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Duplicate people and different generations in your family tree

When I started my family history investigations many years ago I did not realise my grandparents were distant cousins. This is my father’s parents who both died some years ago.

They have a common ancestor BUT it is a different generation for each person.

Discovering “Kinship”

I use some software called Family Tree Maker and it allows you to run a Kinship report on selected individuals.

Ben and Pam Cox celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary

My grandfather was Bennett Percy Cox and his wife Pamela de Fonblanque. They share a common ancestor in John Samuel Martin de Fonblanque however it’s not as simple as them both having the same relationship with him.

John Samuel Martin Fonblanque – Commissioner of Bankruptcy

The Kinship report showed Pamela as a great granddaughter but Ben (as he was known) as a 2 x great grandson. They were only 5 years apart in age.

How could this occur?

A generation is normally taken to be around 25-30 years or so 3 generations is around 100 years.

Generation 1

John Samuel Martin (JSM) Fonblanque was born in 1787. He married Caroline O’Connell of Cork in Dublin in 1819 (not much information available about her but I do have their wedding entry in the St James’s parish register).

Their son John William Martin (JWM) Fonblanque was born in 1820 (this is the line my grandfather comes down).

Their daughter Rosalinda Alicia de Fonblanque was born in 1822 (this is my grandmother’s line).

So this generation is the same age.

Moving on to the next generation gets more interesting.

Generation 2

JWM Fonblanque was 48 years older than his wife Caroline Rumpf and 68 when they had my great grandfather John Berkeley (JB) de Fonblanque in 1888. She was 19 when JB was born! This was a surprising discovery to make! And Caroline is one my brick walls in my tree. She apparently was born in Norwich according to a census but no birth records for her…I have no idea how they met and what an age gap.

So that’s 68 years between generations.

Things were different on Ben’s side. Rosalinda married Edward William Cox (yes there’s another cross over here too!) and had her daughter Ada in 1845.

Generations 3 and 4

Ada married Henry Bennett Edwards and had Naomi (Ben’s mother) in 1880 so you can see the generation gap appearing.

Ben was born in 1908 to Naomi and Percy Stuart Cox.

In 1913 aged 25, JB married Dorothy Cattley (daughter of Oswald Cattley) the subject of an earlier blog post and Pamela was born later that year.

So by marrying very late and having a child at the age of 68 JWM Fonblanque has created an interesting story for the family tree.

How to easily identify crossovers/duplicates

I have started using a Surname Table and this has been very useful in highlighting where people are mentioned more than once in my tree. I’ve colour coded it so the different lines stand out. It is also a good way to highlight gaps!

I use it to show 4 generations but you could extend this further, just remember to double the number of lines per additional generation. I’ve also made the gaps a lighter version of the colour for each genealogical line.

My surname table is shown below and it’s a work in progress! You can see several duplicate people (in bold and italics). And you can see the same people appear in different generations.

I haven’t done much research on my maternal grandmother’s ancestors yet. And there are several brick walls amongst my female ancestors.

I’ve made this into a template you can download here and fill in yourself. I find it useful to be able to see where the gaps are on a single page.

Occupations and Professions

I have also added information about the occupations or professions of each person in the table where I could find them (census and birth/wedding entries are useful sources). On my father’s side there was a lot of inherited money through the generations and few of the wives had professions.

Have you found any duplicates in your tree? I’d love to know…

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