Diane and I began to work together on the same office staff. Our offices were across the hall. Before long we realized we shared many interests. We were both musical, both creative, and we both loved to laugh. Often times we would finish each other’s sentences. We had similar health issues. We decided we must have been separated at birth…except I’m ten years older!
Diane knew I loved ancestry research, so I agreed to help her find out more about her family. She and her son soon were discovering their roots all the way into the 1400s. I decided to check on their progress. Quickly I began to recognize names of villages in England. And then one of their surnames popped off the page right before me! Wheeler! It couldn’t be!
Almost before I could take a breath, I saw the name of my 14th great grandfather. Wait a minute. Had I switched over to my ancestry tree? No, I still was on Diane’s chart!
Turns out, Diane and I are cousins….separated by 500 years!!
Henry and Mary Elizabeth Wheeler had three sons: John, Thomas, and Richard. The generations following Thomas’ line belong to Ruth Lampkin Packard. The line following John belong to Ruth’s friend, Diane Shipley Reed! Cousins separated by 500 years!!
Over two hundred years later, in 1634, Ruth’s line emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts Colony. In 1638, Diane’s line emigrated to Concord, Massachusetts Colony.
I wonder if these two English cousins knew each other when they settled in their new colony! They had journeyed over 3,000 miles. When Diane and I met, we were yet another 3,000 miles away from Massachusetts. So many people, years, miles, and experiences lay between these 14 generations. Our discovery is just one of many things that make ancestry research a labor of joyful love!
The list of characters who appear on our life’s stage:
Henry Wheeler(1416-1470) Cranfield, Bedfordshire, England. Our 14th gr-grandfather
Mary Elizabeth Cole (1438- 1475) Our 14th gr- grandmother
John Wheeler (1461-1500) Diane’s 13th great grandfather
Thomas Wheeler (1465-1546) Ruth’s 13th great grandfather
Obadiah Wheeler, “the immigrant” (1609-1671) Diane’s 9th great grandfather
John Wheeler, “the immigrant” (1591-1670) Ruth’s 9th great grandfather