Chris McDonald-Constable grew up not knowing who his father was.
The only details he had from his mother was that his father had been killed in the Second World War.
But now thanks to an online DNA test, Chris, from Clayton-le-Moors, has discovered relatives in California and a host of memories of the father he never knew.
After Chris’ mother passed away in 1978, he discovered photographs of American servicemen in the back of a drawer.
However, the chances of discovering anything about his father still seemed remote.
This all changed when Chris’s wife, Gillian, gave him an Ancestry.com DNA test for his 60th birthday in 2004, which remained registered on the site.
However he had only distant DNA matches until a new member took the test.
The results revealed a man in California who had an almost identical DNA match.
Stuart Whiteeagle Ackley, of Palm Springs, California, knew that he had English roots dating back to 1642, but he didn’t expect to have a close English relative.
The test confirmed they he and Chris had a common ancestor within one to three generations.
Chris said: “I was speechless when I found out. After living all my life not knowing who my father was, to find out like this was great.”
Wife Gill added: “We’re looking forward to meeting them. We’ve lots of history to talk about.”
Stuart said: “Chris e-mailed me within two weeks of my DNA being in the database. I really wanted to help find out who his family was.”
After the Constables sent the photographs of American servicemen they had found, the Ackleys recognised their ‘Uncle Mellville’ McDonald.
Ackley’s father, also named Stuart, and Chris’ father, Mel, grew up together in northern Wisconsin, the only children of two close sisters, Gladys Ackley and Lillian McDonald.
Mel McDonald died in 1983 and Ackley’s father Stuart senior died in 1981.
Stuart has traced his father’s genealogy back to the Norman Conquest, as well as the American Indian Chippewa tribe.
Now he is looking forward to telling Chris more about the missing pieces of his family. when he visits the UK in a fortnight.
He said: “The added bonus for me is to meet actual family living in the country.”