Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Three Degrees of Separation

It's Saturday Night, time for more Genealogy Fun!!

The genealogy world was reminded (again) of how time flies, relatively speaking, by the news earlier this year that there are two living grandchildren of President John Tyler (1790-1862).  There  was also the Robert Krulwich blog post about persons knowing people who knew famous people long ago.

For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I want you to:

1)  Using your ancestral lines, how far back in time can you go with three degrees of separation?  That means "you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor, who knew another ancestor."  When was that third ancestor born?

2)  Tell us in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, in a status line on Facebook or a stream post on Google Plus.

Here are several of mine:

1)  My Seaver/Richmond line:   Me (born 1943) - I met my paternal grandmother once in 1959.  My paternal grandmother Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (1882-1962, daughter of Thomas Richmond (1848-1917))  knew her grandfather, Henry Arnold White (1824-1885).  Henry Arnold White probably met his great-grandfather, David Kirby (1740-1832) (Henry's father was Jonathan White (1806-1850), whose mother was Sybil Kirby (1764-1848), whose father was David Kirby (1740-1832).

 2)  My Carringer line:  Me (born 1943) - my maternal great grandfather, Henry Austin Carringer held me when I was a baby.  Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946), son of David Jackson Carringer (1828-1902) and Rebecca Spangler (1832-1901),  and surely met his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth (King) Spangler (1796-1863).  Elizabeth (King) Spangler certainly met her husband's grandmother, Maria Dorothea (Dinkel) Spangler (1748-1835) (Elizabeth's father was John Daniel Spangler (1781-1851), whose parents were Rudolf Spangler (1738-1791) and Maria Dorothea (Dinkel) Spangler (1748-1835).

3)  My Carringer/Smith/Vaux/Underhill line:  Me (born 1943) - my great-grandmother, Della (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944) held me (I don't remember it, of course!).  Della Smith (born in Wisconsin), daughter of Abigail Vaux (1844-1931), granddaughter of Mary Ann (Underhill) Vaux (1815-1880) may have met her great-grandfather, Amos Underhill (1772-1865, died in New York), but I doubt it!   Amos Underhill certainly met his grandparents, John Underhill (1721-1793) and Joanna Healey (1718-1809) (through their son John Underhill (1745-1816)).

So I can connect, with three degrees of separation, back to a woman born in 1718 (but one of the links likely did not "meet" his great-grandchild) - almost 300 years!  For the requirement that they actually met, I can get back to a person born in 1738. 

It strikes me that four degrees of separation might be really interesting!  Another time!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Judy G. Russell, CG said...

Best I can do is 1749, but I can get back to two Revolutionary War soldiers:

I knew
1. My grandfather Clay Cottrell (1898 TX - 1970 VA) who knew his
2. grandmother Louisa Baker Cottrell (1832 NC - 1913 TX) who would have known her
3. grandfather David Baker (1749 VA - 1838 NC), a Revolutionary War soldier.

I was held by
1. My great grandmother Eula (Baird) Robertson (1869 AL - 1954 VA), who knew her
2. Grandmother Margaret (Battles) Shew (c1827 AL - aft 1880 AL?), who would have known her
3. Grandfather William Noel Battles (1757 VA - 1840 AL), another RevWar soldier.

Carol said...

In between packing for a Rally I did two shots at this:

1.) I knew, my grandfather, Hayden Eugene Bowen, 1895 - 1966

2.) Hayden most likely knew his grandfather, Hezekiah Bowen, 1834 - 1908

3.) Hezekiah could have known his own grandfather, Mark Bowen, 1763 - 1836.

For all, the proximity issues work, they lived fairly close.

I was held by:

1.) My greatgrandmother, Lorena Estelle Eley.... Collins, 1866 to 1949

2.) Lorena most likely knew her grandfather, Charles Henry Darden, 1822 - 1877.

3.) Charles Henry Darden, knew his own father, Charles Darden, whose birth date is far from well researched as my notes indicate he was born 1773 or 1788 (groan) and died about 1848 (more groan)

Again, the locales work as they all lived fairly close to each other.

Yvonne Demoskoff said...

I can go back to 1777. My results are on my blog at

Mel said...

This was a tough challenge! I finally went through my research notes and found a death date just so I would have something to write about. LOL

GeneGinny said...

I can only get back to about 1740.
I knew (and idolized) my great-grandmother, Nancy Jane COLLINS (1873-1966), who probably knew her maternal grandfather, Nicholas CAMPBELL (1808-1876), who probably met both of his grandfathers, Ambrose CAMPBELL (1740-1811) and Achilles WRIGHT (1740-1825).

KAM Chapman said...

I put the details on Google+, but in a nutshell... For sure, I reach back to 1796 through Leonora Cannon Taylor and likely also reach back to 1754 with Chester Adams. Good grief those are some lengthy 3 degrees of separation! What a fun Saturday night activity. :) Happy to have joined the fun for the first time.

Unknown said...

Great post Randy! I really enjoyed the challenge, view my results here:

Bob McAllister said...

A great challenge that gives a fascinating perspective on how apparently vast spans of years can be covered in just a few lifetimes. MY chain to 1760 Prussia is at