Thursday, May 28, 2009

Where are YOUR cousins?

I'm not talking about your first cousins, whose whereabouts you probably know. I'm talking about those distant cousins, descendants of your great-great (or further back) grandparents in one line or another. They pop up when you least expect it.

Like this:

As an exercise for a class in Canadian genealogy I took as part of my studies with the National Institute of Genealogical Studies/University of Toronto, I placed a query in a Canadian newspaper which had a genealogical column. This one was in Quebec, in the English-speaking enclave known as the Eastern Townships, where I have ancestral ties. Lo and behold, I got an answer, which led me to cousins there. They are descendants of my 4x great-grandfather Richards Packard, and they live on the same land he settled around 1798!

Or this:

As indicated in my "About Me" blurb to the left, I am, at the tender age of 62, a student at the University of North Florida. One day in the fall of 2007, as I sat in Spanish grammar class, we were discussing a phrase that does not literally translate from Spanish to English. Unfortunately, I do not remember the phrase, and I apparently did not make note of it. I had just figured out the English equivalent, a phrase my Appalachian-bred friend taught me, when a deep male voice off to my left said it first: "The apple don't fall far from the tree."

After class, I talked to the fellow, a big burly bear of a young man, probably in his 30s. I said, "You're from the Appalachians." He replied, "Yes, ma'am, I shore am," with a wink. Where was he from? East Tennessee. I asked him if he had any Carter relations -- the line of my friend who taught me that phrase, and who also hails from East Tennessee. He didn't think so, but he'd find out. Learning that his surname is Bowers, I asked my friend if she had any Bowers kin. She didn't think so.

During that time, I had done a little research on my mother's line, the Naves. It did not dawn on me that there might be a connection, for the Naves were also from East Tennessee. About two weeks after that event in class, having found out that young Mr. Bowers had no Carter connections, and my friend had no Bowers kin, I received a copy of a book I had ordered from its author. The book is Teter Nave: East Tennessee Pioneer -- His Ancestors and Descendants, by Robert T. Nave and Margaret W. Houghland. When I traced my mother's line back in the lineages in the book, I was stunned.

I had to go back to class the next session and let the young man know that it was not my friend to whom he was related. It was me. My great-great grandfather's name was John Teter Bowers Nave! Oh, yes, young Bowers told me, they had Naves all over the place in their line, too.

Now, that is an example of small world! So -- where are YOUR cousins?


Thomas MacEntee said...

I can't tell you how many cousins I've been able to meet since I started my blog almost three years ago. Granted I've met most of them "virtually" via comments, posts and emails. But I am also distant cousins with several of the geneabloggers and I will be meeting some of those at the Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree 26 June - 28 June 2009 in Burbank. I can't wait!

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

Have fun! Wish I could go, but I'm fundless in Florida!

Marie Reed said...

What a wonder! It certainly is a small world! This post has me grinning like a Cheshire cat! It's so exciting that you found a cousin like that! Thank you for the facebook add:) I'm new to genea blogging and am having a blast reading and learning about researching. Have a great Sunday!

Jeff Scism said...

East Tennessee throws me. There is a Scism family in Hawkins County that first shows up in 1802 with a marriage of William Scism to Elizabeth Duncan. This line was noted in a 1942 Book by Delos Scism called the Scism and Allied Families. It seems that this family all got copies of the book, and that became the official and ONLY source of family genealogy. That means that william's origins are unknown, and teh records accessability is defined as "scarce". By 1850 there were a larger number of descendants in this family and most moved to Stoddard County Missouri, from McPheeters bend of the Holston river.

There are some Scisms still in Hawkins County, but they only have what is in the book.