Sunday, November 30, 2008

Catching up...Mesa

What a great time I had in Mesa! I don't even know where to start!

Family History Expos (.com) always deliver a fantastic event. Mesa was no exception. Course it didn't hurt that the weather was FABULOUS and I have a soft spot for Mesa anyway. I LOVE the desert, and the extra vitamin D being absorbed straight from the sun is always a good thing, but especially when homebase has already seen snow this season.

Everyone was so excited to hear of Kimberly's upcoming arrival. DearMyrtle made a beautiful baby quilt for everyone to help tie.

After the St. George conference in Feb, I received an e-mail from Generation Maps informing me that I had won a gift certificate in their booth drawing. Since I had just gotten engaged, I decided it was the perfect chance to illustrate the ancestry that Steven and I brought together. Since it took me a while, and several ideas, to finally come up with the exact thing I wanted, I know I had to have pushed the patience of the Chart Chick herself, Janet Horvaka, but she never let it show. She was wonderful to work with! When they were finally put together, and ready to ship, it was discovered that she lived just around the corner from my parents, and in-laws. Who knew? We displayed the charts at the wedding party, and they seemed to be the main attraction. Janet and I hooked up on Facebook, but other than the electronic communication, we were yet to meet face to face. That changed at Mesa. I always love it when you live that close to someone and have to travel hundreds of miles to actually meet with them!

Speaking of meeting up with Facebook friends...I also met up with Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems. But the best meet-up of all was outside of the conference, when my 'old' friend Tammakins and I hooked up for the first time in over 10 years. AND she brought along a mutual friend, Cori, whom I hadn't seen since Jr. High. I got to meet their special someones and relish in old memories, as well as make some new ones. And no trip to the Mesa/Phoenix area would be complete without some Sheri time. She went out of her way to transport JP and I to and from the airport so she and I could get some time together. We also went out to dinner together. I discovered Bajio's. I'm not a big fan of Mexican food but it was really good. I especially liked the sweet rice. Good Stuff.

Back to the conference! There are always so many wonderful classes its hard to decide which one to attend each hour. Seeing what's new in the software arena is always good. Of course everyone is trying to integrate with NewFamilySearch. It was great to see the strides that are being made. The only problem was, I kept forgetting where I was, and found myself applauding in ASL, much to the confusion and I believe, even concern, of those around me. ;)

Barry Ewell offered some great insights as he showed us what we could learn by following the example of Sherlock Holmes. The people of are always gracious and helpful, and despite technical difficulties, Kathy Meade gave a great presentation on Swedish online research. I don't spend nearly enough time on my Swedish ancestors. I need to change that, soon, hopefully. But first I need to focus on my Scottish lines a bit longer, they seem to be the ones haunting me lately.

I could go on and on, but I'll save it and just put in a plug for the syllabus, found at :)

I could spend my whole 'allowance' at the conferences, if I had any 'allowance' ;) There were plenty of new faces this time, and some old favorites. I always love The Genealogy Shelf, but their on-line store isn't nearly as fun as browsing in person at the conferences. I seemed to hang out a lot at The Family History Store, they had some beautiful "do-it-yourself" charts, and while I'm not a big scrapbooker, I couldn't help but appreciate their scrapbooking supplies, not to mention their clipart collections. Ancestry has a new book which I had read about in their magazine on the plane down there, interestingly enough, Finding Granddad's War is the story of a man who decided to learn more about his grandfather's experiences in WWII by tracking down his grandfather's old war buddies. Something that is especially dear to my heart right now as my own grandfather's health is so poor and I've begun to realize just how little I know the man who has had so much influence on my life. It's one of many books from the conference that are definitely on my Christmas wishlist. And Rootstams (FHE) had a new shirt that if Grandpa wore t-shirts I would have gotten for him. "Plaid to the Bone" yeah, I know, but I like corny like that.

Two newcomers really caught my eye: Genlighten and A friend of mine and I have talked for a while about doing something just like these sites have done, so I was glad to see they saved us the trouble. Simply put, they are trying to hook up those with research abilities with those who need the help, and vice versa. Check them out.

