Family reunion 90 years in the making

Published: Jun. 12, 2016 at 10:30 PM CDT
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For the past 90 years, two families had no idea they shared a common relative. One side thought he disappeared, while the other knew next to nothing about his past. But last fall that all changed.

Seaters and Sederburg: they're more than just similar last names.

"It's just truly a reunion. It's a reuniting of two lost families for 90-some years,” said Bill Sederburg.

Two families have one common link and that’s a man named Harry.

"Nobody knew what happened to him. So since 1927, there has just been this big question mark about Harry. Where is Harry?” said Bill Sederburg.

Originally from the Red Oak, Iowa area, Harry Sederburg disappeared and left behind a wife and two kids. He changed his name and moved west, starting his life all over again. But with his past life a mystery, his new family did some digging. Cheryl Hadley and her mom had been searching high and low since the mid '80s to find answers. More than 30 years to be exact.

"We had been looking for years," said Hadley. "I found out that my grandpa – Harry Seaters – was actually Harry Sederburg."

Hadley says it's all thanks to popular genealogy website She was able to find that missing link that connected the Seaters and Sederburgs.

"Since then, we've had three other relatives that have done DNA tests, just to re-confirm,” said Mike Seaters.

Now, the two families are working to become one, building lifelong relationships -- relationships that were strengthened through a reunion at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Red Oak.

"Everybody is so wonderful. What a nice family the Sederburgs are here in Iowa,” said Mike Seaters.

Despite the decades it took for this reunion to happen. The family said it’s important to never give up.

"If you can't find them, keep looking. You will dig up a loose end and find the answers you need,” said Cheryl Hadley.

Family members say they couldn't be more happy with how this weekend's reunion went.