My 7th, 7th, 6th and 6th Great-Grandparents

They are my 7th great-grandparents.

They are my 7th great-grandparents.

They are my 6th great-grandparents.

They are my 6th great-grandparents.

I’m not repeating myself. I’m talking about Ayelt and Trientje (Ubben) Gerdes who were early 18th century residents of Wiesens, Ostfriesland, Germany.

It’s not unusual to be descended from the same couple more than once, particularly when your relatives were from a small village and rarely moved a distance from their home. In my case, even though there was immigration to the United States, many residents of the village these people were from settled in the same rural area–increasing the chance of eventually inter-marrying with a fellow descendant.

“Cousin Statistics” (on the International Society of Genetic Genealogy Wiki at suggests the following probability of having DNA from:

  • a 6th great-grandparent as being 82.24%
  • a 7th great-grandparent as being 62.57%

Those are still fairly high percentages even if I only descended from the individuals one time. But that’s still no guarantee that I have any of their DNA. I descend from four grandchildren of Ayelt and Trientje, but only from three of their great-grandchildren since two of their great-grandchildren (first cousins Christina and Ayelt as shown in the chart) married each other.

I could easily share a piece of Ayelt and Trientje’s DNA with other descendants. From the standpoint of analyzing my DNA results that’s something of a problem because for me that DNA could pass through three distinct lines in my ancestry. That makes analyzing my matches a little more problematic.

This is one reason why when your people lived in the same small place for generations analyzing your matches is somewhat more challenging.

As for the chart I made–sometimes it easier to draw things out on pencil and paper. This one was not to difficult to draw the first time. The individuals I descend from seven times were a little bit harder to map out.


4 thoughts on “My 7th, 7th, 6th and 6th Great-Grandparents

  1. My Scottish ancestors (on my mother’s side) came to the American Colonies early in the 1700s along with friends and relatives and boy did they intermingle. Two brothers married two ladies who were cousins to each other. Then a son of one couple married a daughter from the other. First Cousins! Not that uncommon back then and earlier also.
    So if you run across some Duncans who seem a little odd…well we descendants are.
    My dad’s Dutch ancestors also intermarried often.

  2. Michael John I’ve enjoyed your articles for many years. Our family lived in Illinois (Quincy, Champaign, Springfield and then back in Champaign) from 1967 to 2013 when I moved to Utah after my first wife (from Finland) died.

    • Thanks for reading. Quincy’s not that far from where a fair amount of my family lived. I’m glad to hear you enjoy the postings!

  3. My wife and I didn’t know it at the time we married, but she is my 4th cousin once removed on her father’s side and my 5th cousin once removed on her mother’s side. That makes our sons my double cousins too — freaks them out!

    And so far, I’ve discovered a cousin relationship to about a quarter of my high school classmates (a small rural school). Prior to the early 1900’s, boys interested in courting girls couldn’t go far and there weren’t many to choose from, so many people married distant cousins (and some not so distant).

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