Press "Enter" to skip to content

After 75 Years, He Finally Found Out Who His Father Was and Reunited with 3 Siblings

Fabienne Meyer subscribed to MyHeritage 4 years ago in hopes of finding information about the origins of her husband Herbert, who never knew who his biological father was. A TV program gave her the idea to have Herbert take a MyHeritage DNA test — and thanks to the DNA Matches he received, she was able to find his family!

This is their story:

My husband Herbert was born in March 1950 near Frankfurt am Main. His mother was not married and already had a daughter who was born in 1946. Both fathers were American soldiers stationed in Germany. Herbert’s mother was the oldest of 13 children and had to support the family. They lived with their parents at that time. Herbert’s grandmother took care of him and his sister, and she was very hard on them. In 1958, Herbert’s mother married a German man and had 3 more children with him. At the beginning, the stepfather took care of his stepchildren, but when he had children of his own, the situation changed for Herbert and his sister and they suffered under him.

When the children asked who their father was, Herbert and his sister never got a satisfactory answer. Herbert was told that his father died in the Korean War. He never learned his father’s name and had never had a chance to find out anything about him all his life. In time he came to terms with this, and he went on to marry and have two children. Since he did not have a good relationship with the family that raised him, he broke off contact. Then, a few years ago, his wife died of cancer. We met after her death and then got married. I talked to him a lot about his family, and slowly he got back in touch with his sister. I wanted to help him to find out at least something about his paternal family, but everything I did was in vain, because we had neither a name nor a date of birth.

The only thing we knew was that his father was stationed near Frankfurt in May-June 1949 and that he probably looked very much like him, since he bore no resemblance to his mother. His mother had been dead for some time when we met, so I could not ask her.

Herbert (right) and his father

Herbert (right) and his father

One last hope for finding out about his paternal family

At some point I saw a report on TV about DNA and that it could tell you where you came from. I was very interested and at some point I read something about MyHeritage. That’s when I thought this could be the one last hope for finding about his paternal family. Herbert took a DNA test in the winter of 2019, and we got an important match right away. Through it, he found a cousin in California that he had no idea existed. However, it was from his mother’s side. A sister of hers had had a child there and placed him for adoption. This cousin had already located a relative in the U.S. through her DNA test who is my husband’s half-brother, as we then learned. Herbert’s mother had given birth to another child out of wedlock in 1953 and this time placed him for adoption. This child’s father was a German, but he was married, as we also learned later. So he was adopted by an American couple. His name is Ralph and he has a daughter. Since then we have been in touch and have met him and his daughter twice. But more about that later.

Herbert’s DNA test showed that he has over 60% Scandinavian ethnicity and many of his distant matches are from Denmark. So we assumed that his father’s family comes from this country. This also fits him very well. He is tall, blond and has blue eyes.

But we had to wait over 3 years until we finally got a discovery about his father’s family on February 14 this year. We had already lost hope. We will never forget that day.

A close DNA match

MyHeritage sent us an email saying that a close DNA match was found for him…. a paternal cousin! Of course, I immediately wrote a message to this match and received a response. After telling her my husband’s story, the cousin replied that she had many uncles who fought in WWII, but only one of them who was stationed in Europe and after the war in Germany. She also sent us a picture of him and, when we received this picture, we knew that he was Herbert’s father. The resemblance is striking. But it was a stroke of luck that she did a DNA test at MyHeritage. She and her husband later told us that they have been doing genealogy for a long time and they have both found family members going way back (they are both Mormons and have learned a lot through the Mormon database). But they had never done DNA testing before. When her husband read on MyHeritage last December that the DNA tests were on sale, he ordered two, one for him and one for his wife, and so we finally got to learn about my husband’s father’s family. And the family really is from Denmark!

After making contact, we didn’t think twice. I have a sister who lives in Wyoming, and Herbert’s father’s family lives in Utah, just 400 kilometers away. So we booked two flights to the U.S. for the end of May. Since we both hardly speak English, my sister was a big help. When Ralph, Herbert’s half-brother, who lives in Indiana, found out that we were flying to the U.S., he decided to fly to Wyoming with his daughter for 4 days — and so we met both of them there at my sister’s, even though Ralph had already planned a trip to visit us in Germany in September.

Ralph (left) and Herbert meet in Wyoming

Ralph (left) and Herbert meet in Wyoming

He never knew he had a biological son

After our time in Wyoming, we went to Salt Lake City and there we met the family of Harding, my husband’s father. Harding got married rather late: he was about 35 years old at that time. He was still in the army when he met and married a Canadian woman. She brought a son into the marriage, Glen. The couple also lived for a time in France, where Harding was stationed. While there, they adopted an 8-year-old French orphan. Harding never knew he had a biological son of his own. The two adopted children were his sons: Glen, now 83, and Jean, 75.

We met them and their wives in Salt Lake City. They took us to visit the cemetery, and then to Herbert’s father’s favorite restaurant. It was very emotional and there was a connection right away. We had to leave the next day because the cousin lives in southern Utah and we had rented an Airbnb there.

Herbert with his two brothers, Glen und Jean, in Utah

Herbert with his two brothers, Glen und Jean, in Utah

Enjoying a dinner together at Harding's favorite restaurant

Enjoying a dinner together at Harding’s favorite restaurant

There we met Susan and Leon, my husband’s cousins. We spent two days with them and learned a lot about Harding and Susan’s family. And then, one day before we were supposed to go back to Wyoming, we got a call from Glen. He wanted us to meet again, which we did with the greatest of pleasure.

Herbert with Leon and Susan, his cousin in Utah

Herbert with Leon and Susan, his cousin in Utah

A trip we’ll never forget

This trip to the U.S. is one we’ll never forget. It was very emotional, bittersweet, so full of new impressions, of happy moments. It filled the emptiness in my husband’s heart. He finally knew who he was, he finally had a father, a cousin and three new brothers.

Herbert visits his father's grave in Salt Lake City

Herbert visits his father’s grave in Salt Lake City

In the middle of September, Ralph and his daughter flew to us in Germany. We spent 10 days together and it was very emotional again. Both had never been to Europe before. They got to know their ancestral home a bit as well as their half-sister and nephews. They saw the place where Ralph’s mother lived and visited her grave and the town where Ralph was born. It was for them here as it was for us in the U.S. — the last piece of the puzzle in a life full of questions and, as Ralph’s daughter wrote, “For me, I think it has brought peace to my heart that I didn’t know needed to be filled.”

Herbert and Ralph with Erin (Ralph’s daughter) and Herbert’s son and daughter-in-law

Herbert and Ralph with Erin (Ralph’s daughter) and Herbert’s son and daughter-in-law

Ralph, Erin and Herbert in Koblenz

Ralph, Erin and Herbert in Koblenz

And so we stay in touch with all these wonderful people we have met and would like to see again. Both sides are definitely in favor of further meetings. It’s just a pity that it’s so far…. Many thanks to MyHeritage for this opportunity — without the DNA test we would not have been able to experience all this.

We also sincerely thank Fabienne for her efforts — without which Herbert would certainly not have come this far — and for sharing their story with us. If you’ve also made an amazing discovery with MyHeritage, we’d love to hear about it. Please send it to us via this form or email us at

Order a MyHeritage DNA kit

The post After 75 Years, He Finally Found Out Who His Father Was and Reunited with 3 Siblings appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Source: My Heritage

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *