British Airways and Ancestry, the largest provider of family history and personal DNA testing, played a very special part in an emotional reunion, between three sisters who met in person for the first time on board a flight from Austin to London. A video documenting it has been released today. Watch it here.
Mandy Shore (71) from Ilchester, Somerset, was adopted during World War II. She had managed to find information on her birth mother, but details of her father remained a mystery, until she initiated research around her family tree through the AncestryDNA database. To her surprise she discovered her father had two other daughters Lynn Garner (now 65) and Ann Burrage (now 61) with a later partner, who both lived in Texas.
British Airways and Ancestry heard about the family’s story and agreed to try and re-unite the sisters face-to-face in London, but the meeting came earlier than expected as the airline invited Mandy out to Texas to surprise her half-sisters, on their flight to Heathrow.
The whole experience has been incredible. I knew meeting them would be emotional, but surprising them on the flight made it so special for us all. The cabin crew made an announcement over the PA, and the look on their faces is something I’ll never forget. We spent the first few hours of our journey to London just laughing and crying, as the enormity of what was happening started to sink in.
Sara Dunham, British Airways’ head of marketing, retail and direct, said:
Flying is not just about getting from one place to another, it’s about the magic of bringing people together to create memories. Amazing things are happening all the time on flights across our network, we were so pleased to be a part of this very special reunion for Mandy, Lynn and Ann.
The experts at Ancestry have pulled together some top tips for people planning special journeys to discover more about their family history:
- Identify the exact town or parish your ancestors are from.
- If you are unsure of the location or to learn even more details, search more than 18 billion records on Ancestry to discover information about your ancestors’ lives, including homes they lived in, churches or schools they attended, occupations and more.
- Determine if significant historical locations such as battlefields in the area may have affected their lives. Include those in your travel plans.
- Locate the libraries, archives, and local courts that are in your ancestors’ hometown. Search their websites to determine what offline records they may have in their possession that might help in your research or enhance your ancestors’ life stories.
- Print up a list of the addresses, phone numbers and operating hours of the historical places and research repositories you want to visit.
- Find a local genealogist or historian you could hire to visit these locations with you. Their in-depth knowledge of the area may add local flavor, history and insights.
- Book your flights and hotel as well as a car rental so you can easily drive to nearby cities and visit major landmarks in your ancestors’ lives. British Airways flies has destinations around the world and many fly and driver offers that add extra value to your trip. Search offers at ba.com.
- Be sure you have the free Ancestry app on your mobile device so you can take your family tree wherever you go.
- Enjoy your time in your ancestral homeland and when you get home, send your stories to email@example.com to share the wonderful things you discovered.