Cousins All Around


Last week I had a very unexpected experience.  I met a cousin that I had never heard of before.  We were in the same place, I heard his last name, then where he was from and had to interrupt to ask if he was related to my GrandAunt Beth‘s husband, Uncle Darwin.  After all, they share the same last name, a last name I’ve only ever heard in my own family, and they are from the same city about 2 hours North of me.

He responded with, “Yes, I am related to Darwin and Beth.”  At first, I was thinking that he was acknowledging his relationship to Beth through marriage.  I was wrong.  As we talked it became clear that he is actually more closely related to Aunt Beth – and to me! – than to Uncle Darwin.  This man and I share the common ancestors of Frederick William Ellis & Susan Kaziah Davis, pictured above.  We are second cousins once removed!

As we talked, I mentioned that I have a few family treasures from Frederick & Susan and invited him to stop by my home the next day to have a look.  He was staying with his daughter who lives in the next town, just minutes from my home.

The very next day, my newly discovered cousin came to my home, so did my Uncle.  We looked at some family treasures, talked about our shared family members, and were in awe of some of the artifacts that have survived all these years.  He especially enjoyed going through the Family Record book kept by Frederick.  He lovingly stroked the pages as he saw the names of his mother, grandparents, and then his own name, and the names of some of his siblings handwritten by his great-grandfather.  It was a beautiful moment.  We had a mini-Ellis family reunion right in my piano room.  It was a wonderful two hours of sharing.

My cousin is in his upper 80s, yet he is a second cousin to my father who is in his mid-60s.  Despite the geographic distance, the age difference, and never having met before – nor even hearing of each other before, we discovered our connection at a very unexpected moment.

And now I can’t help but wonder, how many cousin connections are all around me as I go about my daily life?  How many cousins have I spoken with and not known they were my cousin?  How many treasures do I hold that would mean so much to my unknown loved ones if only I realized who they were, how we connect and invited them to stop by and spend a little time enjoying the treasures of our shared ancestors?

This wonderful cousin is the first one to ever take me up on an offer to stop by to see some family heirlooms.  I hope he won’t be the last.

And now, I fear, I will become that person who obsessively tries to analyze everyone’s tree in my head while I talk to them.  But that’s not a bad thing, right?  😉

Our visit has prompted me to review some treasures that I can’t wait any longer to share.  My next several posts will focus on this part of my tree.  I’ve already begun scanning.  Are you excited?!  I am.  ❤


ps – This means the several posts I have been working on for weeks are being pushed back again.  Do you ever find yourself experiencing genealogy ADHD?  That’s what I feel like this week.  So much to share – so little time!  Can’t focus or finish because of the wonderful interruptions.  And I suddenly feel even more sorry for my child with ADHD.  I feel it with genealogy, he feels it all the time.


Author: thegenealogygirl

I'm a girl who loves genealogy. Let me tell you about it.

23 thoughts on “Cousins All Around

  1. This is just wild! You ran into this man, and he just happened to be your cousin!?? How does such a thing happen? Were you in a genealogy place? Or just standing in line in the supermarket? WOW!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a wonderful experience for both of you. It has been the most rewarding part of blogging when cousins say, “I had never seen a photo of such and such before.” Makes it all worthwhile. And yes, I too suffer from genealogy ADHD. So many stories! So little time!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Isn’t it fun when cousins appear in a seemingly random way? I often think that the ancestors are up there guiding us along the family path.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Genealogy ADHD — that is brilliant, and I definitely have it.
    I’m curious to know where you met your cousin too!!
    T and I have been travelling round his family’s home area and got excited to learn that a possible cousin usually has a stall at a local farmers’ market. We did a bit of research so we could ask him the right questions to establish the link — and then he didn’t show ☹️
    Instead we spent a morning photographing headstones, and now i’m Inspired to pick up T’s family story at the expense of mine for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! It definitely describes how I feel. Glad I’m not the only one. 😉

      Bummer on the cousin not showing!! I love photographing headstones, did you get some cool shots?

      Here is what I responded to Amy asking the same question about where we met:

      I know, right?! Especially with such a large age gap between the two of us, since I am such a hermit ;), I mostly know/see people at events for my children, at genealogy events/libraries, or at church – he doesn’t live by me and definitely doesn’t have children the ages of my children, so the odds of us meeting were pretty low. I ran into this cousin in the Temple and just happened to hear his last name. I’m glad I had the opportunity to ask if we are connected. It’s such a quiet place that often there isn’t really a time to talk. ❤

      And if you are interested, here are interior photos of the Temple we were in when we crossed paths –


  5. I very much enjoyed your post & wondered when we might meet in similar circumstances. Since my Mom & your grandfather, Rulon Peterson, were 1st cousins..descendants of Joseph Allen Taylor & Mary Lake. I may be wrong about your generations, but I think I am a 2nd cousin to your father. I haven’t read your history for a long time so what I recall may be wrong. I am 73 & the youngest of the youngest daughter of Mary Jane Taylor Owen. If I am wrong my next pick would be that your dad is my second cousin, once removed. I live in Pleasant View, Utah where my great grandmother, Mary Lake, was the 1st white child born in 1851 to William Bailey Lake & Sarah Jane Marler Lake Taylor. Of course it was North Ogden when she was born.You may be familiar with their story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Nancy! That would be wonderful. Rulon is my great-grandfather. I am doing a major deep-cleaning/reorganizing of my office to make better room for all of the family history treasures, when I’m done, you should definitely come see me and look at the treasures I have for this part of tree. ❤


  6. I forgot to mention I have things like this happen often. What is the craziest is when it occurs with friends that I have know for years. I have a long time friend who mentioned her 10th great-grandfather, Tristram Coffin, as we had lunch on day in Sacramento, California. I broke out in goosebumps & could barely eat as I told her that he was my grandfather, too. He & many other famous American settlers (the Starbucks) were the 1st settlers of Nantucket Island.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very cool “chance” meeting! I need to take the time to connect more with my kin!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was in a book club with a girl for two years or so before we realized that we were related. One day she started talking about a weird cousin of hers that sounded really familiar. The more she described this strange relation, the more it sounded like my particularly strange cousin.

    Finally I asked her, “Is her name Tez?”

    “Yes!” she replied in surprise.

    “Does she have bumps all over?” I asked.

    “How could you know that?” she asked in shock.

    I told her, “She’s my cousin, too!” It was such a surprise to everyone in the group. She actually had a family tree drawing on her wall and at the base of the tree was the name of our common great grandparents. I had seen it many times but didn’t look at it closely. Come to find out we were second cousins.

    If you are interested in learning more about our weird cousin, you can read my blog about it at And be sure to read all of the comments by my cousins!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Friday's Family History Finds | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

  10. Pingback: I ran into a weird FamilySearch glitch… | thegenealogygirl

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