1. Professional baseball players on both sides of the family -
I've known for several years that my third cousin once removed on my mother's side of the family, Jim Panther, was a baseball player. He spent most of his career in the minors but he did play for a short time in the majors. He was on the roster for the 1973 Braves, the 1972 Rangers and the 1971 Oakland A's.
2. Childhood friends -
When we walked in to my mother's friend's house last month, she introduced me by saying, "This is my youngest son and the genealogist of the family, Matt." Her friend said, "I was just looking through a genealogy book," and pointed it out to me. It was "Groene Family History - Kasper Groene & Adelaide Menke". I said, "If you're a Groene, you're a Menke and you two are cousins." I thought I understood her to say she was a Groene but digging through the book, it ends up she wasn't born a Groene but she married one. This means that she married my mother's third cousin. It's not that surprising that my mother's childhood friend married my mother's third cousin. In my opinion, it would somewhat surprise me if one of her friends didn't marry a distant relation of hers, given the small towns and close-knit communities of southeast Iowa. Still, it's not a connection you would necessarily expect.
3. More Childhood friends -
We grew up with family friends with the last name of Bixenman. My brother still works with one of them. Little did we know that our father's grandmother was a Bixenman. Little did we know that these people we knew all along when we were kids were actually our fourth cousins! The big difference is that we were nowhere near where our any of our ancestors were from. We just all happened to end up in the same small town in Nebraska. Their branch of the family ended up in Grand Island, Nebraska but their family moved to Columbus. Our branch of the family had moved to southeast Iowa but our family ended up moving to Columbus.
4. Belize Lovers -
|Photo by "Taco Girl" - Laurie - http://tacogirl.com|
Looking through the Groene Family History book, I found that my fourth cousin once removed got married in San Pedro, Belize. That's not too surprising. She got married there in 1990, which is before it became the vacation hot-spot that it is today. Personally, I wish I knew about it back then, I know I would have loved it! Regardless, this Groene cousin married a man with the last name of Nunez. I emailed a friend in Belize and asked her about it. She forwarded the email to someone who works at the Ambergris Today newspaper and is also a Nunez. Turns out, this Nunez that married my cousin is the nephew of Ramon.
To me, it seems the magic cousin level is third or fourth cousins. Once you get to fourth cousins, you share one set of great-great-great-great-grandparents. You have 64 great-great-great-great-grandparents. How likely is it that you share one set of ancestors at this level with someone that came from the same area as your family did? I think it's pretty likely. Still, it's neat to find these sorts of connections.