Yesterday James Tanner wrote in his "Rejoice and Be Exceeding Glad" blog about the new beta site for RelativeFinder.org.
I logged into the site with my FamilySearch.org account and was presented with a list of 1,790 cousins. Many of those listed were noteworthy in a way that would be interesting to me as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But many were noteworthy as classical music composers, presidents of the United States, Founding Fathers, Inventors, European Royalty, Mayflower descendants, etc.
My personal research over the years revealed some of these relationships, but there's no way I'd have ever discovered my connection to most of the individuals listed.
Two of the names were of particular interest to me, and they aren't who you'd expect me to find significant.
This chart shows that my ninth cousin is Dennis Brimhall. I'm particularly pleased to be related to him because he's the CEO and Managing Director of FamilySearch International. When we attended RootsTech a few years ago I took this picture of my husband visiting briefly with Mr. Brimhall.
There was a time about a decade ago that Mr. Brimhall and a Church colleague Tad Callister visited Canon City, CO and were guest speakers in our church service. At that time he was employed as the CEO of the Colorado University Hospital in Denver, CO. When I met Dennis at RootsTech I told him I remembered his visit with us here at church in Canon City.
I think Dennis has done great things as the CEO of Family Search and I'm proud to be even distantly related to him. We obviously share a love for our families and their histories.
I was also touched to discover that I'm also a ninth cousin of Elder David Allan Bednar, one of the General Authorities of our LDS Church.
I've admired Elder Bednar and learned so much that is meaningful to me through his talks at our church's General Conferences.
As you can see in the above charts, I'm related to each of these gentlemen through the ancestral lineage of my maternal grandfather Milo Flanders. That's possible because it was my Flanders ancestors who settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony from Belgium. My other family lines immigrated in the 1800s and early 1900s from Germany and Russia.
I know as 9th cousins we won't be attending any family reunions together, but I also know that good Christian blood runs through my veins and for that I'm blessed and proud.