LDSJournal was also in attendance. They are still in beta, but I know I'm thinking of signing up ;)

But probably the most 'educational' of all had nothing to do with Family History. I noticed one of vendors had an interesting device attached behind her ear. It was very similar to a cochlear but it was square instead of round, and it lacked the cord of a cochlear. So finally, as she was closing up shop, I decided to be intrusive and inquire about it. Her name was Kathryn (Rhinehart) Bassett, and I learned the device was a BAHA, or a Bone Anchored Hearing Application. She was kind enough to give her card, complete with website, where I could find out more. I can't explain my fascination with such things. But even though I've never majored in ASL, deaf culture, or communicative disorders, you would be surprised how many of my school papers I've been able to on cochlear implants. (always starting from scratch, never using the same research, or in other words, not 'recycling' previous papers.) Now I have a new topic ;).

The cochlear attaches via a magnet, whereas the BAHA "snaps" on. Cochlears work by artificially stimulating the auditory nerves. I'm yet to actually make sense of most the information I've found on-line for the BAHA (medicalese--yeesh! I'll pull out a medical dictionary soon ;) ) but from what Mrs. Bassett was telling me, the BAHA works when there are no nerves to stimulate.

As for my presentation...let's just say I was extremely frustrated with myself. I'd planned for every possible thing that could go wrong...almost everything. Most of my back-up plans revolved around receiving some packages I had sent to myself c/o of the hotel, all of which contained discs of PRF. I knew before I left that I should have grabbed a couple more to take with me on the plane, but I put my trust in the postal system. Wasn't that a stupid thing to do! The packages never arrived. It all worked out alright. My class was the last hour of the conference, many were heading out already. My class was small, which made it much easier to cover the areas the attendees were interested in, which was especially good since most the attendees were experienced with PRF. Unfortunately, all I had were the screen shots in my presentation so I couldn't deviate as far as I would have liked for them, but we live and learn.

I was actually amazed at how many people asked me about the software outside of the class. So lesson 2 from the conference: Don't share so much outside out of class ;)

Nah, I would never turn down an opportunity to share information.

In other notes from the trip: I decided to get some fresh air (and an extra dose of the aforementioned vitamin D) during lunch the first day. I absolutely fell in love with downtown Mesa. I realize that not all Mesa has been fixed up quite that well, but walking through downtown, down Main Street, it was just heaven. The wide streets were so incredibly clean, and all the boutiques along the way, with the old fashioned, small-town feel. Fantastic!

The trip: I flew. First time on Delta. Going down it was a good flight. I'm used to going SouthWest so the tvs were cool, though I couldn't see them. But it wasn't that much better. Especially when I asked for Apple Juice and they didn't have any! How lame is that? Oh, but its okay, they offered me Bloody Mary Mix instead. Now if I ask for apple juice, sweet, innocent, 'clear liquid' almost bland apple juice, in what world would I want spiced up, acidic, thick, tomato juice? And then the one attendant got all sarcastic with this kid because she asked him what they called male stewardesses. And they haven't called them 'stewardesses' for 30 years...and blah blah blah.

But hey, in the row behind me were two working dogs (and their masters of course). A couple of high country search dogs. So that was cool. But really people, when you meet a working dog, even though they have to be good around people and are friendly, ask their handlers for permission before approaching! While they weren't officially 'working' on the flight obviously, I can't count the times I heard their handler give them a command such as sit/stay and immediately thereafter someone decided they needed to call the dog over to pet it, tempting it to ignore their handler's command. They are highly trained, but they have limits...their ability to obey commands can at times, save their life, or the life of the handler.

Coming back, the flight was on a Delta affiliate. I believe they are called "puddle-jumpers" that too was a new experience. The flight was pretty much the same, but definitely less 'personal-space' and when I got off the plane, it took me a good 5 minutes before I started recognizing anything as being the same airport I'm used to flying in and out of ;)

But the important thing was, it got me home. I've always enjoyed traveling, but I must say, as much fun as I had in Mesa and as wonderful as everything was down there, I don't think I have ever been so homesick in my life. Unless of course it was the weekend before, when Steven went to Washington and I was left behind. Now I know what all those sappy romantics are saying when they say that their home is wherever their loved one is. So now the idea is to take him with me ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I walked through a county courthouse square
On a park bench, an old man was sittin there.
I said, "Your court house is kinda run down,
He said, "No, it will do for our little town".

I said "your old flag pole kinda leaned a little bit,
And that’s a ragged old flag you got hanging on it".
He said "have a seat", so I sat down,
He said, "is this your first time you been to our little town"
I said, "I think it is"
He said "I don’t like to brag, but we’re kinda proud of
"That Ragged Old Flag"

"You see, we got a little hole in that flag there,
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
It got powder burned the night Francis Scott Key sat watching it,
writing "Oh Say Can You See"

It got a bad rip in New Orleans, with Packingham & Jackson tugging at its seams.
It almost fell at the Alamo beside the Texas flag,
But she waved on tho.
It got cut with a sword in Chancellorsville,
Got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee and Beauregard and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on
"That Ragged Old Flag"

On Flanders Field in World War I,
She took a big hole from a Bertha Gun,
She turned blood red in World War II
She hung limp and low a time or two.
She was in Korea, Vietnam, She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam.

