The Gift of Tex, part 1

WACO, Texas (KWTX) A lot of ancestry websites promise to give you the answers of your heritage based on genealogy and DNA testing.

Courtesy: Family of James Howard

But one area woman's decision to sign up last year completely changed her family's life.

Layne Averyt of College Station ordered her DNA test kit in January of last year, and initially got results about her nationality.

But months later came the real shock.

She said, "July 20 I got an e-mail that said 'unexpected introduction, Ancestry believes we're first cousins."

On the other end was Tex Gross.

After learning a friend helps adopted people find their birth parents, he asked for help.

He was adopted as an infant shortly after his birth by William and Dessie Gross.

They raised him in Texas and he said they were, "parents of perfection."

He attended UT and went on to a successful career in finance.

But his curiosity compelled Tex to send his DNA sample to ancestry and once he got the results his friend got to work..

Five hours after that the floodgates opened.

Tex said, "Vicki called back and said well, I've found your dad. His name is Jamie Howard. He was born 1923. He joined the Navy on December 8, 1941. He shipped out on the U.S.S. Neosho on January the 15, 1942. He was killed in battle, the Battle of the Coral Sea in May of 1942. I was born in October of 1942."

As a baby he lost his father five months before he took his first breath.

But the revelations didn't stop there.

Tex said Vicki told him, "and by the way, your father Jamie has three brothers and one sister. So here are you eight first cousins."

Tex reached out to those cousins, including Layne.

He said he, "wrote her an e-mail simply saying I'm the son of Jamie Howard your uncle and I don't want anything or need anything but I'd like to know you."

Layne said her reaction was, "What? Who could this... how could this be possible?"

"And that's when I started to think, gosh because I had an uncle who died in the Battle of the Coral Sea my Uncle Jamie," Layne told us, "we knew he wasn't married, but we didn't know about a girlfriend, I mean we knew nothing."

She said, "This was a total shock to us but a wonderful one because I mean he died so young."

Layne told her extended family about the baby no one knew existed.

And her daughter found a picture that made it all crystal clear.

Layne said, "she had found a young picture of him and a young picture of my dad and put him together, the resemblance is ridiculous."

Tex told us, "I didn't hear from her for about six hours and I thought well maybe I spooked Layne. No, indeed she was calling all of her relatives and telling them about Tex Gross who was her long lost cousin."

Thursday night, we'll show you what happened when Tex met his biological family for the first time and the incredible bond they've developed since.