Saving Private Ryan

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Famspear
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Saving Private Ryan

Postby Famspear » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:01 am

No, I'm not referring to the character in the 1998 Steven Spielberg film.

This week I discovered, very much by accident, that one of the defenders who died in the final assault in the Battle of the Alamo on the morning of March 6, 1836, was a distant relative of mine on my mother's side. He was Private Isaac Ryan. He was born in Louisiana (as I was), and his grandparents were my great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents. According to one website, he "served in the Alamo garrison as a member of Capt. Robert White's infantry company, the Bexar Guards". He was 31 years old at the time of his death.

I cannot save his life, but historians have saved the record of the end of his life. For that I am grateful.

I am also grateful for those who do the genealogical research. Although much of the genealogy found on the internet can be unreliable, I have a pretty high level of confidence in this data.

I discovered Private Isaac Ryan while messing around on the internet, trying to find some information on the ancestry of some old friends of mine. Astonishingly, as part of the same research, I found that the woman who was the Maid of Honor when my first wife and I were married (over forty years ago) was my mother's eighth cousin. I also found that one of my best friends in college was my sixth cousin once removed (again, on my mother's side of the family). Both of those individuals are also distantly related to Private Ryan.

There is other family data -- not nearly so well established as being as reliable as the Private Ryan link -- that actress Brooke Shields and I are tenth cousins.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby fortinbras » Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:52 pm

A TV show of the geneologies of current celebrities established that Brooke Shields is related to French royalty, so maybe you are as well.

I once read that everybody on earth is no further than a 20th cousin to everyone else (I read this about 40 years ago, so by now maybe a 25th cousin). It seems a little tough to imagine a relationship between, say, an Eskimo and a Bantu, but that was what the mathematics established. Jimmy Carter was a 9th cousin to Richard Nixon.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/commentisfree/2015/may/24/business-genetic-ancestry-charlemagne-adam-rutherford

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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby Famspear » Fri Jul 24, 2015 2:06 pm

fortinbras wrote:A TV show of the geneologies of current celebrities established that Brooke Shields is related to French royalty, so maybe you are as well.

I once read that everybody on earth is no further than a 20th cousin to everyone else (I read this about 40 years ago, so by now maybe a 25th cousin). It seems a little tough to imagine a relationship between, say, an Eskimo and a Bantu, but that was what the mathematics established. Jimmy Carter was a 9th cousin to Richard Nixon.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/commentisfree/2015/may/24/business-genetic-ancestry-charlemagne-adam-rutherford


Yes, in the case of Brooke Shields, it is the "French Connection" (to borrow a title of another movie). Just about anyone with at least some French ancestors from south Louisiana may well be related to Brooke Shields when you're going back as far as 12 to 15 generations. It seems remarkable when I first think about it, but then it's not so astonishing when we realize that we are all distant cousins, by definition.

I remember reading somewhere a while back that genealogists believe that one fourth of all people in England today have King Edward III as an ancestor.

Another part of my family record shows that I might be descended from the de Medici family of Italy, but that would be through the French Connection or Brooke Shields connection, I think. Anyway, that part of the family record is dubious and unconfirmed. It's hard to trace one's ancestry back further than about the mid 1500s -- at least that's what I understand -- unless you're Elizabeth II or someone like that.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby Pottapaug1938 » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:04 pm

I also have an actress in my lineage. Thanks to two second cousins on my father's mother's side, Glenn Close is both my 8th and my 10th cousin.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby obadiah » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:44 pm

All,
What do you use as a reference to define "10th cousin"? I have not been able to find a good set of rules to define distant relationships.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby The Observer » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:59 pm

I can't remember where I read this, I thought it was in National Geographic, that as many as 16 million men living today maybe related to Genghis Kahn, based on their genetic profile. Of course this cannot be definitely proven unless Genghis' grave is discovered and reliable DNA could be secured to confirm.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby Judge Roy Bean » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:35 pm

obadiah wrote:All,
What do you use as a reference to define "10th cousin"? I have not been able to find a good set of rules to define distant relationships.


It's getting a little more complicated, even as we speak, but consider biologically, at least, the common terminology for your brother's or sister's children and your children is "first cousin;" if, of course, they have the same grandparents (you and your sibling's mom and dad).

A "second cousin" is one where the grandparents are the same but both the great-grandparents are not shared. "Third cousins" and so on are further back in the family tree. (It helps to have this diagrammed.)