She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,
And now they've about quit waving her back here at home.
And here in her own good land,
She’s been abused, burned, dishonored, denied and refused,
And the very government for which she stands
Has been scandalized throughout out the land.
And she’s getting thread bare, and she’s wearing thin,
But she’s in pretty good shape, for the shape she’s in.
Cause she’s been through the fire before
and I know, she can take a whole lot more.

So we raise her up every morning
And we bring her down every night,
We don’t let her touch the ground,
And we fold her up right.
On second thought
I do like to brag
Cause I’m mighty proud of
"That Ragged Old Flag"
--John R. Cash,

The first time I heard this poem, I was sitting in a Sacrament Meeting, in July if memory serves me correctly. I couldn't have been older than about 10. But even then, it filled me with a sense of pride, and I absolutely fell in love with it.

So today I dedicate it to the Veterans past and present who have lived and died to protect our Grand Old Flag and all it represents.

And I send a special salute to my Grandfathers. To Grandpa George H. Taylor, 1918-1988, whose homeland injury prevented him from serving abroad for the land he loved, and filled him with regret all his days, but who instilled in his children and grandchildren the love and respect for this great Nation. And to Grandpa R. Doyle Shields, 1924-, who risked it all and saw the horrors of war from the front lines during the Battle of the Bulge, among other battles.

Thank you for your service.


I head out for the Mesa Family History Expo in roughly 48 hours!!!! And just in the nick of time, The podcast is up! My interview with the infamous Dear Myrtle. (ok, infamous in the genealogy world for all you non-genealogy people).

I got the link for it this morning. I've been so anxious for it to be released, but now I find myself too nervous to listen to myself. Check it out ya'all.

You'll want to click on the little graphic that says "pod" in the upper left of the title. NOT the little radio dial looking thing on the right. That one plays the "current" pod. The one on the left will play my pod.

Oh yeah, and while you're there, you might want to check out some of the other podcasts too. They're even better cause they don't have me in them ;)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I got an e-mail today that inadvertently got me thinking. (Heaven forbid!)

UVU's deaf retreat is coming up next month. Unfortunately I have a scheduling conflict and won't be attending.

What caught my attention, oddly enough, was the price break-down. Since it is sponsored by the college...excuse me, University...I was not surprised to see a different price for students vs. non-students. What I thought was interesting was the the third price group for "deaf community" members. Makes sense...good marketing strategy to draw in people with "more experience" thus giving benefit to those without as much experience. But the terminology "deaf community" made me wonder where they draw the lines to define "community."

Depending on who you talk, the reference to "deaf community" can be very broad, or very narrow. It may or may not include every deaf or hard or hearing person, it may or may not include family members of those who are deaf or hard of hearing, it may or may not include interpreters or even friends that take an interest in ASL and deaf culture and become an active participant in events, gatherings etc.

Since everyone has a different definition of "community" how do you draw the lines?

I started thinking about it in a much broader sense as well, thinking of other communities. How do you know when you've really become a part of it? And once a part, is there a time you leave?

I've been interested in genealogy since I was 10 years old. But I definitely wasn't part of the "community" back then. In fact I've worked for the Family History Department for 9 years now and feel like I'm still just barely breaking in, maybe not even that far kind of touching the outskirts of it, almost making my way in.

On the other hand, other than a couple of brief stints, I haven't lived in the city boundaries of Pleasant Grove for 16 years, yet PG is still 'home' to me. Granted I have spent several more years since then, living in Cedar Hills which might as well be a part of the PG "community" but still...for argument's sake, I don't go to town events anymore, I don't think I've been to a high school football game since I graduated, I have no active part in the community, but it still calls to me, and all it takes is to hit those streets again and I feel a part of that community again. I would love to move my family down there, to get involved in organizations there, such as Kiwanis, and DUP, maybe even run for City Council one day. I can't see myself doing that up here except of course DUP. But in PG I can see myself getting into costume to participate in Heritage Days or something, giving tours at the schoolhouse. I just couldn't get that involved up here I don't think. And its largely due to the community aspect. It's too big up here, I don't feel the 'community' vibe. There's a lot to be said for the city, a lot of advantages to being here, but its missing that feeling. I'm sure there are others who find it here, mostly in neighborhood groups, but it hasn't come for me yet.

