PLANTATION, Fla. – Simple at-home DNA testing is shedding a light on the ancestry of millions of Americans and the journey to the past can bring up some surprises in the present.
“I had no idea what I would find,” Curt Cowen told Local 10 News.
Cowan began building his family tree on Ancestry.com 10 years ago.
“I have over 756 people on my tree right now and it’s not even close to being finished," he said.
A couple of years ago, Cowan reached a dead end on his paternal side.
“So I decided to put my DNA on Ancestry.com just to find out whether I could make any connections," Cowen said.
The connection he subsequently made led to a stunning discovery: He had a daughter in California he never knew existed. It all goes back to 1973 and a few hours one night in San Diego.
“I met a woman in a bar, we had some drinks, went back to her place for a few hours and I never saw or heard or thought of her again," he said.
That brief encounter led to the birth of a baby girl named Sage Blake, but for years, she and her mother thought a different man was her biological father.
“Turns out Sage, my daughter, wasn’t looking for me but her daughter was looking for her grandfather and that’s how I discovered the connection. DNA doesn’t lie,” Cowen said.
The father and daughter finally met when Blake flew to Florida for a Cowen family Thanksgiving.
“It’s actually nice because I don’t have a lot of family back in California so I don’t do too much holiday stuff with my family, and this is a nice change," Blake said.
The connection has expanded Cowen’s family to include her three children, the granddaughter who was looking for him and her two siblings.
“As a family law attorney I’ve seen some incredible family dynamics but I never imagined the most incredible family dynamic would happen to me,” he said.
Blake was equally amazed.
“This is something I never thought in a million years I would have,” she said.
Experts caution that sometimes the secrets revealed through DNA testing can split families apart, but in this case, Cowen and Blake are planning more family reunions in the future.