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Sibling saga: sisters meet after a lifetime apart

A genealogy test uncovers more than just a bloodline for a Yuma woman - 13 On Your Side's Arlette Yousif reports

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - What began as a curious look into family history turned into more than anyone in the Recio family could imagine.

Genealogy companies like Ancestry and 23andMe have helped create family trees, and shown people where they come from. But for two women, now in their 70’s, it’s the beginning of a beautiful union.

An innocent curiosity last November sent one Yuma woman to the internet.

She wanted to learn more about her husband's bloodline. What she discovered was far more special than anyone could have imagined.

Her grandmother-in-law had a long-lost sister in Texas.

Consuelo Recio Vasquez, 79, and her half-sister Lydia Recio Jimenez, 75, have the same father, but Recio Vasquez only knew his name. However, Recio Jimenez says she was a daddy’s girl.

“It shocked me because I never have a, not even a face who my father looked like or-- they never talked to me of him," says Consuelo Recio Vasquez.

“This is something he took to his grave, and you know,” explains Lydia Recio Jimenez.

“And my mom too,” Recio Vasquez continues.

Recio Vasquez's granddaughter-in-law, Juliette Nava, has a love of history and a hobby of researching genealogy. She wanted to learn more about her husband’s family.

“I really don’t know a whole lot about them, so I started with his mom and she’s like, 'I’ll do my DNA, I’ll help you out and we’ll trace my ancestors and my heritage,'” says Recio Vasquez's granddaughter-in-law Juliette Nava.

Nava asked Consuelo for a DNA sample.

“So, we tested grandma and as we’re going through the results when they came back, we realized that, you know, grandma’s closest match didn’t know about grandma, in a sense. And that’s when it just kind of all came together and it was more than we had realized that we were looking for,” explains Nava.

By December 2021, Nava reached out to Recio Jimenez's niece, Abigail Recio, in Texas, who also took a DNA test through Ancestry.

“One of the first things she asked me was, ‘how are you connected to the Recio side?’ And I was like well by blood, you know, my father was Recio,” says Recio Jimenez's niece Abigail Recio.

At first, Nava and Recio didn’t know what to do. They said they wondered if they reach out to their respective relatives, and what to say.

Eventually, they both told shared the news in their own ways, and the long-lost half-sisters talked on the phone for the first time in February.

“To have her was so nice and it was inspirational to me because I had lost all of my family members,” explains Recio Jimenez.

It’s an emotional experience for the whole family.

“I was a daddy’s girl and so he was super with me,” Recio Jimenez continues.

Recio Vasquez had a step-father growing up and says she didn't have the best experience.

“Cause I didn’t go to school and I was supposed to, and, you know, it was kind of hard for me,” Recio Vasquez added.

The sisters lived very different lives, Recio Vasquez only went to third grade and helped her mother take care of her 12 siblings. Recio Jimenez focused on her studies.

“We both talk about that and, you know, well, you can’t go back, you know, so, I love her and that’s enough,” says Recio Jimenez.

But there are also funny similarities…

“We have two daughters that we named the same, same names, Adriana and Monica,” explains Recio Vasquez.

And the same interests…

“We love to gamble," adds Recio Jimenez.

Despite their drastically different lives, the new-found sisters say they're making every second count together.

“Connie (Recio Vasquez) and her family have embraced us and made us feel like we’ve known each other forever. Yes, it’s beautiful,” says Recio Jimenez.

Recio Jimenez came Yuma to visit her sister this month for the first time, and her sister is also planning a trip to Texas in the future.

In the meantime, the loving sisters now speak almost everyday.

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Arlette Yousif

Arlette Yousif joined KYMA in November 2020 as a Multi Media Journalist. She holds a BA in Journalism with a minor in Film.

You can reach out to Arlette for at arlette.yousif@kecytv.com.

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