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Three Siblings in Their 70s Who Never Knew About Each Other Meet for the First Time

Lorraine Williams was born in Liverpool, England, in 1949. As a young child, she moved with her parents to Montreal, Canada, where her younger sister Valerie was born. What she didn’t know was that she had two older half-siblings back in England. Her father, Sydney, never told her about them.

Lorraine at 17. Photo repaired, enhanced, and colorized by MyHeritage

Lorraine at 17. Photo repaired, enhanced, and colorized by MyHeritage

Lorraine at 17. Photo repaired, enhanced, and colorized by MyHeritage

Fast forward 70 years. Lorraine’s cousin Marguerite took a DNA test with MyHeritage and matched with Lorraine’s nephew, but noticed that there were some additional unknown DNA matches. She asked Lorraine to upload her results from the other company she’d tested with to MyHeritage to see what else they could find.

Then, last year, she received a DNA match that amazed her: a half-sister named Josie!

Lorraine contacted the person who managed Josie’s kit — her granddaughter Chloe — and the picture quickly became clear.

“My tummy flipped over,” Lorraine told Global News in a recent interview. “And I was just so, so excited. I can’t put it into words. Just awesome.”

Lorraine today

Lorraine today

A surprise sister

Josie was born in 1948, 13 months before Lorraine. “All she knew about her father was that his name appeared on her baptism certificate and he probably knew that she existed — but beyond that, she knew nothing,” says Lorraine.

Josie as a child. Photo enhanced, colorized, and repaired by MyHeritage

Josie as a child. Photo enhanced, colorized, and repaired by MyHeritage

Josie as a child. Photo enhanced, colorized, and repaired by MyHeritage

“My mum, who was white, went to London and she couldn’t get a room because they didn’t want any mixed race people – there were notices up,” Josie told the Daily Mail in a recent interview. “She tried to get me into a playgroup or day centers while she was looking for something, but was told they couldn’t have me because it would upset the other parents, so she left me in a bedroom and went off to work.”

Eventually a neighbor called social services and Josie was removed from her custody. She was raised in foster care and currently lives in the Isle of Wight.

Josie today

Josie today

A surprise brother

Lorraine noticed, when reviewing her DNA matches, that she had a significant match to a half-niece named Danielle. At first, she assumed Danielle was Josie’s daughter, but it turned out she wasn’t. There was another surprise waiting for them: Danielle’s father, Jimmy, was another half-brother!

The third sibling, Jimmy McLoughlan

The third sibling, Jimmy McLoughlin

“I was blindsided, gobsmacked, just absolutely astonished,” Lorraine told the Daily Mail.

 “I was so shocked… I just was floored when we found out about James too,” Josie told the Daily Mail. “I was very shocked and apprehensive to start with because I didn’t want to get hurt… but I love them so much now, and I feel complete.”

Jimmy’s mother abandoned him on the doorstep of a convent as a newborn in 1947. His father probably didn’t know about him. Jimmy spent most of his youth in an orphanage, and then lived in foster care as a teenager.

When he was 38, he found his birth mother, and she provided our father’s name, but nothing more than that. He says they met up a few times, and she said she’d loved him all his life, but Jimmy felt she didn’t show it, and it upset his kids, too.

Jimmy with his family. Photo enhanced and colors restored by MyHeritage

Jimmy with his family. Photo enhanced and colors restored by MyHeritage

Jimmy with his family. Photo enhanced and colors restored by MyHeritage

Josie had a similar experience with her birth mother, who also didn’t want to form a relationship with her, telling her she was “a skeleton best left in the cupboard.” She didn’t try to look for her father after that experience because she didn’t want to go through that rejection again.

Jimmy was absolutely thrilled to discover that he had siblings: “I always thought my family started with me, and I was just delighted to find out the news.”