But the point is, since community is that feeling, how do you decide if someone else is really a part of the community or not? Or even if you really are?

Some people accepted me as a part of the deaf community when Steven and I started dating seriously, others didn't accept me in until we had married, and I have no doubt there are still many who would say I'm not because I'm still not skilled enough, or that I'm not and never will be since I'm not deaf. But what about those deaf/hard of hearing indivduals who want nothing to do with the deaf community? Obviously they probably aren't going to be going on an ASL retreat, but nonetheless... And if I am a member because I'm family, what about the other family members that barely sign, if they sign at all, and who know nothing about deaf culture, especially those that have little to do with their deaf/hh family member, let alone the community? Are they still a part for definition's sake? And the same could be said of many communities.

In the genealogy community, there are some spouses who are very supportive and whose face may be seen at 'community events' to the point that they're recognized by members of the community. Are they then a member by association, even if they have no interest in genealogy per se?

What binds us together in these communities? Is it the common thing we share; the home within certain boundaries; the love of something, like genealogy or our favorite sports bar; or a common trait, such as deafness, or being of a certain decent? Is it the understanding that we gain either by sharing that, or by being associated enough with those that do? Is it knowing everyone within a certain group? Where are those lines? Can you define those lines? Does it matter?

Obviously for this case it does. I may have to e-mail the contacts for the retreat and find out what the definition is, or if they even know. Are interpreters part of the community? Is there a difference between the interpreter who even attends the deaf wards and becomes a part of the community, versus the one for whom its 'just a job' ? What about the spouses of those interperters? They barely sign but since they attend the ward each week, they are much more invovled than others more skilled in the language? Well at least in some ways.

Even if we can't draw the lines, I'm feeling benefits just from thinking about the different communities I'm a part of. What communities are you a member of?

Friday, October 17, 2008


I've just been tagged "it" and I didn't even know I was playing!

Oh sure, I could walk away and just ignore the fact that I was ever tagged. Especially convenient because it would seem as though anyone I would have the remote possibility of tagging has already been tagged, done their tagging, and are sitting safely back at home base (reminding me of childhood nightmares where this scene is immediately followed by incessant mocking as I lose the game).

But alas, my tagger is none other than the one, the only, the marvelous and magnificent Holly Hansen of Family History fame (formerly My Ancestor's Found). I must humbly bow in the midst of her greatness ;) Therefore I can not simply ignore this request, and I now present to you the information requested in the tag.

10 Years Ago I …

1. Had a million dreams (or close to it)
2. But knew not the joy of my children
3. Was still invincible
4. Learned those guardian angels watching over me, were my relatives
5. Had more time for my passions

Five Things on Today’s To-Do List

1. Interview with the illustrious DearMyrtle (check)
2. Pay Bills (check)
3. Do my homework (half-check)
4. Dig out my vaporizer (blasted cold!)
5. Search for ancestors. (never ending!)

Five snacks I enjoy
1. Brownies
2. Barely Buttered Popcorn
3. Chocolate
4. Ice Cream
5. Tapioca pudding

Five Places I’ve Lived
1. Pleasant Grove, Utah (/Cedar Hills)
2. Cedar City, Utah
3. St. George, Utah
4. Salt Lake City, Utah (/Sandy)
5. Provo, Utah

Five Jobs I’ve Had
1. Specialist, Digital Books
2. Indexing Specialist
3. Tech-Support
4. Auto-Parts
5. Mom!

Five Blogs I Tag
1. Renee Zamora at Renee's Genealogy Blog
2. David Samuelson and the Utah Deaf Genealogical Association
3. Utah Valley Paf Users Group
4. Ok, seriously, this game has gotten out of control so I'll do my part by not sending it to the full 5 people.
5. bwaa hahahaha (oh wait! no one was supposed to hear that evil and rebellious cackle.)

Ya'all can see my list of blogs I watch on this page, or I've recently hopped on the facebook blognetwork as well.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Found another cousin!

So check out this twist of fate and series of events.

So I’ve been anxiously waiting for the chance to get on new familysearch, right? Every time we get messages about testing it etc. It won’t let me on, so I’ve pretty much given up thinking I’ll just have to wait until the rest of Utah comes on, right? We must only have access to the tests and I just keep missing the limited period of time or something, right?

