Sunday, February 27, 2011

This world is so small

The world gets smaller all the time. I am still in complete shock about the recent discovery my husband and I made last weekend. First, a little background. Sometime during the 1990's I discovered a distant cousin. His name is Mike. Actually, he was the one who found me. Mike was searching the Internet for some information about his ancestor, Benjamin Kingman Curtis. He found a picture of Benjamin in his Civil War uniform that I had submitted to the Michigan Civil War website a couple years prior to Mike's discovery. Luckily my e-mail address was still the same, so finding me was easy. Mike and I are second cousins, one generation removed. Technically speaking, this means that my father and Mike are second cousins.

Mike and I have kept in touch over the years, always sharing our research efforts about Benjamin. During the summer of 2000, we coordinated a special family reunion at the Preston City Cemetery to officially lay a headstone at Benjamin's grave to honor his military service in the Civil War. That meeting was the one and only time I've met Mike in person... until last weekend.

The occasion that prompted our second meeting was our son's wedding reception that was held in Gridley, California, home of the bride. Going from Salt Lake City to Gridley means a long drive across the Nevada desert. We drove instead of flying so we could help bring belongings back to Utah. During our road trip, we would pass right through Reno, which is only minutes away from Mike and also my Mom's brother Gene. My Mom and Dad made the trip with us, so we left a day early and made arrangements to visit with both Gene and Mike the day before going into Gridley.

We had a good visit with Gene and his wife Virginia. Uncle Gene commented that we hadn't seen each other for about 50 years. I don't think it's been that long, but it has been a long time, way too long.

Our visit with Mike was too short. One thing I wanted to accomplish was to get a copy of a picture of his ancestor, Oscar Benjamin Curtis, who was the brother of my ancestor, William Rushmer Curtis. Both men were sons of Benjamin Kingman Curtis. While I was busy making digital copies of some pictures that Mike had, my husband was visiting with Mike and looking at his genealogy on the computer in his office. That's when we discovered how small this world really is. My husband recognized some names he saw on the computer screen - Winthrop Farley and Mary Elizabeth Hastings. I was called in to view the information to see what I thought.

We identified the connection right away, Mike is a direct descendant of Winthrop and Mary [Hastings] Farley, through their son Leroy Farley (1877-1964). My husband is also a direct descendant of Winthrop and Mary, through another son, Lorenzo (1868-1916). My husband and Mike shook hands and said, "I'm glad to meet you cousin!" As it turns out, Mike and my husband are second cousins, once removed (2C 1R) through their Farley line. My relationship to Mike is also 2C 1R through our Curtis line. Every time I think about this discovery of our dual second cousin connection, I can only shake my head in complete amazement. This world is so small. We could easily walk down the street and pass by a distant cousin of ours and not even know it.

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