Posted by Kristen Hyde on August 8, 2017 in AncestryDNA

How Kate’s curiosity about her heritage led to the discovery of long lost family in the USA.

When Kate McNeill decided to take an AncestryDNA test, it wasn’t with the intention of finding a long lost family member or solving a family secret. She was simply a bit curious about what she could find out – that simple!

“A friend shared a link to the Ancestry page on Facebook, so I just had to order a test. I love this sort of thing – finding out where we’re from and who we’re related to just fascinates me.”

So Kate sent her DNA sample away and worked diligently on her small business while waiting patiently for her results.

When they arrived 6-8 weeks later, she was excited to see that she was mostly Irish and that she’d matched over 90 people. Hopeful to learn more about her connections, and find out more information about her shared ancestors, she started contacting her matches. One of those matches was Edwina, from Texas.

“We had sent each other a few messages through the Ancestry website, then found each other on Facebook and learned more about our families.”

“Edwina was the loveliest lady to talk to through messaging.

Having wanted to visit Ireland for some time, Edina’s daughter and two grand-daughters accompanied Edwina on a trip to the Emerald isles where they were able to meet with Kate and her family.

“We were so excited to be able to meet up,” says Kate. “It was one of the best days ever. We had so much craic, the day just wasn’t long enough!

“My family all came over to my house to meet Edwina and her family. We had a really good time, drinking whiskey, finding out about each other and just having a laugh.

“It was brilliant – they were such lovely people. We just wish we knew the connection but haven’t figured it out yet!”

Where there was no family mystery before, Kate and Edwina’s DNA match has since sparked a desire to uncover more information about who they are connected through. As the AncestryDNA network grows and Kate and Edwina continue their research, the women are hopeful they will be able to learn more about the DNA matches between their families and identify exactly which ancestor connects them.

“I’ve told so many people about it. I’m hoping more of my family will take the test so we can find out more information about ourselves.

“Hopefully we find out how we’re related but if that never happens, it doesn’t bother me. I love having them in my life now!”

Kate is eagerly looking forward to returning the favour to visit Edwina and her family in the USA and learn more about their life there.

“We now have family in America that we stay in touch with regularly. I hope to visit them some time soon – I’ve always wanted to go to Texas so now I have family that I can go and visit and just have a good time with.

“I’m so glad I did the test – I’m in contact with some lovely people who I never would have met only for this test.”

Are you looking for missing family members or are eager to connect with extended family? Learn more with an AncestryDNA today.

Kristen Hyde

Kristen is Ancestry's Social Media Manager for the United Kingdom.


  1. Teddi Freeman

    I also might be related. I have McNeil ancestors and I have had my DNA tested with AncestryDNA which revealed that I am Irish, etc.

    • Kate

      Hi Teddi I am McNeill by marriage. The McNeill side of my husbands family he has traced back as far as 1846 and all living in Ireland at that time.

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