When you were younger, there was a high chance that you took your family for granted – especially your siblings. Although they may have pinched you, tattled on you, or just generally annoyed you, you probably didn’t realize how important they really were to you until you grew up. For those who have grown up without any brothers or sisters around them, or even a real family to call their own, the sight of family gatherings, loving messages or just a casual catch up can make them feel incredibly lonely and jealous. Because of this, more and more people are reaching out to find long-lost relatives and truly learn more about who they are, where they have come from, and who they are related to. Thankfully, advances in science and technology allow people to do just that from their own home.
Nowadays, AncestryDNA has become a staple in society. With around 4 million customers in the DNA database and customers from around the world, this website is able to reconnect individuals with their genealogy, their history, and a potential new family. Of course, those who sign up will not always find the answers they are looking for – but the site also uncovers special secrets for those who constantly question where they came from. In 2017, two best friends signed up to the site separately, to try and find their family, and answer their questions. However, they had no idea what secrets their DNA would uncover…
Best friends for life
Alan Robinson and Walter Macfarlane have been friends ever since their first day of 6th grade in Hawaii. Since then, the pair have grown up together, embarked on their own careers, raised families, and continued their beloved friendship. However, both parties were unsure of their past. To answer their questions, they signed up to AncestryDNA.com and sent off their DNA with hope in their hearts. Yet, the best friends couldn’t believe their eyes when they uncovered their shocking family secrets…
Their early life
Alan Robinson and Walter Macfarlane were born in Honolulu, Hawaii, 15 months apart, into two very different families. Although Walter was raised by his mother, he had never met his father and spent most of his childhood wondering where he was, and where he had gone. On the other hand, Alan had nobody. He was given up by his mother when he was just a newborn, and spent the early years of his life in the foster system, and was later adopted. This left them both with questions about their heritage.
Life at school
Despite their personal problems, both Alan and Walter tried to make the best of their lives, and put their questions aside through their schooling years. As they were so close in age and location, the boys were both enrolled at a local prep school in Honolulu and started playing football together. By 6th grade, the pair had bonded over their love for sport, as well as their personal afflictions and family lives, and sparked up what would later be a lifelong friendship. Little did they know that they were much closer than they thought…
Friends for life
After their initial meeting in 6th grade, the two boys then went about their lives as a pair. They would go to school together, they would attend classes together, they would play football together, and they would provide vital support for each other during the most testing years of their childhood. Both Alan and Walter were so alike in personality; they would often get mistaken for brothers, but thought nothing of it. To them, their friendship was the perfect mesh of love, fun, and comradery.
However, after they graduated from high school, Alan and Walter had to grow up and enter into the adult world. Alan chose to follow his passion, and soon passed all of the exams and tests to become a pilot for Aloha Airlines – and later flew some of their biggest airplanes for most of his life. Walter also entered into a long-term career outside of the aviation industry, but the pair still considered themselves best friends. As their families grew, so did the bond between the Robinson and the Macfarlane clans.
Although they were perfectly happy with their careers and their family, both Alan and Walter couldn’t help but think that something was missing from their lives – especially for Alan. As he was adopted when he was just a baby, Alan had no birth mother, father, brothers or sisters to call his own. This thought broke his heart, as he wanted nothing more than to be an uncle or brother and watch his family grow even larger. The pair wanted to really know where they came from.
Looking for answers
Walter was the first of the duo to actively search for his family – but he didn’t really know where to start with it all. Where do you go to find family you don’t know exist? As his first port of call, Walter decided to use the power of the internet and social media to aid his search. He used various social media channels to search his family name and used free ancestry websites to give him an inclination towards his family history. Sadly, these attempts were unsuccessful.
The next step
With numerous unsuccessful attempts under his belt, Walter decided to step up his game and sign up to various genealogy sites and DNA-matching websites. Although many of these sites required payment, Walter was more than happy to shell out small portions of his salary to help him achieve the answers he had been looking for his whole life. Eventually, he stumbled upon the hugely successful ancestry site, Ancestry.com, and signed up, in the hope that he would finally learn something about his hidden family.
