Friday, September 28, 2012

Everyone is invited...

I began researching my family tree when I was 16; back in 1990. I started my research simply because I was confused. I had these cousin who showed up at family reunions for both my paternal grandmother's family and my paternal grandfather's family. What?

I thought that maybe we're just really friendly and invite all sorts of extended family members or perhaps these cousins are just really, really hungry. My grandma, who I call Nanny, explained to me then that her brother married grandpa's second cousin. So these people who kept showing up, they are my 1st cousins once removed and my 3rd cousins once removed. WHAT?

How can someone be your cousin more than once?
And what is this removed nonsense?
And I get that Uncle Richie is Nanny's brother but how is Aunt Jeannette related to Poppy???
Second, huh?

At 16 years-old existence in and of itself is confusing, I didn't need inbreeding added to the mess. But it wasn't inbreeding at all. This type of intermarriage is actually very common in families. Often it is caused by one introducing their siblings to their in-laws extended family. In this case though, my grandpa (a.k.a. Poppy) didn't know Jeannette before she became engaged to Nanny's brother.

Poppy and Jeannette met at Richie and Jeannette's engagement party. Poppy asked Jeannette what her maiden name was; Losee. With great surprise he announced that Losee was his mother's maiden name. And after some discussion the two pieced together their cousinship. And at 16 I started piecing it together too through documents and family stories.

If you have family connections just like this, don't just accept it at face value, see if you can link it together through documents like birth, death, and marriage certificates. That's how I got hooked!

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