So we had these business meetings last week, department wide, and they kept talking about us getting on to familytree (which requires a newfamilysearch log-in) and onto nfs, and encouraged us to get on if we haven’t. So I’m motivated to try and find someone who can help me get on. Success, but I have to wait 24-48 hours…this was Friday.

So it waits until Monday.

So, I interpreted at the missionary devotional Monday morning, right?

On my way out, I ran into a couple who used to serve with me, and have now returned for a second mission. Elder and Sister Jarvis. Between missions, they moved to Cedar City. We chatted for a while, good couple, absolutely adore them.

I get back to my desk and log-in to nfs for the first time. And I discover that many ‘contributions’ to my family line have been done so by this guy with the last name of Jarvis. Interestingly enough…its mostly on my Cedar City lines.

Had I not just seen them, I wouldn’t have even thought about this couple or at least not made the Cedar City connection. And again, I knew they were not originally from Cedar City, but I still couldn’t help but wonder, you know? But the possibility was so slim, I didn’t figure it was worth going out of my way to ask them about it, and I see them so rarely that I figured by the time I would see them again, I would have forgotten all about it.

So I had this meeting scheduled with this guy today. His office shared a wall with theirs.

He wasn’t there. But I didn’t want to just run off, in case he came just a few minutes late, right, so to kill time I ran over to chit-chat with them. And low and behold, she actually brought up something that sparked me to tell them about what had happened Monday.

Of course she got a big kick out of it. And said she’d have to pull up that history and see if they could find any connection. And then said it’s the strangest thing because this other guy that I worked with for years had just realized that they were “from” Cedar City and had been explaining that he has a lot of family down there, including one of my family names. Of course the name is Jones, so what are the chances?

But I go over to chat with him about it anyway, since his office wasn’t far away either and right next to someone else I needed to talk to.

“Sister Jarvis tells me, you have family in Cedar City.”
“Yeah, my Dad’s down there” me thinking: oh, too recent, probably not, then him again “My family were some of the earliest settlers down there”
“Mine too.” (I’m trying hard to suppress a grin at this point.)
Yadda yadda, words of amazement…
Then the name exchange starts. Surnames only of course, till I do hit “jones”

“yeah, I definitely have a few ‘Jones’ in my family. John Lee?” I about lost it at this point but he continued “John…” finally I couldn’t help it

“Hey Cuz!”

Yeah, he actually has a couple of books on our ancestors and knows all these other people, even some big shots, that we’re related to, and all. Major find. And way cool!

We actually come through different wives. My ancestor was the oldest from the first wife, his ancestor was the youngest from the second wife. There's something like 23 kids all together. So while my co-worker is much closer to my age, he's actually in the same 'generation' as my grandma. They would be 1/2 second cousins...right? So then if I have this figured out right, he and I would be 1/2 second cousins twice removed....or something like that. Gotta love it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stuck on the same thread

So we're sitting in this business meeting today and one of the manager's from the department told of an experiment some of the FamilySearch engineers did. They took everyone on the one floor...about 100 or so people, and decided to find out if anyone was related. Within 10 or 11 generations, all but 3 people were related to at least one other person on the floor.

So look around, who are you related to?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Further proof

Dick Eastman, a prominant face in genealogy, due to the fame of the genealogy newsletter he e-publishes, had an article today giving an interesting "factoid" (see the whole story). According to this story its estimated that everyone has 4 trillion 20th cousins. And since that's more than the amount of people who have ever lived, we are thereby related to everyone!

Now 20th cousins would actually mean you'd have to go back 22 generations to find the common ancestor. Many people consider a generation to be about 30 years, which would put the common ancestor living mid 1300's. I'd probably put the generation closer to 20 years, which would still put the ancestor back to mid 1500's. Which seems a whole lot closer than the other ancestors we all know we have in common...such as Adam...or Noah.

Not that long ago, I had a co-worker who had recently immigrated over from Africa. Now I haven't taken a look at his family history, but I have a hard time believing that my ancestors, who were all in Europe during the above estimated time periods, are related to his which I would guess are from Africa. Yes, I know that England had their big hurrah over there, so there is a chance, but still...

I would say its much more likely that in that so called 4 trillion 20th cousins, we would find the same people being repeated a few times over. While I have no doubt that we are all related, I do find it a stretch to think that if by some series of miracles, I was able to follow all of my lines back 22 generations, and that everyone else did the same, that I would be able to find the relation with every single person I met.

