A DNA Test Reunites Unknown Relatives

Evelyn Wolfe received a surprise package in the mail one day from an unknown relative. Her son thought surely it was a scam, but she replied anyway, feeling there was some truth in the story. The relative, Jane Ballard Ben-Hashal, was the daughter of her nephew, Bruce, who had passed away long ago. He had been unaware of the birth or adoption of his daughter.

When Evelyn was just 7 years old her oldest brother, Max, had a son, Bruce. When Bruce was 9, he came down with rheumatic fever which left him with a damaged heart. The winters in Canada were particularly difficult for him, so his parents moved him to Florida. Bruce lived much longer than his doctors anticipated, but in January 1961, he died from pneumonia.

When Evelyn received the letter, she thought she remembered Bruce having a girlfriend in Florida whose mother made her break up with him because he was ill. Little did he know, she was pregnant and placed the baby for adoption. The baby, Jane, was raised Roman Catholic. While she was in college, she started dating a man named Guri Ben-Hashal, a Jewish-Israeli. They agreed to marry, but she converted to Judaism first for the sake of their future children.

Many years later, she decided to investigate her heritage. She took a DNA test expecting it to show her as Native American. She was shocked to learn that she was 50 percent Jewish. Through working her DNA matches and building a family tree, she found Max’s obituary. It had Evelyn listed as a survivor. After the initial correspondence, the two emailed back and forth sharing with each other about their lives. Evelyn met with Jane in May, and both are grateful for their new found family.

Your first step in your search and reunion journey is to register in Adoption.com’s Reunion Registry.