Neighbors Discover Long-Lost Relatives Thanks To Social Distancing Neighborhood Party.

Sometimes we find the best connections when we’re not looking for them!


When Kjetil and Zoe Njoten moved from London to Los Angeles a few years ago with Monty, their 10-year-old son, they didn’t think they had any family in the area. About a year later, the novel coronavirus pandemic started, and they found a wonderful surprise just four houses down.


After a few weeks of self-isolating, they attended a neighborhood “social distancing happy hour,” where Kjetil started chatting with a near-stranger named Erik Strom. Their conversation quickly turned to their shared Norwegian roots, which is when they made an unbelievable discovery!

They both had ancestors who came from the same tiny island in Norway. In fact, the island is so small that it has a population of about 30 people. After doing more research, they discovered they share the same great-great-grandfather!


Kjetil and Zoe asked Erik and his wife Jen to stop by later. When they were all together, Kjetil revealed the good news, and Jen said everyone was “ecstatic.”

While this quarantine period has been difficult, Jen said, “We wonder how long it would have been [for us to make this connection] if we didn’t have this reason to slow down from our regular life.”

As for Kjetil, he said it’s been a “bright light in what is a pretty uncertain and worrying time.”


Now, Zoe and Kjetil can say they have family nearby. Even better, they’re close enough to play a big role in each other’s lives! What a wonderful surprise to come out of this strange season.

Learn more about their discovery in the video below, and share this story to make someone smile today. For more joy and hope, check out the Coronavirus Good News Dashboard.

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