Friday, March 14, 2014

My connection to A.J. Jacobs in the global family tree!

Background Info

In case you haven't heard, A.J. Jacobs (author of The Know-It-All, The Year of Living Biblically, and Drop Dead Healthy) has a new project: connecting himself to as many people as possible in the global family tree! So right now, tonnes of people are working on A.J.'s tree, trying to connect it to their own. All of this is leading up to the Global Family Reunion that will be held in New York on June 6, 2015.

I'm a huge fan of A.J. Jacobs, so I was super excited when I heard about this project! And even more excited when I met A.J. at RootsTech in February!

Yeah, that happened!

WikiTree's Global Family Reunion Project

This whole idea just happens to perfectly match WikiTree's goal of building one worldwide family tree, so it was only natural for us to start a Global Family Reunion Project there. That's been going extremely well, with all sorts of connections being made. You can get updates on our progress in the Google+ Community.

Finding My Connection

I'd been contributing to the tree where I could, and keeping an eye out for any French-souding names in hopes of finding a French Canadian connection. I got my hopes up when I came across a Toussaint family, but that led me back to an immigrant from the Netherlands.

Finally, a connection was found to a French Canadian family. As I expected would happen as soon as a French Canadian popped up, I very quickly connected that tree to mine! Erin had found the path from A.J. to Josiah Rising Raizenne. Josiah's great great grandson's wife is my 5th cousin, 4 times removed!

So, here's the path from me to A.J. Jacobs:

Lianne Lavoie (me) -> my father, Louis Gilbert Lavoie -> his mother, Clemence Wilhelmina Marguerite Richard -> her mother, Marie Alberta "Bertha" Daigneault -> her father, Narcisse Daigneault -> his father, Anselme Daigneault -> his father, Louis Daigneault -> his father, Pierre Deneau -> his father, Jacques Deniau -> his father, Pierre Deniau -> his brother, René Deniau -> his son, Jean-Baptiste Deniau -> his son, Joseph Deniau -> his daughter, Josephe Deniau -> her daughter, Marie Josephe "Angelique" Bissonnette -> her daughter, Angele Andre dit St. Amant -> her husband, Guillaume Seguin -> his father, Guillaume Seguin -> his father, Guillaume Seguin -> his mother, Marie Anne Raizenne -> her father, Josiah Rising Raizenne -> his father, John Rising -> his wife, Mary Claflin Rising -> her brother, Daniel Claflin -> his son, Robert Claflin -> his son, Daniel Claflin-> his daughter Phoebe Claflin Sprague -> her son, Almon Sprague -> his wife, Lucy Bentley Sprague -> her brother, Orlando Bentley -> his wife, Caroline Sears Bentley -> her sister, Elizaette Sears Austin -> her son, Duane S. Austin -> his son, Lloyd Austin -> his daughter, Gertrude Austin English -> her husband, James A. English -> his father, John Royal English -> his mother, Alice Parker Finnell -> her husband Ashford Bartlett Finnell -> his sister, Nora Finnell Ayers -> her husband, Frank C. Ayers -> his father, George Ayers -> his wife, Nancy Morrison Ayers -> her daughter, Nellie Crowley Kuntz -> her husband, Edward Kuntz -> his sister, Emma Kuntz Ferrell -> her daughter, Georgia Ferrell Hirsch Takacs -> her husband, Irwin Hirsch -> his mother, Harriet Friedenheit Hirsch -> her sister, Sophie Friedenheit Kingsbacher (AJ's 2nd great grandmother).

Or, to write that the (slightly) shorter way, I'm A.J.'s 1st cousins 3x removed's wife's uncle's wife's mother's husband's son's wife's brother's wife's grandson's wife's great great aunt's husband's sister's husband's great great great aunt's husband's great great great grandson's wife's 5th cousin 4x removed.

So, basically, we're practically cousins!

As for accuracy, the link from me back through my Deniau ancestors is all from my personal research, which I'm quite confident in. I think most of the path from Josiah Raizenne to A.J. Jacobs was done by members of the Global Family Reunion Project, and from what I've seen that means it's probably pretty solid. The remaining French Canadian bit of the path was already on WikiTree, and not well-sourced, but it does seem to match what's on Nos Origines, which seems to always be right.

So, I'm fairly confident in this path being accurate. But just to be safe, my next task as part of this project will be to go along this line adding all the sources I can, and branching out from it as well to help others connect to the global tree more easily.

I'm thrilled that my connection wound up being through my Daigneault line! The more recent part of that line, once they're in Manitoba, is a personal favourite of mine. I've often thought if I ever did a one name study it would probably be on the Daigneaults.

If you're interested in finding your connection to A.J. Jacobs, and you aren't already on, I highly recommend signing up! It's free, and with so many connections being made to his tree there you're bound to find yours!


  1. This is fantastic! And practically cousins? I think practically brother and sister. I knew you were family as soon as I met you in Salt Lake City and we both ordered vegetarian options at the restaurant! So exciting.

  2. Lianne,

    I want to let you know that your blog is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!