Israeli Tech Rejoins Long Lost Korean Sisters

PHOTO: Kim Haelen, left, and Christine Pennell found themselves not only similar in appearance but also the way of life. (ABC News)

Israel’s MyHeritage, the world’s largest genealogy platform, was key in bringing together two Korean sisters who did not know of each other’s existence for almost 50 years.


By TPS • 25 February, 2019


The saga began 47 years ago when two sisters were abandoned at train stations at a city in South Korea. One sister, Christine Panel, was adopted by a family from the US, and the second, Kim Halen, was adopted by a family from Belgium.

Christine was abandoned at the age of two years, and a few weeks later her sister Kim was abandoned at the age of six weeks. They arrived at separate orphanages and no one knew they were related. Each sister knew she was adopted, but knew nothing about their biological family.

Throughout their lives, each sister tried to locate their parents, but in the absence of any information or documents, the attempts failed.

As part of their quest, each sister decided to undergo a DNA test facilitated by MyHeritage, hoping that the results would reveal a family member on the same hunt.

The DNA tests fed into the company’s system showed a first-degree genetic match between the two.

After almost five decades of separation, the two sisters met at the train station at which they had been abandoned. After meeting, they were both happy to discover they had much in common, including shared hobbies and personal preferences.

The sisters are now searching for their parents. The genetic test proved that they shared both the same mother and father. This indicates that the family may have been together for at least a short period of time. The two raised the possibility that they may have other siblings.

MyHeritage platform includes the bios of 3.2 billion people, with a database of more than 4.3 million genetic matches based on DNA samples, and with100 million registered users.

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