NORWAY — Thanks to science, genealogy and the internet, Charlotte Snedeker of Norway and her older sister, Margaret Perri of West Long Beach, New Jersey, recently discovered they have a younger sibling. And, they are thrilled with the addition to the family.

The story starts in Ashbury Park, New Jersey, where Snedeker and Perri lived as children. Their father and mother separated when Snedeker was 9 months old, she said, but they never divorced.

Sisters Carla Peters of Walt Town, New Jersey, left, and Charlotte Snedeker of Norway meet for the first time after discovering each other through genealogy and DNA tests. Submitted photo

For 77 years, Snedeker believed she was the baby of the family. She had no reason to believe differently.

“My son gave me an AncestryDNA kit for Christmas in 2017,” Snedeker said. “The results came back in February of 2018.”

At the time, there were no significant matches outside of distant cousins.

“On Feb. 20, 2019, I received an update saying I had matches,” Snedeker said.

The match indicated Snedeker shared 1,777 centiMorgans with another member.

“A centiMorgan is the yardstick for determining closeness,” she said. “Fourth cousins share about 400 centiMorgans, so the match was close.”

The results also indicated the two share 78 segments of DNA. “That is very high,” she said.

The match, Carla Peters of Walt Town, New Jersey, was someone Snedeker did not recognize. She contacted the stranger through the website and instantly received a response.

“You are my hope to figuring out who my father is,” Peters wrote.

Peters grew up in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, a neighboring town to her newfound sisters’ childhood home.

Her mother was adopted. She never knew who her father was. Peters had no information on her lineage.

Snedeker had a moment of denial and thought, perhaps, the results were inaccurate. So, she spoke with her older sister. “We had no inkling whatsoever but it was possible,” Snedeker said.

Since Peters used a 23andMe DNA test, Snedeker followed up with the same test for validation.

“That test came back and matched us as half siblings,” she said. “My older sister and I welcomed her into the family. Carla has six siblings related to her through her mother. Now she has two more through her father. My sister and I are so happy to be a part of her life.”

On May 28, Snedeker and Peters met for the first time at the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank, New Jersey.

“We met for lunch at 12:30,” Snedeker said. “Two hours later, we moved to the lobby where we talked until 7 p.m.”

One woman came by and asked about their lengthy visit in the lobby.

“I told her, “Just look what DNA has done,” Snedeker said.

Through the course of their conversation, Snedeker learned Peters was born in 1955 at Fitkin Hospital in Jersey Shore, New Jersey.

“When I was about 13, my mother, a nurse, went back to work at what was then Fitkin Hospital,” Snedeker said. “It is a possibility my mother was Carla’s delivery nurse.

“We don’t even know if Carla’s mother knew about my sister and I. We don’t know if my mother knew about Carla’s mother. It’s an unknown possibility my mother was there for Carla’s birth, but we think it is very ironic.”

The three sisters are planning to get together later this month for the first time.

“I was raised the baby of the family,” Snedeker said. “Come to find out, I am actually the dreaded middle child but I can laugh about it now.”

“We are not half sisters and we are not stepsisters,” she added. “We are just sisters.”

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