Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Wife and I Are Tenth Cousins!

The Relative Finder program developed by the BYU Family History people has given me a lot of great connections. It works for anyone who uses Family Search including many non-LDS people. Our good bishop set up a group to allow us to see our relationship to any person in our ward. Everybody is connected somehow with fewer degrees of separation than one might think. This does not directly lead to family names for Temple work, but it does cause a lot of excitement with fun and interesting connections made.

So it turns out that my wife and I are tenth cousins! The program puts it out in this format:

Our common ancestors then are Humphrey Woodbury and Elizabeth Hunter who settled in Essex Co., Massachusetts. They were close to Salem and their names do not appear on the lists of either the "accused," the "accusers," or "judges." So, that's good.

And I pulled off of an affidavit in Humphrey's own words setting out his history in relation to a land dispute:
John Woodbury, the immigrant ancestor, came from Somersetshire, England, about 1624-25, in the interests of the Dorchester Company, which established itself at Cape Ann, now Gloucester, Massachusetts, at or shortly before that period. Perhaps no better or clearer account can be given of his earlier connection with this company as its agent, than to give in full the deposition of his son Humphrey, who accompanied him thither on his second voyage. This deposition was given to disprove Mason's claim to extensive tracts of land in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, under date of February 16, 1680- 81:
"Humphrey Woodbury, Beverly, aged seventy two, testifies, that when I lived in Somersetshire in England, I remember that my father, John Woodberye (since deceased) did about 56 years agoe remoove for new England & I then traveled with him as farr as Dorchester (Eng.) & I understood that my said father  came to new England by order of a company  caled Dorchester company (among whome mr. White of Dorchester in England was an active instrument) & that my father and the company with him brought cattle & other things to Cape Ann for plantation work & there built an house & kept theire cattle & sett up fishing & afterwards some of them removed to a neck of land since called Salem. And after about three years absence my said father returned to England & made us acquainted with waht settlement they had made in new England & that he was sent back by some that Intended to settle a plantation about 3 leagues west of Cape Ann. to further this designe after about half a years stay in England, my father returned to new England & brought me with him ; wee arrived at the place now caled Salem in or about the month of June, 1628 ; where wee found several persons that said they were servants to the Dorchester company & had built another house for them at Salem besides that at Cape Ann. The latter end of that sumer, 1628 : John Endecott Esq : came over governor, declaring his power from a company of pattentees in or about London ; & that they had bought the houses boates & servants which belonged to the Dorchester company and that he sd Endicott had power to receive them which accordingly he did take possession of ; when we settled the Indians never then molested us in our improvemts or sitting downe either on Salem or Beverly side of the ferry, but showed themselves very glad of our company & came & planted by us & oftentimes came to us for shelter saying they were afraid of their enemy Indians up in the country : & wee did shelter them when they fled to us & wee had theire free leave to build & plant where wee have taken up lands ; the same year, or the next after, wee came to Salem, wee cut hay for the cattel wee brought over on that side of the ferry now caled Beverly: & have kept our possession there ever since by cutting hay or thatch or timber & boards & by laying out lotts for tillage : & sometime after building & dwelling heere, where, with others have lived about 40 years : In all this time of my being in new England I never heard that Mr. Mason took possession here, disbursted estate upon, or layd claime to this place of ours, save the discourse of a claim within this yeare or two." UNIVERSITY LIBRARY, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AT AMHERST, F, 72, M7, C9
Historian of the New England Historic Genealogical Society; VOLUME III

It makes me wonder what thoughts they may have had about their future descendants on this continent. We're sure thinking back on them now and are grateful that they came.


  1. I'm never visiting that site again! It had the gall to tell me that one of my 10th cousins is Cleon Skousen!

    1. That many generations should be more than enough to dilute the DNA.


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