjoy regular communication and a renewed sense of family that extends to their children.

From the right: Sarah, Dianne, Saundra and Theresa

From the right: Sarah, Dianne, Saundra and Theresa

Don’t miss Dianne’s full story on our blog. 

Tina found her father — and then a brother he never knew about

Tina Hampton always questioned the truth about her biological family. Adopted as a baby, Tina knew very little about her father and his side of the family. That all changed when she received a free MyHeritage DNA kit from the DNA Quest project. Meanwhile, a separate act of holiday generosity — two DNA kits given as Christmas gifts to a pair of siblings living in the Faroe Islands — led to another astonishing connection: Tina discovered a half-uncle, a sibling of her father that neither she nor her father knew existed.

Tina’s story began in 1968 in St. Louis, Missouri, where she was born and later adopted by her maternal aunt and uncle. Her father’s identity was a mystery until his abrupt appearance when Tina was 44. Finding him opened a chapter of Tina’s life filled with questions about her origins, but it was the DNA kits — one pro bono and two as gifts — that provided the answers.

The unexpected messages from the Faroe Islands turned out to be from the children of her father’s half-brother. It turned out that her father had another sibling he’d never met. This half-uncle, Sigmonder “Siggy,” had been searching for his American relatives for over 3 decades. Through the gifted MyHeritage DNA kits, he was finally able to make the connection. Tina, her father, and her newly found uncle had the opportunity to meet and forge a new bond. Although her father passed away shortly after this reunion, Tina now has an uncle who reminds her of him.

Tina and her father

Tina and her father

Read Tina’s full story here

The best gifts don’t just bring joy for a moment — they transform lives. Take advantage of our Holiday DNA Sale at MyHeritage and give a gift that could start a new chapter in someone’s life.

Order a MyHeritage DNA kit — on sale now!