Two long-lost sisters separated for more than 60 years have finally met.
Julie Mamo and Julie Ansell were unaware of each other’s existence for more than 60 years. But the two women share both a first name and a mother.
Mamo, who was adopted as a baby, grew up in Australia, while her sister grew up in the UK. A recent DNA test taken by the pair’s nephew led to their meeting. And the two sisters hit it off from the start.
1950s Britain – a difficult time to be a young single mother
Mamo is Ansell’s elder by two years. Their mother, Lillian Fisher, gave birth to Mamo in 1956 when she was 17 years old. In considerably more conservative 1950s Britain, the unmarried Fisher faced societal and familial pressure to put Mamo up for adoption.
She was quickly adopted after just nine days in an orphanage and moved across the world to Australia with her adoptive family.
Ms Fisher went on to have four other children, with Ansell the eldest of these. Ansell recalls that, when she was 12 years old, her mother told her that she had given a child up for adoption, but that she failed to take it on board.
“At that age, nothing sinks in,” she said. “Months roll into years and you don’t think about it”.
Chance encounter – the result of a DNA test by a curious nephew
The reunion was made possible thanks to the sisters’ nephew, Jason Fisher. Curious about his heritage and ancestry, Mr Fisher completed a DNA test from genealogy website MyHeritage.com.
Mamo was his strongest match at 90% – even more than his two sisters at 70%! Spurred on by these findings, Mr Fisher managed to connect with Mamo’s daughter via Facebook.
Ansell was soon on a flight to Australia to visit Mamo and the two long-lost sisters got on like a house on fire, discovering that they shared common interests like wood crafting and comical childhood eccentricities such as eating spiders.
Mamo returned to the UK with Ansell where she met the rest of her biological family. She also even had time to meet with her extended adoptive family, some of whom she hadn’t seen for 45 years.
Speaking of the events that have unfolded, Mr Fisher said, “It cost me £35 to find this out and I got an auntie and cousin who are the best. When you have a stranger come into your life, you think how is it going to go and she’s just slotted in”.
“We just get on, we don’t even try. It’s no effort,” explained Ansell on her new relationship with her sister. “We have just slotted into each other’s lives like a jigsaw puzzle”.
Mamo echoed Ansell’s sentiments and added, “It’s surreal still even though we are together now, it’s still really unreal, it’s beautiful. The hardest part is how I go back now, my family will still be here”.