I’m sure that most of you have heard that funny song by Ray Stevens called, “I’m My Own Grandpa”, and while I’m not going to tell you that I’m my own grandma, I will tell you that my husband’s Grandma Hein is my 12th cousin twice removed. We always enjoyed both of his grandmothers, but we got to see so much less of Grandma Hein, that it was very special when we got to go see her. I only knew one of my grandmothers, and my she passed away when Bob and I had only been married eleven years. His Casper grandparents died in the 80’s too, as did his Grandpa Schulenberg in Montana. So, much of my adult life was spent having only Bob’s Montana grandparents, Grandma and Grandpa Hein, in my life. I loved spending time with them, and we made annual trips up to visit them. We wanted our girls to know them too, so the trips were a special family time for all of us.
After so many years of knowing them, Grandma and Grandpa Hein became my own grandparents. Little did I know then, or at any time during her lifetime, that Grandma Hein was actually my 12th cousin twice removed. When I made that connection a short time ago, I was so surprised. I’ve known for some time now that Bob and I are cousins to varying degrees, but somehow, in my mind, that didn’t officially connect to the prior ancestors. I mean, I knew it, but they didn’t feel like cousins, for some reason. Then I started thinking about that with respect to Grandma Hein when I came across a relationship between her dad’s family and my dad’s family. Somehow, it was at this point that my mind completed wrapping itself around the idea that I was related to Grandma’s family, and it hit me that my grandma was my cousin.
I’m sure that should have hit me before too, but somehow, she was Bob’s grandma, and therefore, mine by marriage, which she technically still is, in addition to our cousinship. I really wish I had know that she was my cousin too, because I think we would have liked that relationship too. I’m sure we would have both been surprised, and we probably would have had a good laugh too. Nevertheless, I think that we both would have liked that fact as well. We were always good friends, so being cousins too, would have been fun.
The cousinship occurred before either of us were ever born, of course. Our common ancestor is John Collamore who is my 11 great grandfather, and Grandma’s 13th great grandfather, was born in 1500 in England. The fact that we were cousins could not have been easily known at the time of my marriage to Bob. The internet didn’t exist then, and so people had to go to these places to study their lineage. Too much time and too great a cost usually stopped that unless you were very determined. Nevertheless, whether we knew it or not, we are cousins, and I’m sure we will enjoy that conversation when we see each other again in Heaven. Today would have been Grandma Hein’s 106th birthday…and, Groundhog Day, a fact that she liked. Happy birthday Cousin Grandma Hein!! And happy Groundhog Day too…not that it matters in Heaven!! We love and miss you very much!!