Woman Reconnects With Family Because Of DNA Test, Family History Research


Tuesday, April 14th 2020, 12:55 am
By: Amy Avery


Many people are using their down time to look through old family photos or they're using sites like Ancestry.com to research their family history while in quarantine during the COVID-19 outbreak.

News On 6 met with this family during the early stages of the pandemic.

One northeastern Oklahoma family is happy they've found a long lost relative to hold closer than ever before.

Yvonne Howard was born in 1944 in England during World War II.

She was given up for adoption and never really knew much about her family history.

"I have 14 cousins; I mean how amazing is that?" Yvonne said. "I really never wanted to ask because we just didn't talk about it"

Yvonne said she worked to get the adoption records opened up in England and was eventually able to learn more about her mother, but the records said nothing about her father. 

So several years later, she decided to take a DNA test on Ancestry.com, and Ron Saffa in Tulsa, Oklahoma came up as a first cousin.

Yvonne sent him an email explaining her story and didn't realize where the message would lead her. 

"I said I was a war baby and was born in 1944 in England, and that’s really all I said; and I get this email back from Susan, his wife, and she says we know who your father was" Yvonne said. 

Ron said "she called me when I was at work and asked if I had any uncles in WWII and I said both sides--which side? She said Shamas first cousin, and I said 'well it would have to be uncle George.'"

Ron said his Uncle, George Shamas, was a tail gunner in a B-17 Bomber during World War II.

George's plane was shot down, and he was taken as a prisoner of War for about 14 months.

Several years after his release, Shamas moved to Bristow, Oklahoma and founded the Anchor Drive-in and Motel.

And, now, Yvonne is finding answers about her father that she never thought she'd get.

"It's been real emotional for her--lots of tears because she's been trying to find who her father was all these years, and she's finally found who her real father was" Ron stated.

"I feel that adopted children always have a little bit missing when they don’t have that information and so, for me, it was closing the gap and filling the hole" Yvonne shared. 

George Shamas passed away in 1985, but Yvonne said she is happy to learn more about her father through others who knew him.

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