"Removed" is generational layering. Your dad's first cousin is your first cousin "once removed."

Hope that helps (genealogy is a hobby my family has been involved with for decades).
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby BBFlatt » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:59 pm

The Wikipedia article for "Cousin" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cousin) will probably tell you more than you want to know, including what a "double cousin" is.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby Judge Roy Bean » Fri Jul 24, 2015 5:13 pm

Famspear wrote:... It's hard to trace one's ancestry back further than about the mid 1500s -- at least that's what I understand -- unless you're Elizabeth II or someone like that.


What you run into is the simple lack of record-keeping. Until property ownership became an issue, the only records of people among the vast majority of the commoners and peasants were of a religious nature, i.e., marriages, births and deaths.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby Famspear » Fri Jul 24, 2015 5:25 pm

I didn't understand the difference between "second cousin" and "first cousin once removed" etc., etc., until law school, when I took the course on intestate succession, testate succession, and trusts.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby Pottapaug1938 » Fri Jul 24, 2015 6:16 pm

Outside of the royal lineage which I, like everyone else, has in some distant sense, the earliest any of my ancestral lines have been traced back was the early 1500s -- although DNA testing has proven that the old family legend about how out origins are in ancient Greece are correct. We came from an area which was once Greek, but is now western Turkey; and from there we went up to the Mosel Valley of Germany.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby AndyK » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:05 pm

FWIW:

I'm 50% Hungarian.

Since the Asian Horde invaded Hungary some hundreds of years ago, I have some genetic tie to the Huns.

Flash forward to today.

My son married a Korean woman. It turns out (via genetic analysis) that he and she are very distantly related via the Huns spreading throughout Asia and eastern Europe.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby webhick » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:11 pm

And due to an unfortunate lab accident many moons ago, you're all related to me in some way.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby JamesVincent » Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:22 am

I started looking into mine a few years ago, never got much into the depths however there are some stories passed down and some things I learned along the way. Robert E. Lee is supposed a great (however many times) uncle, unverified but my father was named after him as a family thing. I do know I had 2 cousins who, during the Civil War, both fought in the KY militia, one for the North and one for the South. Through the weirdness that only someone who lives in Kentucky would relate to, I am related to well over half of all native born Kentuckians. My family moved out where KY was still the real frontier, hung out with Daniel Boone and whatnot. My predominant ancestry is Irish and German but I have a French last name, and I was told that the name came from French royalty, no clue if its true just something I was told talking to people about it. When we started doing this a number of years we did find out that my step-dad is cousins to Sandra Day O'Connor, whom we actually met for lunch at one point. And, considering my ex-wife's ancestry is also predominantly Irish-German, well, kissing cousins may have applied.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby JamesVincent » Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:23 am

webhick wrote:And due to an unfortunate lab accident many moons ago, you're all related to me in some way.


That's kinda troubling.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby The Observer » Sat Jul 25, 2015 2:18 am

JamesVincent wrote:
webhick wrote:And due to an unfortunate lab accident many moons ago, you're all related to me in some way.


That's kinda troubling.


But look on the bright side, nobody outside the family will know.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby webhick » Sat Jul 25, 2015 3:57 am

It was the only way to immunize you all against the...

I've said too much.
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby Famspear » Sat Jul 30, 2016 6:30 am

Based on what I've found on the internet, it also appears that major league baseball hall of famer Nolan Ryan is the first cousin five times removed of Isaac Ryan.

(I am not thereby related to Nolan Ryan, but it would be really cool if I were!)
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby Judge Roy Bean » Sat Jul 30, 2016 5:01 pm

Famspear wrote:Based on what I've found on the internet, it also appears that major league baseball hall of famer Nolan Ryan is the first cousin five times removed of Isaac Ryan.

(I am not thereby related to Nolan Ryan, but it would be really cool if I were!)


That would be cool - unless you shared the genetics of speech. :snicker: Here in TX from time to time he's featured in a number of TV and radio ad campaigns and Mrs. Bean will often have to look at me and ask what he just said. Somehow I'm able to decode it for her. Maybe it's the autographed baseball I have from him. 8)
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Re: Saving Private Ryan

Postby The Observer » Sun Jul 31, 2016 2:06 pm

I think the worst thing about this thread is the realization that there is a good chance we are related to the crazies that we discuss here on Quatloos.
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