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Who Knew?

For the past few months I have been spending a significant amount of time continuing my research into my family's history. While doing this, I have made contact with a few other distant relatives (thank you DNA!) and have discovered hundreds of new and interesting relatives that I never knew existed.

I continue to be amazed at the number of historically significant people who share my bloodline, and the past few months have continued to unearth more famous relatives. Some of the relatives I have been researching are well-known historical figures, such as my 9th paternal cousin (2x removed), President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I have to admit that I was really tickled when I made this discovery as I have always found him to be a very interesting historical figure. Add to that the fact that he worked hand-in-hand with another famous paternal cousin, my 8th cousin (3x removed), Prime Minister Sir WInston Churchill to defeat the Axis powers in WWII and I was gob-smacked.

While researching FDR, I started digging into my other Roosevelt and Astor cousins and discovered a very colourful person by the name of Laura Franklin Delano, nicknamed "Polly". Polly was my 9th cousin 2x removed and was a favorite of FDR, but not of his wife, Eleanor. Polly was quite the character and she apparently spent a lot of time with her cousin Franklin, and was with him when he died. Polly definitely deserves a full page on my website, and she may just end up being the inspiration for yet another novel at some point in the future.

I didn't think that my family tree could possibly yield any additional famous relatives, but I was wrong. The other day I came across another distant cousin who had been a scientist, who was involved with the Manhatten project during WWII. In addition to this interesting person, I also discovered another political cousin, Levis Parsons Morton, who just happened ot have been the 22nd Vice President of the United States. Things then got interesting as I began to trace my Morton cousins. When I ran across my 7th cousin, Alice Morton (daughter of Vice President Levis Parsons Morton), I once again found a series of incredible family members who, in turn, have more historical ties.

Alice's husband, Winthrop Rutherfurd, was a well known society member and was one of "The Four Hundred", the name of the top members of New York Society dominated by Mrs. Caroline Astor (THE Mrs. Astor). Winthrop was well known for his affairs with married socialites, and also was engaged to Consuelo Astor until her mother interfered and broke up the couple. My cousin Alice and her husband's children also revealed an even bigger surprise: my 9th cousin, Lewis Polk Rutherfurd, married Janet Jennings Auchincloss, a name which rang a bell for me. Upon further investigation I found out that Janet was the half-sister of yet another very famous American: Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, better known as Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, First Lady of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Although I am not directly related to the Bouviers or Kennedys, there are obvious familial ties as my cousins are cousins of the Kennedy children. Even though the Kennedys and Bouviers are not my blood relatives, I have still added them in my tree as to exclude them would be to exclude a significant piece of my family's history from future generations.

Don't be afraid to explore outside of your direct ancestors - research your cousins, aunts and uncles as well as their families. You may just be surprised by who you find!

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