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DNA test kit connects woman to biological New York family after 74 years of longing and wondering

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By MICHAEL BENNY, WSTM

SYRACUSE N.Y. (CIRCA via WSTM) — On June 21, 1944, Beatrice and Emerson Morgan had a baby girl. The couple, who lived in Bouckville, N.Y., was loving but terribly poor. Family stories passed down to the next generation indicate the baby girl was taken from the couple because they were deemed unfit due to poverty.

The Morgans would eventually have 10 more children and raise them in Central New York, without that baby girl.

The missing daughter, named Barbara, would go on to have what she describes as a "wonderful life," with her adopted parents. However, there was always a longing and a lot of wondering.

"When I was younger, I had a cousin who told me that I didn't look like anyone in the family. I had blonde hair and freckles," Barbara Jean Morgan Floto said from her home in California.

Her adopted parents told her that her biological family died in a tragic car crash somewhere in the Utica area. Why they told her she was orphaned by tragedy is a mystery, and Barbara says it no longer matters to her.

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Barbara Floto went looking for her biological family after her adoptive parents died.

Family secrets are proving no match for home DNA test kits from companies such as AncestryDNA, 23 & Me and others. Millions of people are ordering them, sending in a swab of the saliva in their mouth, and some are getting shocking results. There are a growing number of people going public with stories of finding long-lost siblings, family members no one knew about, and in some cases, people are absorbing the news the person they thought was their mother or father is not biologically related to them.

In the case of the Morgan family, the connection was made when Barbara Floto used a 23 & Me kit, which she received as a birthday gift last year. Little did she know a biological nephew of hers in Central New York had received a 23 & Me kit as a secret Santa gift this past Christmas. The match was made once both samples of DNA were in the system.

Family secrets, time and distance, hope and longing and heartbreak and joy are not obstacles for home DNA test kits and the massive databases they feed.

"Our whole life, we long for this," said Barbara Springer, Barbara Floto's biological sister.

Springer was named after Floto, the older sister separated from the family.

"(My mother) said I was named for someone very special and someone she missed very much," Springer said.

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