Half Sisters Reunited Through Geni

Posted September 11, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

Half-sisters Diana Lee and Yevan Chernoff-Christian were separated for decades until a family friend made a discovery that would bring them together.


Image: Yevan Chernoff-Christian and Diana Lee / GlendaleNewsPress

A recent article in the Glendale News Press revealed that the sisters were reunited after a friend made a remarkable discovery on Geni.

Two years ago, Melanie Kunisch, Yevan’s friend and an avid genealogists, spent some time helping Yevan research her ancestry. After tracing her parents’ lineages as far as she could, Melanie set out to see if she could find any siblings for Yevan. It was during this search that she came to find Diana Lee’s family tree on Geni.

Diana had also been working for years on researching her family history. Adopted as a teen, Diana had searched for her biological mother for 40 years. She ultimately found her mother, Eleanor Caroline Sellow, living at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C. It was during Diana’s visit with her mother that she first heard the names Patsy Helen Lee and Leo Lee, as well as the names of her other children, Lily and Tai. Her mother had lived much of her life institutionalized, and died only a couple of years after meeting Diana for the first time.

Yevan was born Patsy Helen Lee, but her father, Leo Lee, had called her “Yevan.” Later, she legally changed her name, never revealing her birth name to anyone. For years, she had questions about her family. At the age of 10, her father revealed that the woman she thought was her mother was in fact not and refused to give any further information. It wasn’t until after her father and stepmother passed away that she was able to begin her search for her biological mother. But by then, her mother, Eleanor Caroline Sellow, had also passed.

At first Yevan believed that would be the end of her search until she met Melanie, who happily offered her assistance uncovering Yevan’s family history. Working off of Yevan’s birth certificate, Melanie was able to match the information she had discovered about her parents with that of Diana’s family tree on Geni.

Once she was confident of the match, Melanie sent a message to Diana to let her know that she believed she had found her half sister. Yevan was skeptical until she spoke to Diana over the phone, where she learned that Diana knew her birth name.

The sisters have finally met in person and are now on the quest to find their other siblings mentioned by their mother, Lily Gene Lee and Tai Chow Lee.

Read the full story here.

We’re so happy to hear about this amazing discovery! Have you made any surprising discoveries on Geni?

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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