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Your Story: Siblings Reunited

As children, my sister and I (now in our 60s) were told that our father had come to this country through a marriage with an American woman. They lived in New York and had a son. That’s all we knew. Our parents divorced when I was six and my sister was four and somewhere along the way I was told that our brother had been adopted by his new father and his last name was no longer Fischel. End of story…or so I thought.

I’ve always been interested in family history. When I began delving into my family’s history, though, I concentrated on my maternal side as I grew up with little interest in my father or his side of my story. After all, I didn’t know my older brother’s first or last name, his mother’s name, his adopted name, etc., so why even bother searching?

I created my tree on Ancestry.com under my husband’s account (Thomas Redfern) and dabbled in adding information until I retired a year ago. Then, I seriously began entering information and photographs.

Last November, my husband received an email through Ancestry.com from David Zubatsky, a genealogist in Pennsylvania who believed his friend, Jack Fischel, could be related to me. David provided Jack’s contact information as well as a detailed history. I was quite impressed with what I read and at 7:30 in the morning I called my sister to read her the email.

Her reaction - “What do you think this means?” was how I felt, too. I called Jack and left a voice mail. He called me back and asked if we could talk that evening. In the meantime, I emailed him a photo of my father with a very beautiful woman asking if he knew who she was.

When I answered the phone that evening Jack said, “Well, Sis, the photo clinches it. That woman is my mother and that picture is on my living room shelf.”  Wow! My brother had found me at last.

Jack and my sister Marsha and I chatted over the phone for a few days. We “met” Jack and our new sister-in-law, Julie, for the first time via Skype the following Sunday.

Thanksgiving was close at hand and on Thanksgiving eve my children and grandchildren met their new Uncle and Aunt via Skype, and I met my new niece, her husband and my new grandniece and nephew.

On June 19, 2012 my sister and I flew to Landisville, Pennsylvania to meet our brother and his family in person. We spent three glorious days with Jack and Julie, met our nephew Josh, our niece Corrie and her family, and our new hero—David Zubatsky. 

Thank you Ancestry.com for helping us find each other. This meeting would never have happened without this site. Now, we talk weekly, visit via Skype, and email on a regular basis. We plan to see each other again as soon as possible.

I am attaching a few photos of us at our meeting. I am the one Jack is pointing to in the photo Jack and Me.

Most sincerely,

Rebecca Elliot

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