Surprise! My Great Grandparents are Cousins

Surprise! My Great Grandparents are Cousins

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That sound you heard? That was my DNA imploding. It was the moment I realized that my great grandparents who married in Hawaii were cousins. Distant cousins, but cousins none-the-less.

I’m Off on a Tangent

As many readers know, I have ancestors from the Azores Islands. I was working in the records for the village of Achada on my Mello line and became interested in a man named Manoel Pacheco de Rezendes. I wondered if Manoel was related to my ancestor, Antonio Pacheco de Rezendes, of Maia.

One thing lead to another, smoke was steaming out of my ears, but I still didn’t have my answer.

I took a peek in Rodrigo Rodrigues’ book Genealogias das Ilhas de S. Miguel and Santa Maria to see if he’d done the hard work for me.

I sure was surprised at what I found!

A Little Geography

This map shows the distance between two villages, Achada (Nordeste) and Maia (Ribeira Grande).  This gives you an idea of where the two families lived.


Genealogias de Sao Miguel e Santa Maria

I lucked out!  Manoel’s line is in Rodrigues’ book. I followed it back each generation. Then, I saw it.

These names…

Manoel Rebello and Maria Soares

These are my people!

Manoel and Maria were married in Maia in 1698. I descend from their son Manoel Rebello Carneiro. Manoel Pacheco de Rezendes descends from their son Joze Soares Carneiro. Yeah, I know. Names don’t match. It’s best if you just ignore it.

Using the nifty relationship calculator in RootsMagic, I can see how my ancestor Antonio Pacheco de Resendes and Manoel Pacheco de Rezendes are related.

relationship chart between two pacheco de resendes
RootsMagic relationship charts are the easy way to show how people are related

My 4th great grandfather, Antonio, and the Manoel I was following are third cousins, once removed.  Antonio’s line stayed in Maia. Manoel’s line ended up in Achada.

Here’s Where I Come In Again
As I followed this line in the book, another couple jumped off the pages and hit me square in the forehead:  Barbara da Silva and Manoel de Mello.

Barbara da Silva was my 4th great grandmother. She was born in Achadinha in 1768 and married Manoel de Mello of Achada in 1794. They raised their family in Achada.

Barbara was the great granddaughter of Manoel Rebello and Maria Soares.

This means she and Manoel Pacheco de Rezendes were cousins. 2nd cousins, once removed, to be exact.

This means that my two ancestors, Antonio Pacheco de Resendes and Barbara  da Silva, are also cousins.

Azorean cousin chart
My Azorean ancestors were cousins

This means, I am my own cousin…again.

It All Started in the 1600s

Let’s back up a bit to explain it all.

Antao Rebello Teixiera married Margarida da Costa Carneiro. They had two sons: Tomaz da Costa Carneiro and Manoel Rebello.

Tomaz’s line stays in Maia and is the basis of the Pacheco de Rezendes and Pacheco Remigio lines of Maia.

Manoel Rebello left for Achada. Several of his children were born there. They are the basis of the surnames Soares Rebello, Soares Carneiro, Soares de Rezendes, and other combinations in Achada.

Do you notice that both sons are in blue?  Blue is the color I’ve designated for my ancestors. 

brothers are ancestors to me
These two brothers are both my ancestors

I am descendant from both of them.  One spawns my de Braga line and the other my Pacheco line.

It All Comes Together in Hawaii

Pay close attention because this gets complicated.

Both these brothers’ lines stayed pretty much in Achada or Maia.  Then, the Hawaii Sugar Plantation Era burst on the scene.

In 1882, Jozimas de Braga and Maria da Conceicao de Mello of Maia left for Hawaii. Jozimas is a descendant of Tomas da Costa Carneiro’s line. Jozimas is my great great grandfather.

In 1882, Anna Jacinta (de Mello) Pacheco of Achada left for Hawaii. Anna is a descendant of Maneol Rebello’s line. Anna is my great great grandmother.

These families ended up on the Kilauea Sugar Plantation where Theodoro Pacheco and Maria Espirito Santo de Braga met as children. In December of 1895 they married at St. Sylvester’s Church.

great grandparents are cousins
My Azorean great grandparents were cousins but didn’t know it

They were cousins. 6th cousins and 11th cousins once removed.

It’s Amazing, Isn’t It?

I often get lost in thought over how many ancestor migrations it took to make me. I believe it was 18.

If Jozimas de Braga and Anna Jacinta (de Mello) Pacheco hadn’t signed sugar plantation contracts and migrated to Hawaii and ended up on that one plantation on that one island, it’s quite possible that my great grandparents would have never met.

Theodoro would have married someone in Achada or in his father’s village of Fenais da Vera Cruz (aka Fenais d’Ajuda). Maria would have married someone in Maia.

They could have ended up on different plantations or different islands.

But, they didn’t.

They came together in Kilauea. Most likely unaware that somewhere way back in their trees they were related.

Their 5th great grandfathers were brothers.

It’s pretty cool when you think about the odds.

It’s also why when I plug my own name into the relationship tool, it comes out like this…

my relationship chart to myself
I am my own cousin, I have proof!

Proof that I am my own cousin.  Can you tell I like to play with the RootsMagic relationship tool??

Yes, that sound you heard was my DNA imploding. It makes me realize the challenge I’m going to have separating my paternal Azorean line from my maternal Azorean when trying to determine matches.

As if I needed anything else to make it more complicated.

Are you your own cousin? Tell us about it in the comments. I can’t be the only one 😉

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