Linda Hoffman, Harriet Carter, Separated at Birth, Meet for First Time After 73 Years

A pair of sisters have finally met for the first time after spending over seven decades apart. Having been kept secret from one another by their parents, the women discovered each other just two years ago.

The rise of genealogy websites and at-home DNA testing has made a remarkable impact on countless individuals who have, for one reason or another, lost contact with relatives. At the same time, this increasingly-accessible technology can cause controversy by unearthing long-held family secrets and other unknowns.

One example, from earlier this year, highlighted the potential for these uncomfortable revelations: In September, a woman turned to the internet for advice after discovering that her boyfriend is also her fourth cousin. The realization came after she began researching her family tree.

At the same time, the technology is also responsible for countless reunions. In England, a woman recently found her son after completing an at-home DNA test. She told news outlets that she was forced to put him up for adoption 66 years ago, when she was just 20 years old.

For Linda Hoffman, 73, and Harriet Carter, 76, their meeting came two years after their Ancestry.com results yielded a match. Last week, Carter flew from her home in Sacramento, California to meet Hoffman in Denver, Colorado.

"I'm so excited. I can imagine what she's thinking," said Hoffman, speaking in a KMGH video segment, while waiting for her sister at the airport.

"I had a message from Harriet saying, 'I think we might be related,'" she explained to the news outlet. "We were [a] 100 percent match, but our parents never told a soul, ever."

Carter, the elder of the two, had been put up for adoption when her parents were just 18 years old. Their parents, who died long ago, never shared the secret with Hoffman.

For the two years following their discovery, the sisters talked on the phone almost every day.

"Oh my God, that's her," said Hoffman, upon seeing Carter for the first time. "Let me see you."

At the airport, the two were surprised by their instant similarities. "You do look like me," said Hoffman.

"I can't believe how much you look like my mom—our mom," she added, quickly correcting herself. "I can't quit staring at you."

Near baggage claim, Hoffman pulled out some old photos to show her sister. "This picture's sad because you're not in it," said Hoffman about a picture of the family.

From the airport, Hoffman took Carter to her home, which he had filled with Christmas decorations in honor of her sister's arrival.

"I think we found each other when we were supposed to," noted Hoffman to KMGH.

Carter agreed: "Oh, everything happens when it's supposed to, anyway."

DNA Test Kit
Last week, a pair of sisters met for the first time after 73 years. They found each other after matching on Ancestry.com. A saliva-collection kit for at-home DNA testing, 2018. ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images