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Thanks to a DNA Match, I Found My Father’s German Brother After Years of Searching

Dawnette Nardini-Nelson spent years trying to help her father find his biological relatives in Germany, where he was born and raised in an orphanage. Thanks to a DNA Match on MyHeritage, Dawnette found a cousin who was able to connect her father with his half-brother!

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Here is her story:

My father was mostly raised in an orphanage in Bavaria until he was 17 years old, when his mother went back to Germany for him, after marrying an American soldier and being away for years. She was able to legally adopt him back along with her husband, and my father’s name became Fred Paul Nardini.

Fred and his mother during a visit to the orphanage

Fred and his mother during a visit to the orphanage

Fred and his mother during a visit to the orphanage

That is how my father ended up in the U.S.

My father has always been told his birth father’s name was Paul Specht of Munich. My father met his father and got to see him a few times when he was very young when Paul went to visit him. However, my father — and then I — searched and searched for a very long time for any biological family on the Specht’s side, but really never had concrete or definitive information to use to do so. I was once given a birthdate for Paul, but did not know if it was correct.

My father is the kindest, most giving man I’ve ever known, and although his childhood wasn’t ideal, it was all he knew, and it was a very different, and difficult time in Germany, and the world, and he truly believes everyone did the best they could. He’s never, ever carried an ounce of anger for not being raised by his mother or really knowing his father, but I knew without a single doubt that my father would be elated to know of any blood relatives still in Germany.

I did massive research on my own looking for any information whatsoever. I was able to find documentation of him and the birth of a son, but I had no details about the son or anyone else in his immediate family.

Then, in May 2019, I FINALLY got a hit through MyHeritage when I was genetically connected to a cousin with the same last name as my father’s father. My cousin’s name is Jens Specht and I immediately messaged him through this site. Jens confirmed that his grandfather was Peter Specht, but said he didn’t have a lot of knowledge about his uncles and aunts or their children, but that he was going to talk with his father to see what he could learn. Jens’s father verified that he had an uncle named Paul, a couple of aunts who he’d never really been in contact with, and a few other relatives. Paul was no longer living, but his son Cord is still alive.

So I searched for “Cord Specht in Germany” and I was shocked, to say the least, when a picture came up that looked identical to my dad!!

Fred and Cord

Left: my father Fred; right: Cord


I wrote to Cord, and he wrote back — and our lives were forever changed and enriched.

We hope to one day soon travel to meet Cord in person while my father is still in great health at the age of 81. Until then, we continue to write back and forth.

I’m convinced none of this would have been made possible without MyHeritage DNA.

I’ve uploaded DNA to so many sites and to this day MyHeritage remains the only one which revealed anyone by the name of Specht! So thank you for what you do and for giving so many of us a way to find close relatives we never even knew existed! It was such a very long and often discouraging process, and the fact that I had direct access to resources which finally led to answers and indisputable evidence of my dad’s bloodline has literally been life-changing! It was like the biggest puzzle EVER and I know others must run into the same “roadblocks”, and ultimately give up. Knowing that there are time saving and dependable ways to go about the process could help.

I still get excited about how it all unraveled after such an arduous journey!

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

The post Thanks to a DNA Match, I Found My Father’s German Brother After Years of Searching appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Source: My Heritage

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