Sunday, October 7, 2012

We're all cousins Part 3

As I wrote recently, my grandmother used to say about her family and my grandfather's family that "we're all cousins." Both of their families were establishment New England families who had known each other and inter-married. I've used a picture of Edie and her Thacher cousins for this post. Edie didn't know the exact relationships, but I have been able to establish at least three crossovers between Edie's family tree and Duke's. They are both descended from Priscilla Mullins and John Alden, John Sherman and Martha Palmer and Edward Winship and Elizabeth Parke. There may be other connections as well.

When I started looking into my wife's family, I didn't have any idea that we would also be cousins. But I figured out that, in fact, we are. First I found a crossover between my family tree and hers in the Middle Ages. Quickly thereafter, I determined that her family was one of those early establishment New England families as well and that we're both descended from Mayflower passengers Richard Warren and Elizabeth Walker

Though it seemed similarly unlikely, I have always wondered if I would find a crossover between my Mom's family and my Dad's. I knew a lot about my Dad's family tree, but my Mom's has been a work in progress for the past several years, and as far as I knew they were Midwestern farmers or New York Dutch (to coin a term). I had a breakthrough recently, though, as I found the Foote family, so I've been tracking that family back through its Massachusetts history. Not surprisingly, the further I went back, the closer to a crossover I came, until finally this week I discovered Elizabeth Wheeler (Breed) along the Foote line. The name Wheeler was familiar to me immediately, so I continued up her family tree to her parents, Thomas Wheeler and Rebecca Sayre. I already had them in my family tree file as one of my Grandma Edie's ancestors through their son Timothy Wheeler. Eureka!

I counted back the generations and Timothy and Rebecca were eleven generations back from my Dad and thirteen generations back from my Mom. So that would make my parents tenth cousins, twice removed! I don't know what the mathematical likelihood of these connections is, but that's a subject for another post. Not as unlikely as we often think.

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