A married couple were shocked after finding out they were related while pregnant with their first child. Marcella and Tage Hill, both 42, were browsing their family trees on an ancestry website called Family Search to get ideas for a name for their then-unborn first child. At first, they thought their great grandma just had the same name – but soon the penny dropped that they were actually related. Marcella and Tage discovered they had the same great-great-grandma, making them third-cousins.
Her grandpa and his grandma were first cousins. Initially they were worried about the health of their unborn baby, because Marcella was pregnant. But after getting reassurance there was no risk, they decided to name their daughter after their joint great-great-gran, Mary Jane Dollar.
Author and entrepreneur Marcella said: “I was on my laptop looking through my family’s names. He was on his laptop doing the same thing. And he was suddenly like, ‘that’s so funny, our great great grandparents had the same names’.
“At first, I thought that somehow he must be logged into my account. We both kept going back and forth thinking how could this be?
“But sure enough, we soon realised that my grandpa and his grandma were first cousins. It was super weird.”
Marcella called up her grandfather, Charles Phillips, 86, to ask if he knew Tage’s grandmother Doris Brimhall, who has since passed away. It turned out they knew they were cousins and had lived together as children in a town which now has a population of 165.
He remembered her for having long braids and she said he was “the good kid”. However, Marcella was unable to find out more about their joint grandparents – her and Tage’s great great grandparents. “At that point, once we’d got past the worry, it just seemed hilarious and strange,” she said.
Marcella and Tage, who works in hospitality, were both recently divorced when they met each other, and married 12 years ago, when they had no idea they were related. Their daughter, Jane, is now eight.
The proximity of their family trees has led to them being the butt of the joke among friends. “At a neighbourhood party one time, the hosts decided to play a funny game to find out who in the neighbourhood is most closely related,” Marcella said.
“Everyone used an app that can tell you who in the room has the same ancestral line, and of course my husband and I were by far the most closely related. They all cheered when we won.”
It has also caused amusement at family gatherings. “One time at a family reunion, my uncle had made a quiz about our family’s genealogy, and for one of the answers I was like, ‘that’s my husband’s great great grandpa!’,” she said.
They realised soon after dating they had both previously lived in the same town. Marcella said: “One time, we were at a reunion with my husband’s family watching old family movies, and I noticed that I had been to the house that I could see in the video. We then took a trip back to Cheyenne together, and the same family who I knew as a 30-year-old woman remembered my husband from when he was a kid.
“Our relationship was already super weird, but this just added an extra layer of crazy.”
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Marcella added: “Our relationship started because we came from two broken places. But us having this common ground of family kind of makes us feel like missing pieces came together to make a whole.”
First cousins share a grandparent, second cousins share a great-grandparent and third cousins share a great-great-grandparent.
*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.