Imagine spending your entire life as an only child, then one day, 85 years later, finding out you had a brother.

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Unbelievable? Well, this actually happened to Canadian Gerry Cooper and his United Kingdom-born brother Norman, living in Florida. Some basic genealogy research produced the find of a lifetime. 

Their incredible story will make your day. Eighty-five years apart gives new meaning to the term long-lost brothers.

The average life expectancy is only about 80 years. So, to begin with, Norman and Gerry both had to beat those odds to even make their meeting possible!

This might be even more incredible: despite literally a lifetime having gone apart, they felt an instant bond.

Reflecting on their first meeting, Gerry remarked “When it was time to go, we gave each other a big hug, and I could tell at that time, after 85 years, that we were brothers. And it’s been the most amazing feeling you can have in this world.”

When Gerry’s son, Ian, started researching on Ancestry, he simply wanted to find out more about a grandfather he’d never met.

He never imagined that those records would come to life in such a real, and life-changing, way.

Norman and Gerry’s experience may seem like one in a million, but we all have fascinating family stories waiting for us.

* There are many paths to finding your family story. Whichever way you choose—tracing your family generations back with a family tree or uncovering your ethnicity with AncestryDNA—Ancestry is here to help you. Unlock your own ancestry with a DNA test.

* Originally published in March 2017.