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July 28, 2017

Are You Your Own Grandpa or Grandma?

Today I had an interesting genealogy find son's 5th great-grandfather's sister Sarah Stead was a witness at my son's wife 's 4th great-grandmother's marriage in 1817 in Ramsgate, Kent, England.

Since my daughter-in-law's 4th great grandma was a Fuller born in Ramsgate and we descend from a line of Fuller in Ramsgate back to the 1700s, it would not surprise me if eventually I find that my son and his wife are "cousins"

Believe it or not, this is not unusual. I use FTM for my preferred Genealogy program. One day out of sheer boredom I ran a kinship report and was shocked to learn that my father was also my cousin.

To be exact, my father is listed as my father AND as

my 8th cousin once removed
my 9th cousin once removed
my 11th cousin once removed
my 10th cousin twice removed
the husband of my 5th cousin once removed


I was stunned. And confused. I knew what once removed meant - that we were a generation apart. Okay so far. Being 8th cousins meant we shared a common 7th great-grandparent. Being 9th cousins meant we shared a common 8th great-grandparent, and so on.

"husband of my 5th cousin once removed"? Well that meant my mother was my 5th cousin once removed and that she and I shared a common 4th great grandparent.

It wasn't making sense to me, as of course my parents and I share common ancestors! But how did we get to be cousins as well as father-daughter? This sent me off to have a good look at how my relationship to my father became a cousin relationship too.

It's a bit confusing but here is how it happened beginning with my father's 3rd great grandparents, Cornelius Vollick and Eve Larroway who married in 1795.

Cornelius and Eve shared two sets of common 2nd great grandparents. That is, Cornelius' great great grandparents were Jochem & Eva (Vrooman) Van Valkenburg. So were Eve's. Cornelius' other set of great great grandparents were Pierre & Cornelia (Damen) Uzielle. So were Eve's.

Two of Jochem & Eva's grandchildren (through their son Isaac and daughter Jannetje) married two grandchildren of Pierre Uziele and Cornelia Damen.

The Van Valkenburg grandchildren were Isaac Van Valkenburg (who married Maria Bradt the daughter of Storm Bradt and Sophia Uziele) and Marytje Van Alstyne who married Petrus LeRoy the son of Maria Uziele (who was Sophia's sister!) and Leonard Le Roy.

Here's a chart which might show the relationships in a less confusing way

I'll go into my mother's line and that tangled web of cousinship on another day.

The confusing relationships reminded me of I'm My Own Grandpaw a song written about a man who, through a combination of marriages, becomes stepfather to his own stepmother — that is, he becomes his own grandfather. Am I my own Grandma? My grandchildren love hearing how they are my cousins as well as my grandchildren....


Wendy Callahan said...

I have a similar "issue." My mother is also my 9th and 10th cousin, along with 10th cousin once removed (twice), and probably other relationships if I wanted to set my Legacy software back more generations.

My father is also my 8th and 9th cousin twice removed, my 10th cousin once removed, my 10th cousin twice removed (twice), and my half 10th cousin twice removed (twice).

My parents are cousins several times over. My 4 grandparents were also all distant cousins to each other... Well, at least it makes my New England family tree easy to put together! :)

Colleen G. Brown Pasquale said...

Wow. That must have you going in circles. Confusing but interesting.

Thomas Davis said...

You can marry a distant cousin and not even realize that you both are cousins.

Rita A. said...

This issue fascinates me. My great grandparents were distant cousins once or twice removed. I can't remember it all exactly now. I like the way you sorted it all out.