Meet the Neighbors Who Met During Quarantine—and Realized They Were Related

California’s Coronavirus restrictions have brought neighbors closer together in more ways than one. See how two families discovered an amazing connection.

By Mike Vulpo, Spencer Lubitz Apr 29, 2020 5:14 PMTags
Kjetil and Zoe Njoten

It's a small world after all!

As the Coronavirus pandemic forces families to stay home across the country, many Americans are getting the chance to learn more about their neighbors and communities. 

It's certainly the case for Southern California residents Kjetil and Zoe Njoten who live four houses away from Erik and Jen Strom. While they always were cordial and shared friendly hellos, they had no idea just how close they were. As it turns out, Erik and Kjetil are family. 

During a neighborhood get-together, both families bonded—from a safe distance—over their shared Norwegian heritage. Names of family members were exchanged and it was time for some investigating. 

"As we were talking, we were like, ‘Well how cool would it be if we were actually related?' And I was like, ‘Look, I'll text my mom. I'll let you know because she could probably find out quite easily. She has a book that talks about the area I grew up in from the 1800's until now of where people are and what happened.' So I texted my mom because I had the name of this guy," Kjetil shared with E! News exclusively.

Neighborhood Acts of Kindness During the Coronavirus

He continued, "So I woke up the next morning and my mom said, ‘Well actually, this guy is your great-great-grandfather as well.' And I was like, wow. So that meant Erik and I were fourth cousins and it was just crazy."

Watch: What Social Distancing Really Means: The More You Know

While both families are well aware of the news now, they haven't been able to have a proper face-to-face conversation because of social distancing. At the same time, there's no denying the excitement both neighbors have for the unexpected connection.

"We've done some texting and we're all super excited to catch up properly when all this is over. But I think we all really like each other so far and I think that it will be kind of a relationship that will grow as things kind of go back to normal a little bit," Kjetil explained to us. 

One family member who is extra excited about the news is Kjetil's 10-year-old son. Because Erik and Jen have a 4-year-old daughter, there's a chance for two kids to build a relationship down the line.

"He is really excited by the idea of having someone who is family here," Kjetil shared with us. "He's talked very excitedly about what he will do when they can meet properly."

For the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic and for tips on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit The Center for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov. To plan your vaccine, head to NBC's Plan Your Vaccine site at PlanYourVaccine.com.