June 22, 2018
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Who’s your cousin? General Jimmy Doolittle is mine

Roxanne Moore Saucier
By Roxanne Moore Saucier, Special to the BDN

A recent question from a Family Ties reader got me to thinking about “cousinships.” Everyone has his own way of figuring out what degree of cousin we may be to someone, and whether that relationship may be “once removed,” “twice removed,” and so on.

Many organizations have put information on the Web about cousin relationships, some of them using a chart that places the common ancestor in the upper lefthand corner. Then you list the people in your line down to yourself on the left, and the people in the other person’s line across the top. Look for where the two lines intersect, and you have the relationship.

An example of this type of chart, with accompanying article, is available at Genealogy.com at http://www.genealogy.com/16_cousn.html.

Banks, lawyers and others involved in probate work may use such a chart when a person dies without a spouse or children, or when there is a need to make sure everyone who is a legal heir is included.

I use a different kind of chart only because it’s the way I visualize the descent from the common ancestor down to the two people for whom I’m trying to quantify the cousinship.

My chart shows two lines of descent from immigrant ancestor Abraham Doolittle, who came to New Haven, Conn., in the 1600s.

Gen. Jimmy Doolittle of World War II fame was seven generations down from the children of Abraham Doolittle through the first Abraham’s son, Samuel Doolittle. My great-grandmother, Etta Eldridge Roberts, also was seven generations from Abraham’s children through another son, also named Abraham.

Notice on my chart that I indicated the relationship between each generation — S to show that Samuel and Abraham were siblings, 1 to show that Jonathan and the next Abraham were 2nd cousins, and so on to 7th cousins Gen. Jimmy Doolittle and Etta Eldridge Roberts.

Edith Roberts is one generation removed from that cousinship, so she was a 7th cousin, once removed. My mother, Joyce Steeves Moore is twice removed, and I am the general’s 7th cousin three times removed — three generations removed from the cousinship.

At this point, many people might ask why I’m not the general’s 10th cousin. The answer is that he and I are not the same number of generations from the common ancestor.

I do have Doolittle 10th cousins, probably, but the general isn’t one of them. Rather, I am a 10th cousin to people who — like me — are three generations down from the general: his great-grandchildren. My children and his great-great-grandchildren would be 11th cousins, and so on.

If I haven’t thoroughly confused you, let’s throw in a twist. Abraham Doolittle was married twice. His first wife was my ancestor, Joan Allen. His second wife, Abigail Moss, was Gen. Jimmy Doolittle’s ancestor.

In other words, I’m not precisely the general’s 7th cousin, three times removed. Rather, I am his half-7th cousin, three times removed. Whew!

If you have a cousinship that you can’t quite nail down, feel free to email me the details at familyti@bangordailynews.com, or mail the info to me here at the BDN, and I’ll see if I can figure it out for you. Merry Christmas!


Here is some wonderful news. The Washington County Courthouse Archives Committee has just released the second in the series of CDs of the Eastport Sentinel for 1828-1832. In its continuing effort to preserve more than 600 volumes of Washington County weekly newspapers dating back to 1818, the Archives Committee has begun using a new large-document scanner to preserve the newspapers. About half of the newspaper collection has been microfilmed, but the process is very time-consuming.

To speed up the process, the committee in cooperation with the Machias Historical Society obtained a grant from the Department of Agriculture Rural Development to purchase a large-document scanner. The scanner is housed at the Washington County Courthouse, and work continues to preserve the Eastport Sentinel, and eventually other documents held there.

When the Eastport Sentinel books were assembled many years ago, not every issue of the newspaper was found. For example, there are no issues for 1831. What appears on the second CD starts in April 1829 and continues through 1830, with no 1831 issues, then continues with January through August 1832. The first CD covering the period August 1824 to January 1827 is also available. Both CDs offer a search feature plus clear, full-width views of the pages of the Eastport Sentinel. The program allows for en­largement of the pages for easier reading, and individual articles can be copied and printed out.

The cost is $15 for the new CD, and $15 for the first CD. Send a check made payable to Washington County for $15 for each CD ordered to Washington County Courthouse, PO Box 297, Machias 04654. For information, call 255-3127 or email clerk@washingtoncountymaine.com.

For i nformation on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email familyti@bangordailynews.com.


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