Barbara T and Sheila

“Cousins, Cousins, Everywhere!” 

By Barbara Taylor and Sheila Larson

from the South Orange County CA Genealogical Society newsletter, used with permission of


Sheila writes:
I was doing some research on a couple of weeks ago and got a notification that a member had posted a document relating to a common ancestor. When I opened it up, it said the document had been posted by Barbara Taylor. I thought wouldn’t that be a coincidence if it were the same Barbara Taylor that’s in our group. I sent her a message, asking if she was BarbaraTaylor7777, and she responded, “Are we cousins?” Turns out, we are!


I am a first cousin 6 times removed from Loammi Baldwin, Revolutionary War patriot. Loammi Baldwin (Sr) (1744 – 1807), born and died in Woburn, MA, was called “the father of civil engineering” and with his sons, built the Middlesex Canal near Boston as well as forts to protect the city from the British.  Their home, originally built in 1660 and expanded in the 1800s, still stands in Woburn, Massachusetts.


Barbara writes:
Loammi’s first wife was Mary Fowle (1747-1786), daughter of James Fowle (1720-1793) and Mary Reed (1726-1790); Mary was Barbara’s 1st cousin 5x removed.  Loammi’s 2nd wife was Margery Fowle (1767-1799), daughter of Josiah Fowle (1731-1805) and Margery Carter (1730-1812); Margery was Barbara’s 3rd great grand aunt.  Mary and Margery were 1st cousins.  Loammi, both wives and all their parents were born and died in Woburn, MA.  Both Mary and Margery Fowle are descended from George Fowle (1610 – 1682) who came from England to Massachusetts about 1638.


I was invited to attend my first SOCCGS meeting after I contacted someone on about an ancestor shortly after I moved back to CA in 2011.  It turned out that former member Tom Corning is my 8th cousin 1x removed and we share many ancestors from Massachusetts.
While researching my ex-husband’s grandparents in North Carolina, I was trying to find out their relationship to the person who married him, Felix Absher.  I sent a message to a lady who had Felix in her family tree and it turned out she lived in Orange County, CA also.  We had lunch and got to be friends, so I invited her to join our group.  That’s my distant cousin by marriage – member Arlene O’Donnell.


When I did DNA on FamilyTreeDNA last summer, I recognized one person’s email address on a match — our own librarian Bunny Smith.  Bunny’s husband Leon Smith and I are cousins, though we have not yet figured out who our  common ancestors are.


At the December 2013 holiday meeting, I won the door prize – a book called “Matilda’s Story: The California Years” by our member Jacquelyn Hansen. As I was reading the introduction, she thanked Robert Hoadley for his help on one part of the family.  Robert is related to the son of Jacquelyn’s great grandmother and Robert is also my cousin, discovered via DNA.   We share at least 4 ancestors with Robert’s mother – 3 of them known on my side from Massachusetts and 1 or more on my ex-husband’s side, as yet undiscovered.


So when Jack Naylor, our membership chairperson, says, “You may meet a cousin in our group,” he’s not kidding!!