Tenuous relationships (HLD 97)

27 June 2020

I’ve spoken before about the fun I’ve had researching the family tree, and the connections I’ve made via a bit of spit into a test tube. Ancestry DNA testing, that is – just in case you’re worried about what I’ve been getting up to.

An elderly gentleman from Canada made contact with me recently, citing a very distant connection he has discovered to my mother. He is one of Mums fourth cousins – their great great grandparents were siblings, or something like that. On mums side of the family, where three of her natural grandparents are relatively unknown, this is exciting. The connection is through Mums definite, 100% certain, dinky-di, acknowledged and documented, grandmother.

Anyway – it was interesting chatting electronically with Bill, for that is his name. In conversation he pointed out that in his extended family, he has some interesting Australian connections – namely the person who Point Piper in Sydney is named after, and Admiral Sir James Stirling, first governor of Western Australia.

Governor Stirling’s name has been in the media a bit recently due to the Black Lives Matter movement and his connection via the early settlement of the Swan River Colony with some truly horrific treatment of our indigenous people. So linking our name to his is possibly not a flag waving time at the moment. But like a lot of Australians who seem quite proud of their convict ancestor history, I’m setting aside some stuff, and concentrating on the good aspects 🙂 And besides I may be able to declare Stirling Highway as my ancestral home and fight any speeding fines issued there on that basis. It’s worth a try.

Because of course if Bill, with even his loose connection to my family tree, is connected to these people, then it obviously follows that I am too.

So I spent about three days glued to the computer, comparing his family tree with mine, and adding the branches to connect his twigs to ours.

And then I had to get him to guide me through HOW he has this connection to these people

And boy was it a circuitous journey! Linking Bill into the family tree was child’s play compared to the highways and byways of genealogy I had to travel to get this connection. The Stirling Highways, if you will….

It wasn’t a definite link like ‘sharing a great great great grandparent’. This was like ‘person A’s great great grandparents’ great grandchild on a different line then got married to Person B whose great great grandparent had a grandchild whose spouse who had a grandparent whose….’ sort of situation. How he found the connection in the first place I have no idea. Maybe he was housebound due to another pandemic in another century and had a lot of time on his hands.

There’s a couple of points I am going to nag Bill for clarity on, but the majority of the connections are very clear and well documented with good evidence. And considering the number of times that leaping from branch to branch happened, that is quite amazing.

I’m sure you are keen to know my connection to the man who convinced England that the Swan River would be a good spot to plant a British outpost?

I’m sure if my 1st cousin 2x removed of husband of 3rd cousin of husband of 1st cousin 4x removed had his time again, he would have treated our indigenous people better.

I hope.

Now I’m working on that Point Piper bloke. That one might be better to claim on ancestral grounds 🙂

I suspect we’d be amazed at who we are related to, however tenuously, if someone somewhere had the time and interest to shake the family tree branches and see who falls out.

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