Archive for January, 2010

The New England Genealogical Historic Society announced last week that President Obama and Massachusetts senator-elect, Scott Brown, are 10th cousins. Both the President’s mother and Brown’s mother are descendants of Richard Singletary (1585-1687) of Massachusetts. The two men’s cousinship proves a theory that I came up with years ago while researching my family genealogy–go back ten generations and you will have more cousins than you can shake a stick at.

When Dad submitted a DNA sample to Family Tree DNA in 2008, the test results verified my papertrail leading to John Young who settled in southeastern Virginia, near the Cumberland Gap, in the 1780s. But I was surprised that the test revealed an equally close DNA link to a second John Young (1778-1836) of Buckfield, Oxford County, Maine.

Here’s how my “We’re All Cousins” theory works. My mother’s great-great grandfather, Dodridge Bryant (family legend says he is related to William Cullen Bryant) was born in Massachusetts. Seeing how Maine is less than 100 miles from Massachusetts, it is entirely possible that my parents’ lines intersect within the last ten generations. On top of that, I am probably related to President Obama. You’re doubtful, you say? Consider the probability that Obama and George Walker Bush are related. Yep, they too can call each other “cousin”, although they had to go back eleven generations to find a common ancestor.

President Obama is also kin to James Madison, Dick Cheney, Winston Churchill, Jimmy Carter, Robert E. Lee, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, Harry S. Truman, and Brad Pitt.

So, go back ten generations–alright, make it twelve— and you will be claiming most of your co-workers, neighbors, and, very likely, President Obama, as cousins.


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Sam Rayburn, 1882-1961, of Bonham,Texas, was a Texas legislator, congressman, and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives for seventeen years. He was elected to the House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1912, and represented the Fourth Texas District for forty-eight years, until his death in 1961.

The following letter of condolence from Sam Rayburn to Grandma Young (Maude L. Young) in the death of her husband, George, on 7 January 1945, was a good example of how closely the congressman kept in touch with his constituents. Mr. Rayburn was known for his contrasting wardrobes; while in Washington D.C. he wore suits, starched shirts, and well-polished shoes, but when visiting the people of Northeast Texas, he switched to informal shirts, jeans, and boots. Mr. Rayburn’s identification with the residents of his largely rural district made him an effective legislator. He was responsible for numerous projects that increased the quality of life for our family, such as rural electrification, farm-to-market roads, Lake Texoma, and Perrin Air Force Base.

I have a vague memory of going with Dad to the Sam Rayburn Library in Bonham to see a picture of Papa (Samuel W. Young, Sr.) with Sam Rayburn.

I am the keeper of Grandma’s Bookcase and this is what I found.

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Dear Aunt Charollet

Two little girls sharpened their pencils twenty-six years ago today, and went to work crafting thank you notes for Christmas gifts. They creatively expressed their thankfulness, and the sunny paper remains imbued with the unmistakable fragrance of love and affection for Aunt Charlotte. Grandmother Rachel served as spelling consultant, and a great time was had by all!

I am the keeper of Grandma’s Bookcase and this is what I found.

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Tim Hawkins Is Good Medicine

Comedian Tim Hawkins provided a good deal of laugh therapy last night at church. Brother Richard introduced me to Tim a couple of years ago via youtube. Here’s one of my favorite performances by Tim–a parody of Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” in the form of a fishy story called “Cletus Take the Reel.”

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Chances are . . .

Chances are . . .

1. If its cold at my place . . . it’s cold at your place.

2. If Hannah’s not at home in the evening . . . she is practicing with the school orchestra for the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

3. If you stay for supper . . . you will be served potato soup or vegetable beef soup or chicken soup or . . . . You get the idea.

4. If your Christmas tree left the premises around New Year’s . . . mine is still keeping me company.

An ornament from Aunt Margaret's sweet gum tree.

5. If the phone rings at 5:30 A.M. . . . it will be Andrew cheerily encouraging me to “not waste the day.”

6. If we are discussing our coldest winter in 25 years . . . we’re also trying to figure out how El Nino impacts Global Warming.

7. If you are lonesome for Christmas carols . . . Mark will give let you borrow our Christmas clock.

8. If you need someone to empty your trash cans . . . Milo will be more than willing to accomodate.

9. If Mark is reading . . . it’s from a Kindle.

10. If I wake up in the middle of the night . . . it’s because I’m wondering if my water pipes are freezing.

11. If I can’t find the plastic wrap . . . it’s in Hannah’s room where she has used it to wrap her lotioned feet.

12. If I thought that it was going to take a week to recoup from Christmas celebrations and New Year’s travels and cleaning and finishing the moving process from my old house . . . I learned that it really takes several weeks. 🙂

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