Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Monday, September 11, 2017

Sixth Cousins Once Removed

Genealogy can lead to some amazing and often fun discoveries. I've been working on mine off-and-on since about 1976. 

Imagine my surprise when I found that my great grandparents were actually distant cousins: Sixth cousins once removed to be exact. 

They both descend from Ralph Cowgill (born about 1635) his wife Ellen Stackhouse (born about 1639) who lived in Yorkshire, England. Ralph was executed for his religious views (they were Quakers) and Elizabeth and her children came to America. Two of those children were John Cowgill and Jane Cowgill. 

John's family stayed in Pennsylvania for a time, then descendants moved over into Kentucky and up into Illinois where Nellie Grace Keith was born in 1878. 

Jane Cowgill and her husband Stephen Sands moved into Virginia then up to Ohio and finally Wisconsin for a short time. William Albert Martin was born there in 1876. 

                                                   Ralph Cowgill - Ellen Stackhouse

John Cowgill - Bridget Croasdale                              Jane Cowgill - Stephen Sands   
William Browne - Elizabeth Cowgill                         Edmund Sands - Rachel Clowes

Edward Norton - Elizabeth Brown                             Isaac Sands - Mary 

Messor Norton - Martha Higgens                              Abijah Sands - Elizabeth Grady

James Thompson - Margaret Norton                         William Martin - Ury G. Sands

Solomon Thompson - Jane Malone                           Francis M. Martin - Catharine J. Curry

John Riley Keith - Nancy Ann Thompson                 William Albert Martin 

Nellie Grace Keith
William Albert Martin with his father Francis Marion Martin. 

Nellie Grace Keith Martin

Jennie Viola Martin with her mother Nellie Grace Keith Martin.
Nellie's family moved to southwestern Kansas around 1884. Later her father hired William Albert "Bert" Martin and that is how my great grandparents met. They had one surviving daughter, Jennie G. Martin, in 1903. 

I'm sure Nellie and Bert had no idea of their backgrounds. Their own grandparents stayed in the same areas for a time. They might have known where the families came from before that but I doubt they had any idea they both came from the same early beginnings.

There is a lot of debate in the genealogy community about Ralph Cowgill and whether or not his wife was really a Stackhouse. I left it that way here as it seems to be the most accepted stance at this time. Nothing seems to be known about their parents.

There are always more questions and mysteries in genealogy. As the saying goes, a genealogy is never done.

You just never know who you might be related to. (Does this make my grandmother Jennie her own cousin?)

You can find some good relationship charts here: