I was communicating with my niece on Facebook. I got to wondering what relationship my grandchildren have with her children. I found a helpful chart (thanks, Google) that helped me figure out that my grandchildren are first cousins once removed with her children.
In actual fact, it doesn’t matter much. They all live so far apart that it’s not likely they’ll ever meet. It just triggered some thoughts as to how many blood relatives I have here in the States and in other parts of the world that I will never meet, never know anything about. Just in southern Illinois alone I’m sure I have cousins by the dozens, second cousins, third cousins, and all kinds of removed cousins. Payne was a major family name, and Morrell. My mom was born in Illinois, and had lots of aunts and uncles.
On my dad’s side, it’s possible I have many relatives right here in Pennsylvania. My maiden name is Fullmer, and I’ve seen endless variants of that name: Fulmer, Vollmer, Fuller, and so on. Dad was born in New York state, so I’m sure there are tentacles that reach from there to Colorado to California to Germany to Sweden and who knows where all else.
The story is that through my maternal grandfather’s line I am eligible to be a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. I wouldn’t know, and have no plans on pursuing that 🙂 And like most of the rest of Americans who claim German descent, my great-to-infinity-grandfather was supposedly the son of the seventh son of somebody or other over there who was a count or a duke or some such thing.
Doesn’t do me a bit of good. Would be nice if some rich uncle would leave me his estate in the form of portable property, as Charles Dickens’ character Wemmick, in Great Expectations, liked to call it. I rather suspect, though, that there aren’t any fabulously wealthy great-uncles in the bloodline.
So what do I conclude from all this? Mostly, that we are ALL related in some way all the way back to Adam and Eve. It’s a bit mind-boggling to think about that, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve taken more of an interest in reading the “begats” in the Old Testament. The Israelites were very careful to keep track of family and tribe relationships. So much of those records were lost during WWII, but it’s surprising how much is still out there.
Believers, born-again children of God, are all part of the family. If you’re like me, you can sense when someone you’ve never met before shares your faith. There’s a kinship, a common love, that helps us identify other believers. I love that. I love when a stranger starts talking with me, and it isn’t long before we are both very much aware that we share a common bond in Christ.
I suspect I have distant relatives with whom I’d have very little in common. But I have brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I share an instant bond. It’s great when blood relatives share that bond, too.