In the town of Moya, in the island of Gran Canaria, Spain, lives a very special family.
The Hernández-Pérez household have broken the record for the highest combined age of 12 living siblings, with a whopping total age of 1,058 years 249 days.
That surpasses the previous record by 16 years.
It all started with the happy couple of Modesto Hernández and Martina Pérez who lived in Moya, Gran Canaria - the same town where their twelve children have spent their lives and where they live to this day.
Today the close-knit clan, composed of Modesto and Martina's seven sons and five daughters, spans between 76 and 98 years of age.
The record- breaking lineage starts with Jose Hernández- Pérez.
The oldest son of Modesto and Martina and the first of the siblings, Jose was born on 30 December 1924.
His birth was followed two years later by his brother Alejandro, born on 11 January 1926.
The two brothers then saw their family tree grow year after year as they welcomed their first sister.
Carmen was born in the summer, in 1928, as was Juan who came in June 1929. The following year, Martina gave birth to her second daughter, Rosario Ofelia. Rosario was born on 15 June 1930.
Between 1932 and 1946, the Hernández-Pérez clan had more children added to their ranks:
- Amanda (b. 10 September 1932)
- Modesto (b. 22 February 1934)
- Angela (b. 14 July 1936)
- Francisco (b. 21 August 1938)
- Gloria Hortensia (b. 13 May 1941)
- Miguel (b. 3 June 1943)
And, last but certainly not least, the youngest brother, Luis, who was born on 4 April 1946 and is 76 years old at the time of writing.
This summer, the twelve siblings reunited in the city where they grew up to register their record-worthy birth certificates before a notary.
The record was recognized and approved by Guinness World Records in September 2022.
“We never thought we’d break a world record,” the family declared.
“It all started as a joke during a family reunion in June. Then, after seeing a newspaper article titled ’12 siblings count more than 1000 years’, we started gathering information and reached out to Guinness World Records.”
“The truth is that breaking a world record has unified this family more than ever.” - Hernández-Pérez family
The family is always talking about the record in their group chat, or sharing anecdotes on the record.
The accolade had a positive impact on their lives, and further cemented their bond.
However, other than the great pride and joy that the family found in breaking a world record, they also hope that it will be “a recognition and homage for all those families in our city (and, more in general, in the island) that counted 8 or more siblings.”
“Those families fought and sacrificed a lot to improve our present society and life,” they said.
During the event, the family was celebrated and accompanied by the mayor of Moya, Raúl Afonso.
The local priest, Roberto Rivero, and historian María del Pino Ojeda also witnessed the ratification, as was reported by the Spanish news outlet Canarian Weekly.
“The siblings stand as an example of traditional values,” writes the newspaper ABC Espana.
“The same values that they now transmit with the tranquillity and wisdom given by age, and the values that have accompanied them through the years.”
The family shares many happy memories.
Memories of work, of studying together, of dances and local festivities that shaped their childhood.
"We remember that time in the 60s, when we went to La Palma, the capital of the island," they recall. "We brought the cows with us, so we were selling fresh milk door to door."
“We shared every dinner, and the work on the field was carried out by all the siblings that weren’t in school. However, even them joined their siblings after class to help out with the work on the fields.”
“That sense of union carries on to this day, and there was never a fall out between us siblings. We all always help and support each other.”
“Among the difficulties of the 30s, 40s and 50s, there was no technology, no public transport and very few doctors,” the siblings recall about the challenges of their past. “We had to walk several miles for food and school, and always by foot.”
Although everything was done in the house, the siblings share fond memories of the rural society that tempered their spirits and shaped their bond.
"We used to sow, thresh and harvest our wheat, and carry it to the mill for the flour. We baked bread in our family's oven. We used the wool of our own sheep for blouses and jackets."
Everything was done by hand and always with the help of the neighborhood, in a society that was based on mutual aid and a strong sense of community.
“Our mother, Martina, gave birth to all her 12 children at home, alone or occasionally helped by a midwife.”
However, they also recall that there were plenty of parties at the end of the workday, and everybody played an instrument.
With their achievement, the Hernández-Pérez siblings broke the record previously set by the D’Cruz family (Pakistan).
Together, the D'Cruz siblings measured a total combined age of 1,042 years and 315 days, as verified in December 2020.
“The best thing about living with so many siblings is that we always had company, and we’ve done everything together. School, playtime, work, we’ve done it together. We always help and take care of each other.” - Hernández-Pérez family