Someone (not me) figured out in twenty-two generations you would have had 2,097,152 grandparents in your line. Not even going to bother to count the collateral kin at an average of three-per children per family or those that we are "sort of" related to, the latter being related by the ancestors of marriage partners. Makes my database of nineteen thousand kin a mere pittance.
With the Kin number being huge, what's the odds you are related to the person next to you, or across the bridge table. Not great, you say. Well, maybe you might be.
I belong to a table of bridge players that meets weekly at a local church. We've been playing for nearly a year before I realized that one of the players has a last name of Rees. For some reason a light bulb went off and I asked whether or not his Rees kin were Quakers.
Nope. Texans to the core. Tennesseans before that. Family believed to have originated back in Wales.
Wales was common ground.
Tracing whether we still might be cousins, my bridge comrade supplied four generations of Rees ancestors. His second great grandfather, John Bartlett Rees, married Henrietta Lowrance. Ah, a second light bulb blazed brightly. I had Lowrances in my database.
I had thought my Rees ancestors were all related to my Ellis line of Wales Quakers. But the coincidence of names still bothered me, so I looked them up again in my database. Lo, I had collateral Lowrance ancestors from my Sherrill ancestors (not Quakers). Four of the children of William A. Sherrill, my sixth great grandfather, married Lowrances. These Lowrances had kin tied to Daniel Lowrance, Henrietta's father. I was beginning to feel "cousinly" to Henrietta.
But the connections got stranger than that when I traced Henrietta back through her kin.
To make the story of this search much shorter, through the Sherrills, I am additionally (sort of) related to the Great Grandfather of Henrietta Lowance's brother's wife. Goes like this:
Henrietta's father was Daniel Lowrance.
His son and her brother Peter Lowrance married Elizabeth Bridges
Elizabeth's father, John Bridges, married Margaret Perkins
Margaret Perkins' father Elijah Perkins married Margaret Sherrill
Margaret Sherrill was the daughter of William Sherrill (the famed Conestoga Fur Trader)
William Sherrill was the father of William A. Sherrill my sixth G Grandfather**
Ain't genealogy interesting? You may never know, but maybe the woman who's unloading her shopping cart ahead of you at the grocery story is your cousin. You might find truth is stranger than fiction.
**William A. and Agnes White Sherrill were the parents of Sarah Sherrill Simpson in my historical novel "Dear Mama, Love Sarah."