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MyHeritage DNA Helped Me Connect with My Surprise Birth Father’s Brother

Carol Simpson discovered at age 55 that the man who raised her wasn’t her biological father. After uploading her DNA results to MyHeritage, she received a match that led her to connect with her birth father’s family, including half-siblings and an uncle!

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Here is Carol’s story:

Early during the pandemic lockdown, my daughter, Morgan, and I were discussing family heritage, and I remembered she had taken a DNA test. Out of curiosity, I asked to see it. She opens up the account on her phone and passes it over to me… what are these Irish surnames? Further, I noticed that nobody with my maiden surname was listed. Did this mean my father wasn’t really my father?!

That was how I discovered, at 55 years old, that the man who raised me was not my biological father.

Somehow, it made sense. I’d always had this feeling that I was different from all my other family members. My mom refused to answer any questions, so I embraced this exciting challenge and started trying to track down my biological father.

I ordered a DNA kit for myself, and the results were surprising: I’d always been told I was of German heritage, but the ethnicity results indicated that I was 60% Irish! I started trying to make sense of my DNA matches, but didn’t find anything conclusive. Then I learned that you could upload your DNA data to other sites, and uploaded mine to MyHeritage. When the results came in, I received a 25.8% match to a John Sullivan from Ireland, meaning he could be an uncle or half-brother — but either way, he would know my biological father!

Carol Simpson

Carol Simpson

I immediately wrote to John, but he didn’t reply to my messages. Furthermore, he had no family tree and there was no information about his age.

The MyHeritage research team steps up

In July of 2020, I posted on a Facebook group for people searching for relatives using DNA, and noticed a post by MyHeritage’s VP of Marketing, Aaron Godfrey. I decided to write to him. Here’s what I wrote:

Hi Aaron,

I saw one of your posts on the DNA Detective FB site. 

I am searching for my unknown biological father. He probably doesn’t even know about me.  

I have a 25% match on MyHeritage by the name of John Sullivan. There is no other visible information to tell me his age and there is no tree.

I have sent messages several times but haven’t heard anything back. 

Is there a way to determine if this account is still active or to determine the age of the individual? I am certain he can tell me who my father is.

Thanks for your help, 

Carolyn Simpson

Aaron put his Research team on the case. They determined that John hadn’t visited MyHeritage for years, which meant he likely never saw my message. The researcher, Roi, managed to contact John and asked him to check his mailbox, explaining that he had a close DNA match who was looking for him. John checked and called the researcher back. He said that I was his niece, and that his brother — who had unfortunately passed away — was probably my father! He asked the researcher to give me his number and email address and said that he was waiting to hear from me.

So I emailed him, and we started corresponding and getting to know each other. A few days later, my mother finally told me the name of my biological father, confirming my findings.

Uncle Jack, who currently lives in Ireland, put me in touch with the rest of the family. During my previous research, I had identified a likely half-sister, Marisa, but had hesitated to contact her because I understood she was in treatment for cancer and was concerned that learning about me might be too stressful. In February 2021, Uncle Jack finally put me in touch with her, and that May, she and I met up in Charlotte, North Carolina. This also happens to be where my son DJ lives, so we all met up at her hotel. What an emotional and joyous meeting!

Carol and Marisa

Carol and Marisa

We began our celebration on the rooftop bar then later, DJ took us downtown to an Irish pub (of course!). After we shared our story, drinks miraculously appeared all night! The next afternoon, Marisa checked out of her hotel and came to stay with us at DJ’s house. The quiet country setting gave us the perfect opportunity to talk and to meet Timothy Jr (my half-brother), Michael (another half-brother), and Marion (Marisa’s mother) via Facetime.

Meeting Uncle Jack in Dublin

Finally, in July 2021, I flew to Dublin to meet my uncle for the first time.

Uncle Jack met me at the airport and drove me through the city to give me a quick tour of Dublin. The architecture and history are amazing. We celebrated at home with an assortment of Irish whiskeys from various regions. We thought it best to try and power through the day and begin getting acclimated to the time zone. I think the pure excitement, and maybe the Irish whiskey, made it possible to do so!

The next day, I enjoyed my first Guinness in Ireland!

Carol's first Guinness in Ireland with her Uncle Jack

Carol’s first Guinness in Ireland with her Uncle Jack

I began going over the history of how I came to discover my true family heritage with Uncle Jack in more detail, and learned more family history from him.

Roi from MyHeritage called me on Whatsapp during the trip to get an update, and it was exciting to fill him in on everything that happened since he first made contact with Uncle Jack a year before!

Roi’s video call with Carol and Jack

Roi’s video call with Carol and Jack

Uncle Jack showed me photos of the family, and when he told me that he hadn’t seen Marian, my dad’s second wife, since my dad’s funeral, I reached out to her to see if she was available for a call. They finally spoke, and it was so beautiful to watch. Uncle Jack and Marian exchanged stories about my father Tim that neither of them had known, and they agreed to meet up again when Uncle Jack traveled to Chicago.

We also met up with additional family members and cousins, including Uncle Jack’s daughters. I even located the burial place near where my ancient maternal haplogroup was discovered: it is one of the ancient burial areas, the most famous being the Poulnabrone Dolman in County Clare, not far from Galway. 

It was a wonderful trip and I am so grateful to MyHeritage for making the connection!

Many thanks to Carol for sharing her story. If you’ve also made an incredible discovery through MyHeritage, we’d love to hear about it! Please share it with us via this form, or email it to us at

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The post MyHeritage DNA Helped Me Connect with My Surprise Birth Father’s Brother appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Source: My Heritage

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