I thought for a bit of fun I might expand a bit on my previous post where I said I’d been distracted by my family history research of late. Don’t worry, I’m not going to regale you with a dull list of names and dates, but I do like to look at the “fun” side of this hobby once in a while.
Have you heard about the Six Degrees of Separation? The notion that everyone is connected within six steps of each other, not biologically, but the friend of a friend’s brothers wife kind of thing. There was even some college level research done a while ago that resulted in a kind of game about The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, which was about linking as many Hollywood types with the actor. You can read about the whole Six Degrees thing and how it came about here. And just to stay true to my knitting roots, Rachel Coopey even has a pattern set called The Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon! Why seven, I don’t know, but there are also 12 patterns too.
I have my family tree online at WikiTree. I like the idea of OpenSource, I like the idea of collaboration rather than everyone adding a personal tree, after all, we’re all related and looking for our cousins, and I love the idea of using proper sources instead of something your Gt Auntie Dot might or might not have remembered. Anyway, WikiTree has this thing called 100 Degrees of Separation, whereby they think that it could be possible that every person in the entire world, alive or dead, can be connected within 100 steps of each other.
So using myself as an example, and the wonderful WikiTree as the source for the information from all of our worldwide trees, here’s a little list of well known people that I can connect too, not biologically, but I can connect to them nonetheless.
For this example I’m going to use Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. Apparently I’m 26 Degrees from her. It goes like this:
Queen Elizabeth, her father, his father, his father, his sister, her husband, his brother, his wife, her mother, her father, his brother, his son, his son, his daughter, her husband, his mother, her father, his brother+, his wife*, her 1st husband*, his father, his sister, her son, his son, his son, his son -> his daughter which is ME!
*right here is the intersection. Mary Caile married my ancestor Thomas Cummins, after he died she married John Storey, marked thus +. Clear as mud right? But fun!
Here are some more for you with the level of separation from them to me listed.
Legendary actor James Stewart (How The West Was Won, It’s A Wonderful Life) ~ 23 Degrees
Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde ~ 38 Degrees
Canadian singer, songwriter, novelist and poet Leonard Cohen ~ 29 Degrees
Aviator Amelia Earhart ~ 24 Degrees through my husband
As much as I find these worldly connections very interesting I’m MUCH more interested in having an accurate, well sourced family tree of ancestors where I have biological connections. And to that end if anyone can tell me if my Gt Gt Grandmother Elizabeth Park, born in Glasgow in 1832, is Scottish through and through, or if her Father came from Northern Ireland I’d be incredibly grateful…. cause it’s a brick wall I’ve been banging my poor head on for far too long!