'DNA doesn't lie': Test helps brother and sister meet for the first time in 50 years

Rosalina Smith got a lot more than she bargained for when she took a DNA test recently.

A DNA test helped Rosalina Smith connect with a brother she didn’t know existed

DNA testing is now as simple as spitting into a vial or swabbing your cheek, depending on the company you choose to do the test. (Steve Berry/CBC)

Rosalina Smith got a lot more than she bargained for when she took a DNA test recently.

She wanted to know more about family connections in New Brunswick but what she got was a brother in North Battleford, Sask. — four hours away from her home in Pinehouse, Sask.

Smith met her brother for the first time last week at a wedding they were both invited to. She knew the bride; he knew the groom.

He was more surprised than I was.- Rosalina Smith

"When I turned around, I kind of elbowed my partner and I said, he's right there," Smith told CBC Radio's The Afternoon Edition. "And I could see the resemblance: He really looked like my dad, so I knew who he was when he walked in."

'A very close relative'

When Smith got the DNA results online two months ago, she was prompted to send a message to "a very close relative."

Her mother raised her as a single parent, so she didn't know very much about her father's side of the family, but she did know her father's name.

The mysterious close relative asked if she was Jerry Thorson's granddaughter, but she corrected him that she was Thorson's daughter.

"Very shortly afterward, he replied, 'DNA doesn't lie; you're my sister.'"

Her newfound brother said he took the DNA test because his mom studied genealogy and he wanted to know if there was anything he could add to her studies.

"So he took the DNA [test] and didn't realize the man who raised him was not his dad," Smith said. "So he was more surprised than I was."

She also connected this year with a sister whom her mother gave up for adoption. They have been corresponding via email and are making plans to meet. Her sister lives in the United Kingdom.

Smith is 50 years old and her newfound brother and sister are both 51.

About the Author

Ashleigh Mattern

Ashleigh Mattern is a web writer and reporter with CBC Saskatoon, and an associate producer with Saskatoon Morning. She has been working as a journalist since 2007 and joined CBC in 2017. Email: ashleigh.mattern@cbc.ca

With files from CBC Radio's The Afternoon Edition