'We had no idea’: Conway man discovers nearby biological family after DNA test

Updated: Jun. 23, 2019 at 10:13 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) -- For seven decades Robert Bland has never known anything about his biological mother other than her first name, but after taking a DNA test to learn more about his ancestry Robert would uncover far more than he ever had imagined.

Bland, who most know as Bobby, has lived in Horry County for 45 years, but his story starts in Virginia where he was born and later adopted by a loving family who would raise him in Winston Salem.

For 72 years Bobby would know very little about his birth mother, that is until his DNA results uncovered far more than he ever expected.

“It’s just something you couldn’t even imagine and then all of a sudden I got a what,” said Robert Bland.

After submitting his DNA, Bobby’s results would connect him to Darci Gessford who lived more than 400 miles away in Maryland.

Following several days of research Darci’s family would realize Bobby was much more than a distant relative and gave him a phone call.

“She said I think your my Uncle and I said no I don’t have any nieces or nephews then she said yeah I think you do,” said Bland.

Bobby’s DNA match closest to Darci’s mother Renae Gibson, the youngest of three children Bobby’s biological mother would raise in Maryland.

“My daughter said I think Granny had another baby and I told here I know it was still born girl and she says no it’s a boy and his names Robert,” said Renea.

This weekend each met for the first time, sharing stories and going through photos of the last 75 years.

“When you open an album and the first thing you see is a woman who looks just like you, it’s real you know,” said Robert.

“We had no idea about Robert at all and now that we found him we’re going to keep him,” said Darci Gessford, Roberts’s niece.

Bobby also learned his half sister Cheryl had been living right up the road off 501 before passing away in 2016 and believes their paths may have crossed.

“I know I’ve talked to her and I can tell you just about where it was too, he old standing room up here years ago and I know good and well that’s where I met her,” said Robert.

As the family makes up for lost time, Robert was given an urn with his biological mothers ashes inside and knows she’s smiling down on a reunion seven decades in the making.

“I think she’d be happy, real happy,” said Renae Gibson.

Bobby and his wife plans to make a trip to Maryland to meet his other newly discovered relatives including his half brother.

Copyright 2019 WMBF. All rights reserved.