What is your first instance of Pedigree Collapse?

+15 votes
My first known location of Pedigree Collapse occurs with my 6th Great grandparents.  Elijah Ricker is the brother of Nancy Ann Ricker both are children of John K Ricker and Mary Delilah Lyles.  Thus my Grandmother, Bertha McCoy and my Grandfather, her husband, Virgil Melvin Stills share common ancestors.  They are 3rd Cousins.

Where does your occur?
asked in The Tree House by Michael Stills G2G6 Pilot (348k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Oh, don't ask that question to an Acadian! LOL!
Wasn't aware of a name for those tangled branches on my tree - thank you Michael :D

I am not sure if this works, let me know.

Here is a link to a screen shot of my RootsMagic Software.  I did a relationship calculator and discovered that I am related to myself many times over.  Many are from Tennessee.


I once had a handwritten tree with 15 (?) generations.  There were several collapses.That tree is packed somewhere.

Is there way to find this information on WikiTree without testing the relationships of many ancestors?
Nifty RootsMagic feature - not as many cousin connections as I thought there would be. I'm my 5th cousin, 8th (twice) and my 9th cousin.  Guess most of the entanglements are my ancestors siblings which I've deleted from the RootsMagic program.
Kristina, The main Wikitree chart shows 5 generations and the Compact Family Tree shows 8.  There is no other way to see more generations one page.  You would need to expand each end of the branch one at a time.
Rolling on the floor laughing, I have so many pedigree collapse items my tree looks like a plate of spaghetti in parts.  The worst offender, if I may so term him, is a man who married twice, had oodles of children.  He is my 8th  great-grandfather and 9th great-grandfather 4 times through 4 of his children from his first wife, and another time 8th ggf through one of his children with his second wife.  There are repeat scenarios all over my tree, the most recent being the fact that my nephew and niece through my oldest brother are also my 4th cousins.
Are you saying that you descend from this 8th or 9th great grandfather in five distinct paths?

I have a similar situation.  I suspect that the amount of DNA I have from this ancestor is five times the amount I would expect to get.   

Then, when I find a cousin, the DNA comparison software is fooled by the over abundance of DNA from this ancestor. What is the best way to measure the "degree of relationship " ?  Should we use cM figures? I share  2654 cM with Jeff and 1994 with Susan.   Therefor I am more closely related to Susan.
Yes, 5 of his children are my direct ancestors.

Degree of relationship becomes quite the poser with multiple kinship.  I have an Australian cousin with whom I am related through her mother's line (both sides for me).  Back in the era where all the connections happen that connect us, I have repeatedly gotten myself into pedigree collapse, for example I am descended from 2 of Philippe Matou's daughters, my cousin from a third.  Repeat the scenario with 2 Garnier sisters for me, my cousin having the 3rd.  We have others also.  It's all pretty far back in time, and wikitree program will only calculate the closest relationship, which works out to 9th cousins or so.  But multiply that by the number of common ancestry we have, and it gets closer to 7th cousins.

lol Michael ... "I am related to myself many times over" 

I recently discovered I am a cousin of my daughters :/ It turns out I am related to their dad via his gt grandfather, and with that, cousin to my mother-in-law, which without meaning to sound rude, just honest, did not give me a buzz. 

13 Answers

+6 votes
My 4th great grandparents are distant cousins, Silvanus Conant and Silvia Conant. They share the same great grandparents, Nathaniel Conant and his wife, Hannah Mansfield.
answered by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
+6 votes
My ancestors that settled on Shelter & Gardiners Island - Long Island Ny were an interesting bunch to put it mildly.
answered by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.2m points)
+12 votes
Despite my "Don't ask" comment I added to the question, I'll give an answer anyway.

Let me start by stating that I am an Acadian, which is an endogamous population, which means my ancestors had limited choice when finding a partner, so distant cousins often married.

So, my parents are 5th cousins, and my grandparents are second cousins once removed on one side and third cousins on the other side.

I do have to say that those multiple common ancestors do make it easier to fill out multiple generations of my tree!
answered by Roland Arsenault G2G6 Mach 5 (52.4k points)
I don't know Roland, it sounds a lot like the Appalachian Mountains.  I never met so many "cousins" as when I went to Greeneville, TN.  I am my own 5th cousin.

