Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Ancestor #2:
the Source of Distant Cousins


In my family, finding distant cousins isn't owing only to the Broyles family—though that family line will give me a workout this January as I piece together my Broyles DNA matches. For February's research goal, I may as well make the two months a couplet, for if it's not a Broyles ancestor giving me the opportunity to meet distant cousins, the most recent common ancestor serving as our connector will likely come from my Taliaferro roots.

There is already plenty written about the many branches of the colonial Taliaferro family, especially in Virginia. One would think those resources could serve as reliable trailblazers.

Think again. For whatever reason, there have been many pamphlets, books, and trees printed to assert various Taliaferro connections, but apparently not all of them are reliable. That means it is time to do our own homework, and February will be my month to confirm my direct line's connection to the right branch of the Taliaferro ancestry.

Granted, being a Taliaferro descendant has not only had its benefits, but it is indeed fun to meet someone and discover we are twelfth cousins. Who—other than genealogists—can do that?! On the other hand, the farther back in time we reach in our research, the more we need to learn to apply research tactics appropriate to the time period. As I push that direct line back from my comfortable current position of the DAR Patriot opening the door for my membership in that organization, that is indeed what I'll need to do to access a well-founded assertion concerning my Taliaferro connection. In February, we'll see how far that work can take us.

Of course, one other way to connect with Taliaferro descendants is through DNA. I have plenty of Taliaferro cousins showing up there—eighty five matches and counting on my ThruLines readout at AncestryDNA alone. Which brings up another complication: I am my own distant cousin, all thanks to this very family line. We'll take a look at that sticking point when we get busy researching Ancestor #2 of my Twelve Most Wanted for 2023. 


  1. "I am my own distant cousin." What a great line. I look forward to seeing how that came about - though I have a pretty good idea :-)

    1. Of all people, Lisa, I knew you'd know exactly how that came about! And I think there are plenty of us out there who descended from longstanding American families who find themselves in that same situation.


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