Oh, how we sentimental folks love a good reunion story, even the ones that have sad beginnings. This is a tale of two sisters who made the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest separation ever recorded – 78 years.
In 1936, a single woman named Alice Lamb gave birth to a set of twin girls in a small England town called Aldershot. She named one Elizabeth Ann – who was older by twenty minutes – and the other Patricia Susan. Their father, an army man, would never meet the girls.
Alice, employed as a live-in cook, would sometimes bounce between employers, and lived during a time when being a single mother was frowned upon. Boarding her children at work with her was a no-no. She made the heartbreaking decision to put her babies up for adoption, but only one – Patricia – would be given up.
Elizabeth had a spinal condition that would have made it impossible for her to be adopted, so Alice made the choice to keep her. Patricia – whose name was changed to Ann Patricia – was adopted by a loving couple and grew up as an only child in Aldershot.
Though Alice and Elizabeth moved around, Elizabeth lived apart from her mother for some years because of her work until they finally settled in London. Once Elizabeth grew up, she joined the Navy and met her future husband, Jim, while both were in Malta. Jim Hamel, an American, brought Elizabeth to the states, where they started a family.
Ann stayed in Aldershot, where she too married a man named Jim (Hunt) and began a family. But as a teenager, she learned she was adopted and was curious about her birth family. It wasn’t until 2001 that she asked her daughter to do some digging.
After years and years, Ann’s daughter Samantha found out that not only did Ann have a sister in America – but that she was her twin! The two communicated by mail and Skype before finally meeting in person in 2014.
With a nearly 78-year separation between them, Ann and Elizabeth have made an interesting case for Dr. Nancy Segal to study. The twin studies expert (who is also a twin) researches the similarities and differences in twins who were raised apart.
She delves into how much they are alike in their mannerisms, social behaviors, likes, and dislikes. It’s amazing to learn that many separated twins act and think alike! One thing Ann and Elizabeth had in common was a fondness to act goofy in front of the camera.
Click on this video to hear more about their separation and sweet reunion. Sadly, Elizabeth passed away six months after their reunion, and Ann died earlier this year at the age of 81.
Thankfully, these two lovely ladies were finally given the chance to meet after so many decades apart, and got the opportunity to get to know one another.
Were you familiar with Elizabeth and Ann’s story? Do you know of a similar sibling reunion? Are you a twin?