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In a message dated 02/07/2003 19:44:43 GMT Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:


> If I can trace my father's line and his direct ancestry including both the
> men and women back for a thousand years and I can trace my mother's line and
> direct ancestry including the men and women back for a thousand years and
> say all these people are from Ireland, how does that make me a direct
> descendant of a Native Hawaiian on Maui who lived a thousand years ago?
>

One of the things that tracing your family does is make you realise how
limited the choice was for previous generations.  In tracing my childrens ancestry
I find that by the time you get back to the seventeenth century there are
dozens of small groups of people who live in what I can best describe as
"comfortable incest" !  They marry cousins and aunts, their children marry cousins and
aunts and their children continue the pattern - people from the next door
community are foreigners (and you wouldn't want your daughter marrying one of
them!! - much safer to marry her off to uncle John/Johan/Juan which will also keep
the farm in the family)  In many rural areas this pattern only seems to break
in the nineteenth century if then!  But with the industrial revolution people
suddenly become very mobile and the mix becomes very varied (and probably not
before time either!)  The last distant relative of my husband's I found
proved to be his 11th cousin twice, his 10th cousin five times, his 9th cousin six
times and his 8th cousin four times- mind you, these were Norwegians who have
slightly more geographical excuse!

cheers

Catherine