I’ve been doing it wrong.
When I was younger, I was envious of my friends who had cousins. They frequently got together with their cousins to play and visit their grandparents. I didn’t have any cousins to speak of. I mean, I did, but they were grown and had children of their own. We saw them maybe once a year at the annual family reunion, where we kids would spend the first half of the day eyeing each other suspiciously before we’d warm up to one another and play until dark when we’d beg our parents for a sleepover. Our parents always agreed to, “maybe another time” and the sleepover never happened. Each year was the same. We saw others annually on the day after Christmas when they came to my grandparents house to exchange gifts. Our family who’d previously hosted the grandparents at our house on Christmas day (and exchanged gifts), usually received McDonald’s gift certificate books to keep our greedy little souls from getting disinterested. Those our ages were all second cousins, and to my jealous little mind, second-rate. Not that they weren’t cool; they just weren’t 1st generation cousins like those my friends had.
I might have jealousy issues. They probably stem from those early cousin experiences. Only now it’s worse.
Never mind the fact that my parents provided multiple siblings for my entertainment and enjoyment. Forget that we’re all extremely close, even as adults in different states living different lives. That’s not good enough.
I have two sisters. They are my best friends. I hate talking on the phone, but I will talk on the phone with them for hours, sometimes at the same time through the magic of technology and merging calls. They live in the same state. They can see each other regularly. Sometimes I wish I could see them more often, but I usually don’t get envious when they get together. It’s usually more of a generalized homesick pang from living across the country.
This is the part where I would insert the picture of us as children that my parents took when we were on vacation and fell asleep on the same bed in the exact same position: one arm raised by our heads, and one to our sides, lying on our backs, but I don’t have access to it on my computer. I would also consider uploading the one of us as adults in the same position, but I don’t have permission to put their pictures all over the world wide web for all Hitchhikers to see (I think we’re up to 12* readers now! Success!). It’s unlikely you’d recognize them from their childhood shots, but you might as adults, and maybe they don’t want to be followed around by the Hitchhiker Paparazzi my blog is sure to inspire. I really should learn how to use photoshop so I can just but black boxes over their eyes to protect their anonymity. Instead I’ll just use this picture:
Here’s where I’m doing it wrong.
First, both of my sisters are married. Clearly I’m not doing that part right. Second, their husbands are distantly related to one another. So it’s like a little Sisters with Husbands Who Share Common Ancestry Club they have going on.
But here’s where it gets worse:
A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from one of my sisters. She and her husband had been online doing some genealogy. Well, I think it was more that they were looking at the genealogical research that had already been accomplished. They were just clicking back in their various lines to see how far they went. When they were back several generations on her husband’s line, they came across a relative who achieved a moderate amount of “fame” during his life for his associations with some more universally-known figures of the period. As they traveled backwards along his line, they discovered that the two of them have a common relative. As in, my sister and her husband are actually like 7th cousins, 8 times removed. This is not that big of a deal like that awkward family moment where you discover your mother is also your grandmother and your father is your brother. Or something. I mean, if you go back far enough we’re all kissing the same grandmother, right? But, as she’s telling me this, I remembered our other sister, and how her husband is distantly related to this sister’s husband. So I asked, “Hey, isn’t Mortimer [names are changed to protect everyone’s privacy from you crazy Hitchhikers who think you can start trailing my family and publishing embarrassing photos and stories about us… that’s my job] related to the Professor?” “Oh yeah, I totally forgot about that.”
So, of course, after some discussion, we realized their husbands shared this common relative, making them each, in effect (and stretching the laws of relationships pretty far), cousins to their wives. And then we called the other sister on three-way in order to share the happy news.
Now they call each other “Sister-Cousin”… and the club just got a little more exclusive. I want a Sister-Cousin.
My plan is to do some reverse genealogy. I think it might also be called stalking in some countries. I’m not sure. But, if I start with the common relative, I should be able to trace the line forward to find a living male descendent who is still single, right? And then I, too, can be part of the club.
So, if anyone knows any eligible descendants of Joseph Bates Noble, please send them my way for screening. They can’t be siblings or close relatives of my sisters’ husbands… that would be too close. But JBN lived during the 1830s or so, and there are lots of ways that tree can branch. There should be a high enough number of eligible men that one is bound to meet my requirements for marriage. Paparazzi Hitchhikers, this is your mission.
*Just kidding, we’re actually closer to 53… but still.