The Branch We Share

December 2, 2012

When my wife, Suzame Tong, told me that she has a new colleague at Jive Software who has my last name, I asked if the young woman has ancestral roots in Indiana. My roots run deep in the state, especially on my father’s side. So when the colleague said yes, I set out to learn if we’re related. It didn’t take long, thanks to, to find that her father and I have the same great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather and grandmother (that’s 10 greats). John Beals Sr. — Beals morphed into Bales in the 1700s — was born in 1650 in England and emigrated to Pennsylvania. In 1682, he married Mary Jane Clayton, another English emigre, in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Quakers, they lived out there lives there on land owned by William Penn.

Thanks to John and Mary, the young woman and I are second cousins, 12 times removed, or 12th cousins. How much do we have in common, besides genes? I hope more than Barack Obama and Sarah Palin, who are 10th cousins.