He wasn’t alone
However, Walter wasn’t searching all by himself. After years of hearing her father question his family and the father he never knew, Walter’s daughter, Cindy Macfarlane-Flores decided to help him out. After all, there was a whole side of her own family she didn’t know existed, and she wanted some answers. Yet more than anything, Cindy wanted her father to finally be at peace with the life he had been living. So, Cindy and Walter decided to cipher through the results they had already received, for anything out of the ordinary…
As they searched through the various results of their DNA samples, Cindy and Walter came across numerous dead-ends. With random names and family trees on their screen, the pair were getting more and more disheartened, until they came across a match that caught their eye. In fact, Walter had received an impressive match that had reached the top of his list in terms of DNA setup. The match at the top of the list had identical X chromosomes with Walter, and he couldn’t believe his eyes…
What’s in a name?
As Walter and his daughter looked at the screen in disbelief, they couldn’t believe that they had found an exact match to his DNA. As they tried to dissect the information, they soon realized that Walter had a long-lost brother – but how did they find him? As they searched the match with more gusto, the pair soon noted the unusual username: Robi737. At first, they had absolutely no idea how they would find the name or information of this person, but a new discovery would shake up their lives forever.
A new discovery
While Walter was searching for his own family on Ancestry.com, he had no idea that Alan was doing the exact same thing, to try and learn more about his own family. It was at this point that Alan also discovered he had a match, and that he also had a long-lost brother. Before too long, Walter started to put together the pieces and realized that the name Robi737 referred to Alan’s surname, as well as the airplanes he used to fly for Aloha Airlines.
An overwhelming shock
At first, Walter and Alan couldn’t believe the news they had been given. Although they were both looking for answers to their personal questions, the best friends believed that their separate investigations would lead them in separate directions. Instead, the news brought them even closer together and proved that they are so much more than best friends with a close bond. Alan and Walter are brothers, with the same genes, and the same birth mother. After all of their years of searching, the pair had finally found their answers together.
Never considered it
The more Alan and Walter thought about it, the more it made sense – but what made the situation even more spectacular was the fact that neither of them had ever considered it. When they were younger, their friends would often remark on their physical appearance, and how alike they looked when they were standing next to each other. They even noted that they had similar hair on their forearms! Yet, this was never enough to put two and two together for them.
Solidifying their love
After finding their long-lost family, Alan and Walter felt closer than ever. The news solidified their love and proved that they were not just in-sync as best friends, but they were also in-sync as brothers. With answers in their mind, the pair could continue to live their lives without the added weight on their shoulders – but they almost didn’t need the news. In interviews after the event, Alan noted that he had always considered the Macfarlane’s like family, but sharing the same mother has made that even more prominent in his mind.
Telling the world
At first, Alan and Walter kept their epic secret to themselves and decided between themselves that they would announce it to their shared family and friends in a way that would be remembered. So, the brothers planned a surprise party for their loved ones on December 23, 2017. As the pair took to the stage, Cindy Macfarlane-Flores announced to the whole room that her father could now introduce a new brother into his life – and it was someone they all knew and loved.
Although Alan and Walter knew the information themselves, the pair of them couldn’t help but feel the intense emotion flowing through the room and they announced their shared DNA. The pair started crying, and couldn’t help but let out their shouts of laughter and smiles of joy. In an interview after the party, Alan Robinson spoke to CNN and stated that he normally doesn’t cry easily, ‘but I broke down in front of everyone’ because he was so incredibly happy to have found his brother so close to home.
A Christmas miracle
However, it wasn’t just Alan and Walter that were totally overwhelmed with the situation. Those around the duo couldn’t believe that the two best friends they had grown up with were actually related. Cindy later spoke to CNN and called the reunion a ‘Christmas miracle’ because the two families do not need to go through the awkward experience of learning someone’s whole life from scratch, or introducing each other to their families, as they were already the best of friends. In her words, the ‘families are intertwined now.’
When searching for their long-lost families, both Alan and Walter were looking for answers to fulfill their lives and fill the voids they had missing since they were children. Yet, neither could believe their luck to discover that they were not only best friends, but they were also brothers. Now that they know they are closer than ever, the pair aims to keep it that way. In fact, they both have future plans to retire at the same time and travel the world with each other on a trip of brotherly-bonding.
A viral sensation
Since news of their matching DNA became public, the story of these two best friends uncovering their family secret has become a viral sensation. At first, photographers and news stations were invited to their epic party and allowed local reporters to announce their story to the locals of Hawaii. Yet, before too long, the story had come to the attention of people across the world, who can’t believe this amazing event that proves brothers and sister really can be best friends.