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'There's so much love here:' DNA test helps unite Wisconsin family

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SUSSEX, Wis. (CBS 58) -- More than 26 million people around the world have dug into their family histories with the help of an at-home DNA kit.

For many, it’s a fear of rejection that prevents them from reaching out to their loved ones through a DNA kit, but for one Wisconsin family, they found much more than what they could have asked for. Cheryl Pivar used AncestryDNA and 23andMe to find her uncle Sammie Ringer, who lives in Sussex. 

“I was apprehensive because I feared rejection,” Pivar said.

Pivar found the courage to send Ringer a Christmas card with her picture in it. Her uncle couldn’t believe how much she looked like his sister who had passed away.

“I called my brothers and sisters and said this lady is our relative, wait till you see this picture,” Ringer said.

Ringer checked with his aunt who revealed a family secret. 

“She said yeah, Jeanie did have a daughter out of wedlock and nobody knew,” Ringer said.

But this story of reunion is far from over because his aunt also confessed that not only did his sister give up a child for adoption, but his mother did too.

“So lo and behold I find out not only do I have a new niece, I have a new brother,” Ringer said.

While Pivar and her uncle were connecting, Ringer’s brother Jim Rosano had been doing a search of his own. Rosano used a DNA test and his adoption papers to find Pivar and sent her a letter. Pivar, excited, shared the news with her newly found uncle.

“I'm 72 with an older brother who's 77 and I've never met him or Cheryl,” Ringer said.

On Saturday, the family gathered in Sussex for a BBQ and family reunion where they got to share stories and connect with their newly found family members.

“I have a big family, they have a big heart and there's so much love here. I have no regrets except for not reaching out sooner,” Pivar said.

From one family to another, they have a piece of advice for anyone looking for their loved ones.

“If you have this desire somewhere within you to have a connection with some people that may be out there and may be receptive, go for it, all they can do it say sorry,” Rosano said.

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