Friday, February 21, 2014

How Far Do We Go Before We're not Related Anymore?

      A few days ago I sold a car. When Bill came to pick the car up he came in and we had tea. Bill had been looking at my car for four or five years. He would drop buy every few months and want to know if I was selling yet. I got to know him a bit. It happens that he came from a little village near my home village and that we knew many of the same people. Bill is a generation younger than I am so it was fun piecing together who we actually knew. 

      When he came in the other night I got out my local history book to check out a few things. Bill played hockey for my village so we found some hockey teams he had played on. I knew some of his neighbors on the farm. I told him that my Dad's cousin's daughter married Walt Ward. Bill said , "They lived right across from our farm." This really interested Bill. Then he told me that Walt's mother was his(Bill's) grandmother's sister! So Bill said., "That makes us relatives!" Have I lost you yet?

     I thought the relative definition was quite a stretch , but it got me thinking about the definition of relatives. Do we go as far as DNA traces? DNA shows family traces accurately. Do we spend much time researching family history and make huge family trees? Our family tree was completed about 25 years ago by the same "cousin's daughter" the Walt married. 975 people were discovered. I was surprised to find out who I was related to. Are relatives only the people we know and people other family members know? Are relatives only the people our grandparents know and tell us about?

    So I'm really wondering about the definition of relative and how far out in family does it go. I think Bill and I made a big stretch to come up with labeling ourselves relatives.

    What do you think? I know some blogs I follow have an intense interest in family history. Is the sky the limit?