Wednesday, September 17, 2008



One evening on our recent trip to the Mid-West, Pat asked for an explanation of how the numbering of cousins worked. Understanding that the children of my father's brothers and sisters are my first cousins, and that the grandchildren of my grandfather's brothers and sisters are my second cousins, what are the grandchildren of my father's brothers and sisters to me?

The answer is that we are first cousins, once removed. Cousinship exists if we have a common ancestor, and do not share a common parent. The number of generations apart we are from each other determines the number of times we are removed - up or down.

Thus my first cousins are:

Austin Chick and Jonathan Chick, sons of Kathleen Lary Chick, my mother's sister.
Theodore, Roger, Carol, and Terry Skare, children of Eloise Skare, my father's sister.
Patricia Shaw, daughter of Laverna Savedes, my father's sister.
Children of any of them are my first cousins, once removed.

Similarly, the children of my grandmother's (Edna Leen Fearon Maxwell) brothers and sisters are also my first cousins, once removed: Arvid, Dawn, Leslie, Norman, Derald, and Larry Leen. Their grandchildren are my second cousins.

The children of my great grandmother's (Anne Marie Jonsdatter Soine) brothers and sisters (Jon, Juliane, Anne Marie, Ove, Eva, Emma, Geneva, Julia, Syver, Alfred, Sever, and Clare Soine) are my first cousins, twice removed. Their grandchildren are my second cousins, once removed. Their great grandchildren are my third cousins (Aaron Soine and his brothers).

The children of my great great grandfather's (Jon Johnson Lajord Soine) brothers and sisters (Lars, Anne, Marit, Syver, and Ole Soine) are my first cousins, thrice removed. Their grandchildren are my second cousins, twice removed. Their great grandchildren are my third cousins, once removed (Shirley Manning). Their great great grandchildren are my fourth cousins (Bob Skogman).

On our trip, we also met up with eighth cousin Trudy Wasson.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Adventurers - My Family's 400 years of French, English, Norwegian, and Irish Settlers


The single clearest characteristic defining who I am is my family's history of picking up and traveling somewhere else to make their lives. In future posts on this blog, I will write about their stories.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008



After many years of telling myself that I travel to Minnesota, meet my cousins, and find my grandfather and grandmother's graves, I have almost succeeded. Over the past week, I have met with three cousins, one of them a first cousin. I have found my grandfather's grave (pictured below), and will look for my grandmother's in Prior Lake in a couple of days. I've spent time with my Aunt Eloise, who at 93 is still active and enthusiastic about her life.

In the next week, my wife and I will be traveling to Ray, North Dakota to try to learn more about the lives of my grandparents and their siblings. As usual, I'll be posting journals and photos to our travel blog (