20 January 2011

I Have an Aha Moment: My Wife and I Have a Common Ancestor

I was working on my wife's genealogy on Ancestry.com today and I had an "aha moment" when I discovered we had a common ancestor. Here's how it happened:

I was looking at her pedigree on Ancestry, and going back generation by generation into 17th century Massachusetts. She comes mostly from Dutch ancestry on her father's side and mostly German on her mother's side, so we hadn't paid much attention to her early New England ancestry. As I went back, I finally recognized some names that appear in my own ancestry on my mother's side. These names were on her father's side.

In looking at these familiar names I found the common ancestor, who was--wait a moment while I consult Ancestry.com to get all the facts straight--Hezekiah Sumner (1724-1802) who lived in Massachusetts. I calculate that having him as a  common ancestor makes us sixth cousins once removed. The "once removed" is necessary because there is one more generation between my wife and Hezekiah then there is between him and me.

What's more, Hezekiah's 2 great grandfather William Sumner was born in 1605 in Bicester, Oxfordshire, England, so we have a common lineage back to England. William died in 1688 in Dorchester, Suffold, Massachusetts, so now I have to check to see if there is information on William's immigration to America, probably in the so-called Great Migration from England between 1620 and 1640.