Julie Mamo, left, and Julie Ansell, right, met in person for the first time in May 2023 (MyHeritage.com/PA)
Two sisters who did not know of each other’s existence have united after more than 60 years following a surprising DNA test.
Julie Mamo, 66, and Julie Ansell, 64, now known by family as “Julie 1” and “Julie 2”, were living across the world from each other unaware of their sisterhood until their nephew, Jason Fisher, was curious about his ethnic heritage last year.
The pair had never met as their mother, Lillian Fisher, was 17 years old and unmarried when she gave birth to Ms Mamo, in Dover in 1956, and faced pressure to give her up for adoption.
Ms Mamo was adopted at nine days old and moved to Australia with her family as a child.
It’s surreal still even though we are together now, it’s still really unreal, it’s beautiful
Ms Fisher later went on to have four more children, calling the eldest Julie, who now lives in St Margaret’s Bay, Kent.
While Ms Fisher has since died, Ms Ansell remembered when she was 12 that her mother told her she had given a baby up for adoption when she was younger.
Ms Ansell told PA news agency: “At that age, nothing sinks in. Months roll into years and you don’t think about it.”
On finally connecting with her sister, the carer added: “We just get on, we don’t even try, it’s no effort. We have just slotted into each other’s lives like a jigsaw puzzle”.
Ms Mamo said: “It’s surreal still even though we are together now, it’s still really unreal, it’s beautiful.”
Julie Mamo joined Julie Ansell in the UK to meet the family. From left, niece Jess Fisher, Julie Mamo, Julie Ansell, brother Ted Fisher and nephew Jason Fisher (MyHeritage.com/PA)
The sisters have been able to make up for lost years since Mr Fisher’s decision to do a DNA test from genealogy site MyHeritage.com.
The results brought up his two sisters as matches of around 70%, and Ms Mamo, unknown to him at the time, as his strongest match of more than 90%.
The dad-of-three then began a mission to track down the mysterious match and made contact with Ms Mamo’s daughter on Facebook.
After taking a while to work out the connection, Ms Ansell was on a flight to Australia to meet her long-lost sister last month, and they realised how much they had in common from eating spiders and Vicks Vaporub as children to hobbies such as making wooden crafts.
She's inherited all of us, she's always smiling. Every day I talk to Julie (Mamo) it's like I have known her all my life
The Julies then travelled back to the UK together for Ms Mamo to meet the family, as well as her wider adopted family based in Kent who she hadn’t seen for 45 years.
Mr Fisher said: “I’m so glad they’ve got each other”, adding: “She’s inherited all of us, she’s always smiling. Every day I talk to Julie (Mamo) it’s like I have known her all my life.”
The 34-year-old added: “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.”
Ms Mamo added: “The hardest part is how I go back now, my family will still be here.”
Ms Mamo is set to go back to Australia later this month after a whirlwind reunion, but the sisters hope to meet in Bali next year for another meet-up.
They are also currently in the process of doing a further DNA test to see if they also share the same father as now they believe “anything is possible”.