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!!!