I am starting to believe my history professor though when he compared the state of Utah during pioneer-polygamious time, to that small town I mentioned, where everyone was either related by blood, by marriage, or might as well have been. So I am now considering an experiment of sorts, where I see if we can take any two people with "Utah" pioneer ancestory (could be expanded to the territory of 'Deseret' possibly) and see if we can prove the relationship 'within 6 degrees'.

What do you think?

Friday, September 5, 2008

6 Degrees of Separation

Growing up, one of the things that always fascinated me about genealogy was pouring over my family group sheets and seeing surnames appear that matched the surnames of my friends, or favorite teachers etc. and thinking of the possibility that my friend (or whoever) and I might be related! We all know that friends are the family we pick for ourselves, but then to find out that a friend was really family!!! It didn't matter that the name only showed up on one sheet, as a spouse to some distantly related aunt or uncle, that possibilty was there.

But of course, it never quite panned out that way. Not that there were that many other 10 year olds looking at their family's genealogy books so we could compare notes and see for sure, but nonetheless I would usually find out enough to lose even the remote hope that we were related, even via marriage. (of course the exception to this rule would occassionally show itself in the form of someone I would have rather NOT been related to, but you know...)

So as I got older, I stopped even looking. (which resulted in a few surprise "hey, I am related to that schoolmate, who would have thunk it?) So as I sat in a Genealogy-DNA lecture several years ago, when such technology was just making itself known, I was very skeptical when lecturer announced that in any given room, some extrememly high percentage of people were related, within x number of generations, and that at least I don't know, something like 1 in 5 people are related within just a few generations.

Recent events are starting to make me wonder though...

Submit evidence 1: Through various conversations, it has been discovered that while my parent's neighborhood is relatively new, there are many people in it who are all related to a settler of a nearby town, thus they are all related. (This includes my family)

Submit evidence 2: It was also discoverd that my family is realted to yet another of the neighborhood families through yet another relative.

Submit evidence 3: While in Washington, we stayed in this 'quaint little town' where it would seem "nearly everyone is either related by blood, or by marriage, or they might as well be". (I LOVE towns like that!) And due to the unfortunate passing of one of the town's senior members just before our arrival, we were witness to a great homecoming of sorts. During this homecoming, a man from North Dakota (we'll call him ND), was mentioning to my fil that he (ND) was a cousin to my fil's neighbor (mentioning the neighbor by name).

Keep in mind that my fil also lives in my parents' neighborhood. So it took me a few minutes to get my wits about it and remember that the neighbor he mentioned was one of the aforementioned families, related to me. Further discussion proved that his tie in to the neighbor, was in-deed a slightly more recent descendant of my tie-in to that neighbor. I too was a cousin to the man from North Dakota. Somewhere in the vicinity of fourth cousins. (to simplify it a bit).

Evidence 4:In contemplating the above fact, I began wondering more about just who I was related to, and was seriously considering turning my attention more from ancestral research to that that of descendancy research. And in the course of my wonderings, for some reason, it FINALLY hit me that my best friend that's stuck by me since 7th grade, and her family had lived in a 100+ year old farm house, part of her grandfather's ranchette, righ there in the town which was founded by this relative that ties me in to all those many people. What are the chances????

So, more research was done. Her family hadn't settled the area, but rather a line of them had settled a community two towns over. A line which shares a surname with my aunt's aunt and uncle, from that same small town...coincidence? Only more research will tell.

While not a direct blood relation, the world in deeds seems to shrink a bit.

Evidence 5:This comes from another visit with my in-laws. My hubby's stepmom was asking me where in the world she would find records for this tiny town in the middle of nowhere in Utah. I replied "You might be surprised I just found a wealth of records for my family from the neighboring...even tinier... settlement...

We tossed out surnames and found one in common. She pulled out the book and as we flipped through the pages, there, listed as a spouse to one of her relatives, was a name, unfamiliar to me, and yet strangely familiar. While it wasn't one that I recognized as a direct ancestor, there was little doubt he was related. Not only was the surname the same as my family's from that area, but his middle name matched the much more unusal maiden name of one of my grandmothers. (one that married my grandfather of that surname).

While this too was a relation by marriage (Her gg aunt married my gg uncle) The research into this connection provided me with yet another connection. Small towns, gotta love them! So the gg uncle in question, had married his cousin's wife's sister. Turns out the cousin and the sister are the direct ancestors of my hubby's stepmom. And of course the cousin was also the cousin of my direct ancestor, meaning that she (stepmom) and I are also cousins. :D Yeah!!!