Consanguinity (My Cousin Tree)


Mr. H. and I went on a trip.

A three day trip.

Once I explain it, I’m sure you will understand why I needed to pack so much.  It’s abundantly clear.   We were heading to a family reunion! Naturally I needed all of these things for our trip.

It’s obvious.


Last year, I “friended” my second cousin, Juli.   We had never met in person, but I knew her Dad and Mom and some of my other cousins from previous trips to my Great Aunt’s farm with my parents and brothers.  Many of my cousins (1st, 2nd, 3rd and a lot “removes”) live in the three county area that my Grandma and Grandpa S. lived in.

They have a family reunion every year and we really wanted to make it down to meet everyone.  Last year it didn’t work out, but this year we were able to get away.

Oh, what fun we had.

Every single one of my cousins is generous and funny and smart and loving.  In fact, Juli, without ever having met us in person, invited us to stay in her lovely home.

Juli is a 4th grade teacher.  Seriously, wouldn’t you want her to be your 4th grade teacher?  In fact, many of my cousins are teachers.  (That’s why it has taken so long to write this particular post.  I have to be very careful with my spelling, grammar and a few dangling participals.)

Because they knew we were interested in family history (and because they are just terrific people) Gary and Carolyn (my 1st cousins, once removed and Juli’s Mom and Dad), carted us around for hours.

Gary knew how to get to every family graveyard every family head stone, pointed out where my Grandma went to school and church and then said, almost as an afterthought, “would you be interested in seeing the farm where your Great Grandma and Grandpa raised their family?”

Would I be interested?

Away we went, around curvy roads and past fields of corn and soybeans and deep, thick woods.  We went down a long, gravel road and there it was.  The farm my Great Grandparents lived in 100 years ago.  The farm my Grandma and Great Aunt and Great Uncles lived in.  How incredible!!!   The person (by the name of Joe – hence the sign) who now owns the farm was nice enough to let us wander around and take pictures, (and by nice enough, I mean that I talked to him so long he decided it was easier to just let us take the pictures so we would finally go away).

It’s just possible that there were changes since our family lived there….100 years ago.

On the other hand, this tree would have provided shade for the family.  I can just imagine the swing they must have hung from the branches.

This book belonged to my Great Uncle.  Can’t you just see one of the “kids” curled up under the tree and reading Tennyson?

Surely this pump was around 100 years ago.  I think I love this pump.  It think I want this pump.  I don’t think Joe will let me have this pump (sigh).

Around the back, down a little hill is a spring that Gary remembered from earlier visits to the old homestead.  We couldn’t see it from where we were.

A mule stood between us and the spring.   The mule won.

As if that weren’t enough, Gary then took us to see some beautiful columns that our Great Grandpa had made.

And a church that he built.

I was in sensory overload.

Did I mention that we also had  …… Fried Biscuits and Apple Butter.

Yes, you heard me right Fried Biscuits!!  Biscuits.  Fried.

With butter (heavenly).

Biscuit.  Fried.  Butter.  Heaven.  (With a side of Apple Butter).

And this was only the first day.

The actual reunion was the next day, so we went on home with Juli and rested up for the big day (if resting up means staying up to talk until midnight).

What a perfect day.  A whole passel of cousins came from all over.  There were 1st cousins, 2nd cousins, cousins in law, 1st cousins once removed … you get the drift.

How did I keep track of our relationship, you ask?

Here’s a handy-dandy formula for figuring out your cousin relationship (otherwise called consanguinity):

The “family relationship” between two individuals a and b, where Ga and Gb respectively are the number of generations between each individual and their nearest common ancestor, can be calculated by the following:

x = min (GaGb)

y = |Ga − Gb|

Too much?
Okay, how about this chart?
 Still too much?  
I agree.  I like my “formula” better.
Gather a gaggle of cousins, hug each one (several times), laugh and talk and hug some more.
My Cousin Tree.  Everyone on this tree is a cousin.  How very lucky we are.That’s Gary on the left and his lovely wife, Carolyn on the right.  Joe and Jeff in the back and Jill and Juli in the front.   Don’t you just want to hug them?  Me too.
Category: Cast of Characters, Memories and Traditions, New Traditions, Old Memories
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(3) Comments and (2) Replies

  1. steve Petersen | September 30, 2011 at 5:48 am | Reply

    Thanks Jill, Interesting. I’ve been dong the family trees (4 Grandparents from Denmark) since
    visit there in ’92, -was in a family home , circa 1800, (now in an outdoor museum, N. Copenhagen), still in contact with folks there, with web site (there) to help keep track of ‘new’ (old) discoveries. I especially appreciate the cousins chart. Best, Steve

    • jill | September 30, 2011 at 8:06 am | Reply

      Wow. Denmark. What an experience for you. I love that you can stay in communication. You just have to love technology. The cousins chart is a great tool, but I found I couldn’t use it much at the reunion, too busy hugging. It sure helped to figure out what rung of the ladder we were when I got home. Take care

  2. Carolyn Smith | September 30, 2011 at 6:55 am | Reply

    We did have an amazing week-end, didn’t we. I can’t believe we went all these years without getting together. Can’t wait until next year. You’ll have to stay longer next time.

    • jill | September 30, 2011 at 8:07 am | Reply

      I agree. We’ll have to stay longer. Still smiling when I think of all the good times. Did Gary ever get to the cheese? Love you all.

  3. Cathy Klug | September 30, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Reply

    I am so excited to see the family tree cousin chart. Well done! It seems very easy to use.
    I can’t wait for the Indiana family reunion next year.
    (Have the same parents)
    Sister (Cathy)

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