DNA test reveals history mystery for East Tenn. women

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FARRAGUT, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Imagine finding out, right before you turn 40, you are not an only child.

A Blount County woman, and her new-found half-sister, have discovered there's even more pieces in their family tree, filled with twists and turns. / Source: Tilly Baker

A Blount County woman, and her new-found half-sister, have discovered there's even more pieces in their family tree, filled with twists and turns.

"My whole life I've had people approach me and say are you related to so and so? And I'm like I don't know I was adopted," said Tilly Baker.

Baker is from Anderson county. She knew she was adopted at birth.
All her life she had been told she had a sibling out there.

"I had always heard that I had a half sister," Baker said.

In 2018, she and her best friend ordered a "23 and Me" DNA test. There was no real reason, just for fun.

"A few months later I got a message in September, the very end of September, it had matched me to a first cousin," Baker exclaimed.

A cousin who found the missing link--Krista Jackson.

"They said you know we were doing this research and they're looking at me. And they said we found somebody," explained Krista Jackson, "And I thought 'oh ok we found a cousin nobody knew we had, somebody's fathered a child out of wedlock or something.' But then they said no it's your half sister. You have a half sister. And at first I couldn't believe it and I thought she had to be older than me."

But that wasn't the case.

"All of my life, for 39 years, I thought I was an only child," said Jackson.

Born and raised in Blount county, Krista is six years older than Tilly.

"I've always felt like, I never really felt like I was an only child," Jackson laughed.

Krista called Tilly with more shocking news.

"There's another sister, you have a full sister," said Baker, re-enacting the day she got the call.

"That's the other sister we're searching for now," said Jackson.

The family tree Krista and Tilly never knew they have, gets even bigger.

"Another family member came forth after all this came to light and said that my mother had also given a baby boy up for adoption in 1974 prior to my birth," said Jackson.

Their long lost brother's story is even more of a mystery. The only two clues: he was born at UT Hospital and his birth name was William Paul McCarter.

With all these discoveries the sisters knew they had to meet in person.

"We stood at my work and talked for 3 hours on a Saturday. We really did," said Baker.

It helped solidify a bond they never knew they had.

"We each had a dog for 16 years. She had a dog named Gizzy and I had a dog named Ziggy," said Jackson.

"I never dreamed that when I took the 23 and me test that it would end up like this. That this is how it would play out," exclaimed Baker.

"It was earth-shattering. I mean I really had no idea," said Jackson, "I mean I've lived my entire life thinking I was an only child. So this was life altering."

"It's so nice, you know, and I have two nieces now. And it's just been even more family. It's been wonderful," said Baker.

They're still looking for other pieces.

"Even if they don't want to be a part of our lives, we still want to know that they're OK. You know, where did they end up? What are they doing now," questioned Jackson.

A once very well kept family secret, is now a family history mystery.

"We're very excited to put the pieces of the puzzle together. It's kind of become an obsession," said Jackson.

They are waiting on birth records from the state, which could take up to six months. State workers have to find the records and get permission from the missing brother and sister.

To share the information, they are also using social media.

If you have any information regarding their missing siblings, you can contact Krista Jackson at: kristajackson274@gmail.com.

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