Family Fair

One of the main reasons I got into genealogy was because by drawing a few branches of the family tree I could clarify for my daughter and her family how they were related to various individuals they met whenever they visited England. The English contingent were always well aware of who their Swiss relatives were, but it was sometimes a little confusing for the Swiss side because both my parents came from large families and I have countless cousins. Hard for my children to remember who belonged to whom when they only met up with them once in a blue moon.

I was reminded of this yesterday, as we enjoyed a lovely family barbecue in the garden of my cousin’s daughter S. Currently, my eldest granddaughter and her two little ones are visiting us. S has two little girls approximately the same age as my great-grandson Severin, and her brother A has a little boy who was born only a few days after Severin.Image1012

The question of the degree of consanguinity arose a year ago, on their last visit, and I concluded that Severin and Mireille are fourth cousins once removed of yesterday’s playmates. Many will argue that this is hardly any blood relationship at all, with barely any shared genes, but that doesn’t bother the kids. Severin is their Swiss cousin, somewhat exotic because he speaks a strange language, but that was no barrier to them playing merrily together and he is still enamoured of the little strawberry blonde he fell in love with last year. Great-granddaughter Mireille is everyone’s darling, not only when she’s asleep!


My mother used to have a friend who referred to me as “Auntie’s little girl”. When she met my daughter, we laughingly explained that this was “Auntie’s little girl’s little girl”. She would have been amazed yesterday to see my mother with “Auntie’s little girl’s little girl’s little girl’s little girl” – her great-great-granddaughter.  And even though my daughter wasn’t there, her generation was represented by my cousin’s son and daughter so it was, in fact, a five-generation picnic. And a wonderful time was had by all!

I wasn’t taking photos because the sun was too bright for my phone camera – others were, and I’m relying on them to supply me with a family group on which some of us will be grinning like idiots and others grimacing like monkeys. I know from experience that it’s virtually impossible to take a photo of 15 people all looking civilised, especially when half of them are children. But isn’t that precisely what makes such pictures worth keeping and sharing?

11 thoughts on “Family Fair

  1. Great pics and connections and yes those large group photos always get everyone talking as something in them always reminds us of some particular incident or person that did something to make the day memorable. It always amazes me how much more is remembered from viewing an old photo.

  2. I so enjoyed this – loved seeing all the little cousins together, that hasn’t happened for a long time! I was a few years older than the ones we had contact with, so I think it’s lovely that these are all of an age 😉 Look forward to seeing and hearing more of Saturday’s activities LOL

  3. ” . . . . her great-great-granddaughter”
    ” . . . . a five-generation picnic . . . .”
    ” Great-granddaughter Mireille is everyone’s darling, not only when she’s asleep!”

    I guess this lovely sleeping little girl in the picture would be your Mum’s great-great-granddaughter Mireille?

    Your Mum is very fortunate to have the pleasure of being surrounded by great-great-grandchildren! And you are already a great-grandma! A family of 15 (half of them children) all spending time together and enjoying each other’s company. That’s truly great! 🙂

    What a lovely picnic day for all of you. Thanks,Cat, for sharing.

  4. What a lovely event, and how nice and enriching to be in touch with cousins of so many levels of separation. I was at a gathering recently in which about 40 cousins were present, although there were many I did not really know, and will probably never see again, but it was still fascinating to think that we all shared some common ancestry.

    • I think we must have rabbit genes, there are so many of us! I have lots of cousins I have never even met … and they are mostly grandparents by now, so we could probably populate a small island! It’s fascinating to trace family resemblances, too.

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