Imagine finding out you have an older brother at the age most people are already retired. That’s exactly what happened for a resident of Bath, Ont., and his long-lost sibling from Alberta.
A long series of events, including an Ancestry.ca DNA test, led 71-year-old David Stewart from Bath, and 66-year-old Mark Whelpton of Alberta, to meet for the first time on May 1, at the Ottawa airport.
This past week, Mark and his wife were back in Ontario for a quick stop on a Canada-wide trip to spend some time with his newfound family.
“This is his second visit to us since the spring and we really enjoy each other’s company,” said David after spending a week with his younger brother.
In the late 1940s, David’s unmarried mother Eva Elaine Swackhammer gave David up to his paternal grandparents to raise.
Eva moved to Edmonton and had another child, Mark, who now lives in Grande Prairie.
He has been searching for David for more than 15 years after Mark first found out David existed.
Mark and David’s mutual cousins found David’s birth certificate, which Eva thought she destroyed.
Later that year those cousins let David’s existence slip to Mark’s wife.
Although Mark searched for years without success, what brought the two together was an Ancestry.ca DNA test.
David had received a gift from his children to use Ancestry.ca, and one of his and Mark’s mutual cousins who had also been using the website saw that David was part of her family tree, and realized that he was the family member they had been looking for.
“I got an email from a lady in Hamilton whose mother was my mother’s sister. Then Mark sent me an email basically saying, ‘Hey there I think I’m your brother,'” David said.
The first meeting at the airport in Ottawa was, of course, an emotional one.
“I’m visually impaired, legally blind and so I have a hard time at distances. But Dave wore a bright pink shirt so I could see him. Yup, I could pick him up in the crowd. We just went over and gave each other a great big hug, took a step back looked at each other, gave ourselves another big hug and that was the beginning of a really great relationship,” says Mark.
The relationship doesn’t end with the brothers. They each have two children and two grandchildren, who are now part of one big happy family.
David says, “This relationship is just amazing, it really is amazing. I’m so grateful to meet Mark and his wife Judy and his children.”