FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WVNS) – There is an almost endless list of things you can do on the internet these days. But one family never expected Facebook to lead them to a brother they never knew existed.
One year ago, Mary K. Matelski gave her father, Everett Heaton a 23-and-Me kit for his 85th birthday.
“I open it up and I say oh my gosh this is something I’ve wanted to do,” said Everett Heaton. “And I say ‘will this help me to find my father? But she says ‘no, probably not.”
When Matelski saw how disappointed her father was about potentially not finding out more about the father he never knew, she started searching every fact she knew about her father’s dad.
Armed with the name of Everett’s father and two uncles, she was able to find enough through google and Facebook to track down the Treadway family in Fayette County.
“I said dad, you’ve got four sisters and three brothers. Would you like to meet them? Because I found a phone number on facebook,” said Matelski.
Everett was shocked. He said it took him three days to muster the courage to call the man he would soon find out is his half-brother.
“I called him and I said is your name Rick? And he said ‘yes it is’. I said, ‘Rick Treadway?’ And he says, ‘yes it is. Who are you?’ And I said, “Well, I might be a relative of yours.’ Heaton told 59News.
“And he said, ‘what is your name?’ And I said ‘my name is Everett.’ Well, the guy was all ears then because that’s our dad’s name.” said Heaton.
Rick told his siblings about the call and they all began reaching out to Everett to find out more.
It was not until Paul Treadway found out Everett’s mother’s name, that everything started to make sense to the siblings.
“He said Mary Jane? Mary Jane?!” Heaton recalled. “That’s a secret word the family had and none of the children ever found out what it was about.” Heaton explained.
“And Paul said to me, ‘you won’t believe this, but I was 11 years old in the kitchen at the table, and my mother said to my dad ‘why don’t you go see Mary Jane?’ and my father said, according to Paul, “Shut up, Ruth.” said Heaton.
Everett Treadway, Everett Heaton’s father, was a coal miner, and when he struggled to find work in West Virginia during the Great Depression, he temporarily moved to Pennsylvania with his uncles to try to find work. That is where he met Mary Jane. And not long after, his son Everett was born.
A year later, and the Treadway family is celebrating their oldest and newest brother’s 86th birthday today, and for the first time, they’re celebrating as a family.
“It’s been crazy. It’s been a shock, really to find out there’s someone out there that you’re related to. It took 85 years. 85 years to find him. And he’s a blessing,” the Treadway siblings said.
Everett’s birthday celebration just goes to show, you never know what, or who, you might find on the internet.
“Just by the way, you should never put your phone number on Facebook. Unless you want a relative that you don’t know existed for 85 years to give you a phone call, and then, feel free.” said Matelski.