The father they never knew

Lorraine was so glad to be able to tell her siblings about their father. “His name was Arthur Sydney John and he went by Sydney,” says Lorraine. “He was born in the West Indies in 1920 and came to England in the early 1940s.”

Sydney, the siblings’ father. Photo enhanced and colors restored by MyHeritage

Sydney, the siblings’ father. Photo enhanced and colors restored by MyHeritage

Sydney, the siblings’ father. Photo enhanced and colors restored by MyHeritage

Sydney loved jazz, and it was he who selected Lorraine’s name, after the song “Sweet Lorraine” by Nat King Cole.

Lorraine was able to send photos of their dad to Josie and Jimmy: “After Lorraine showed me some pictures, I realized I’m the spitting image of my dad,” Jimmy told the Daily Mail.

Sydney at 67. Photo enhanced and colors restored by MyHeritage

Sydney at 67. Photo enhanced and colors restored by MyHeritage

Sydney at 67. Photo enhanced and colors restored by MyHeritage

“In spite of their challenging childhoods, both my siblings have done well in life,” says Lorraine. Josie was a social worker and a magistrate, and Jimmy was a master carpenter, nightclub manager and a youth counselor. They both have long marriages, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

“I started a Whatsapp group for our expanded family and we share events and chat every day,” says Lorraine.

A Father’s Day reunion

Just in time for Father’s Day this June, Lorraine flew to the U.K. to meet her siblings, and they finally met for the first time at a hotel in Southampton. You can watch the exciting moment in this video:

 “The actual moment was wonderful. I couldn’t help but jump up and down,” Lorraine told BBC News. “It’s surreal and gleeful and joyful and astonishing — it’s everything all at once.”

Lorraine, Jimmy, and Josie enjoying each other’s company for the first time

Lorraine, Jimmy, and Josie enjoying each other’s company for the first time

“It was like we had known each other for the last 70 odd years,” Jimmy told ITV News.

“As soon as I saw Lorraine I was shocked at how much we look alike because I didn’t think we did on Whatsapp videos,” Josie told the Daily Mail. “We have similar expressions and we were comparing our hands to see if they looked similar.”

Josie says that they seem to have the same sense of humor, and that there’s a lot of love between the three of them. I absolutely adore Lorraine and Jimmy. Jimmy is hilarious and I have sort of deep conversations and laugh a lot with Lorraine. I’m so, so pleased… I could call them up tomorrow and they would support me which is something I didn’t think I’d have because I wasn’t adopted.”

The siblings take a stroll together

The siblings take a stroll together

“I’m absolutely certain my dad would have been over the moon with this,” Lorraine told the Daily Mail. “He would be so proud of them, because I am.”

“I didn’t have any heritage [and] I’ve gone full circle, from nothing to finding out what my background is,” Josie told BBC News. “It’s like having a library and having books missing that you’ve been looking for for years. And suddenly you find them, you put them in and everything slots into the right place.”

“I feel whole now,” Jimmy told the Daily Mail. “Now we know our heritage, I can tell my kids all about it, and we all have something to connect to, and they’re all so happy to have two aunties out of it too.”

“We wouldn’t have met without MyHeritage, and I just want to say a huge thank you to them,” said Josie. “They’ve been amazing.”

“If I hadn’t uploaded my DNA to MyHeritage, we would still be unaware of each other’s existence,” says Lorraine. “I love my new expanded family. And I have MyHeritage to thank for all of it. Thank you, MyHeritage.”

Many thanks to Lorraine, Josie, and Jimmy for sharing their story with us and allowing us to take part in it! If you have also made an incredible discovery with MyHeritage, we’d love to hear about it. Please share it with us via this form or email us at stories@myheritage.com.

If you’ve taken a DNA test with another company, make new discoveries and spread your net wider by uploading your DNA to MyHeritage. It’s completely free, and you never know what you might find!

The post Three Siblings in Their 70s Who Never Knew About Each Other Meet for the First Time appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Source: My Heritage

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