My belief is that this is more common than people think for the very reason you stated.
Yup, I think it's common with many group of settlers who moved to new lands.
+7 votes

Since my paternal grandparents were first cousins already I have given up on identifying the numerous distant cousin marriages in my tree. In my area of origin the majority of people were serfs prior to 1848, so they could not move without permission and if some family lives in a village for 5 generations what's the likelyhood they are not related to the rest of the village? Or the half a dozen or more adjoining villages?

answered by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (430k points)
Same for me. My greatgrandmother comes from a village, and I found the family book online and extended the tree. Doing that I thought I must be related nearly literally to the whole village. One of her aunts moved after her marriage in the neighbor village. Yay  thanks, I'm related to at least a third of them too....
+7 votes

Well, the most recent fairly close relationship between spouses in my tree is between my great great grandparents, Albert Richard and Arthemise Ducharme, who were second cousins. But since my dad's side is completely French, inevitably I ended up finding a connection between my grandparents on that side. They were 7th cousins, once removed.

answered by Lianne Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (413k points)
+4 votes

My great-grandparents were 3rd cousins actually.

My great-grandma's parents were 2nd cousins and my great-grandpa's parents were also 3rd cousins.

All in all, I have no idea how much DNA that equals that I've got more than I should lol.

answered by S G G2G6 (7.1k points)
+2 votes
Well my husbands parents (Acadian and Quebecois naturally) were both 3rd and 4th cousins to each other - several times over.

On my side, the closest I have was my great-grandfathers sister who married their first cousin.

Fortunately there is NO pedigree collapse in my DIRECT lines - that I am aware of. I only have 6 out of 8 known great grandparents.
answered by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (348k points)
+3 votes
Yea.  I'm related to pretty much everyone in this cemetery.  And they are all related to each other.  So many consanguineous marriages that I've taken to noting who their common ancestor was on their profile.  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Scottish_Cemetery%2C_Caledonia%2C_Illinois
answered by Joelle Colville-Hanson G2G6 (9.3k points)
+2 votes
I think I only have ONE case of pedigree collapse - that I am aware of.

My 4x great grandfather married his FIRST COUSIN!



Which means Thomas and Sophia SHARED one set of grandparents.

MM Why did I not know this back in March?? LOL

These profiles were made in January!!!
answered by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (348k points)
+1 vote
It happened multiple time in my paternal tree. My grandparents err first cousins once removed. It also happened before their generation.
answered by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (135k points)
+3 votes
I don't know if that qualifies as Pedigree Collapse, but my 4x grandmother is at the same time my 5x grandmother if you go to the neighbour branch.
answered by Jelena Eckst├Ądt G2G6 Mach 1 (17.4k points)
That is indeed an instance of pedigree collapse. All the term means is that you don't have completely different ancestors at all points in your tree. It frequently has to go. back a ways before it occurs but sometimes is recent.
Mine is pretty recent.  My father's half-sister is his 3rd cousin.  My grandmother married twice, once to each 2nd cousin.
+1 vote
My fifth Great Grandmother Cornelia Swartwout was born in 1663 - her mother Eva Alberts AKA Eva Albertse Bradt had remarried to Roeloff Swartwout after her first husbands death in 1655.

Another daughter of hers Helenora de Hooges was born to Eva and her first husband Anthonius de Hooges in 1655, the year he died - she is a sixth great grandmother because

her grandaughter Johanna Decker and Cornelia's son Henricus Van Schoonhoven got together(first cousins once removed) and Jan Schoonhoven was born in 1699 - and he was my moms dads great grandfather - or my third great grandfather
answered by Navarro Mariott G2G6 Mach 2 (25.3k points)
+1 vote
There is pedigree collapse on both sides of my paternal grandfather's family.  His paternal grandparents (2nd great-grandparents to me) were first cousins.  In his mother's family tree, there are 16 people who each appear three times.  The cause: my 6th great-grandfather married his first cousin, and their son (my 5th great-grandfather) married his second cousin, descended from the same great-grandparents.
answered by K Yager G2G3 (3.5k points)
edited by K Yager

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