By Mick Jensen
At the age of 78, Ruapuna resident Val Taylor has been connected to nine half siblings through DNA testing.
She has already met up with one of her “new” siblings and “may connect with the others in her own time”.
Growing up in Canterbury, Val was told at the age of 15 that her dad Raymond Rice was not her biological father.
Although she knew her real father’s name, Ralph Davies, she did not feel the need, nor did she try to contact him over the years.
“I asked my mum once about my real father, and she didn’t want to talk about it and told me he was living in Christchurch and left it at that,” said Val.
The journey of family discovery began late last year when granddaughter Amanda had her DNA tested through work.
Val’s DNA was the same as Amanda’s and also linked her to a newly found cousin Margaret, a genealogy enthusiast, who in turn linked her to a cousin called Trevor Davies.
“Trevor’s DNA was a perfect match for mine and I discovered at that moment that I had a half brother.
“The surprise didn’t stop there because I then found out that Trevor had eight siblings, three brothers and five sisters, and that now I have nine half siblings.”
After opting to speak with Trevor, Val said she felt a connection and decided to meet up with him on neutral ground in Christchurch.
Trevor later came to Val’s home at Ruapuna and met some of her family.
“Trevor and my son Brian have such similar features, it really is uncanny,” said Val.
Val also learnt from Trevor that her biological father had been a fisherman, salesman and trained as a coppersmith, before his death in 1984.
She also found out that she has 23 half nieces and nephews around the country.
“DNA testing is not for everyone, and I understand that, but for me, it’s been a revealing and positive experience.