GRAY FAMILY HISTORY

This site is based on research performed by dozens of folks and compiled by Gary E. Gray. Please feel free to contribute any new or additional information you may have. I would especially like to receive pictures or copies of original documents from folks in this database.

I am interested in both family history and finding current relatives. A lot of people conduct ancestry searches just to see how far back they can go. This is interesting to me, but I'd also like to know more about my ancestral history. I am also always intrigued at finding living relatives I was unaware of. Most people don't even know their second or third cousins, yet 2nd cousins are 25% "blood relatives", and 3rd cousins are 12.5% "blood relatives"... a fairly strong relationship.

As of early 2004 this site is just shaping up. So, bear with me as I develop this site. Attention: On several links below, living individuals' names are included. Family Tree Maker's "privatize" feature eliminates notes, dates, etc. on living individuals. It does NOT remove the first names. If there is an individual or individuals (yourself or one or more of your family members) whose first name(s) you want removed PLEASE let me know!

THIS LINK is the only one that goes to the entire database (including Maley and Swengel), including notes.

THIS LINK goes to a slide show of the various Mayflower lines from my Gray family, as well as some notable relatives.

There are several obviously notable individuals within this family history. But there are also other lesser-knowns who are also notable. For example, Kenelm Winslow (b. 1599) is best known for simply being the brother of Massachusetts Governor Edward Winslow (of course, that makes Edward a relation, but not a direct ancestor). However, Kenelm made a mark of his own, holding several offices in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This is just one interesting example; there are many others.

In the future I plan on adding a page of these notable ancestors. But, I'll also add a page of other notable relations (not direct ancestors)... like Governor Edward Winslow, and like Captain Robert Gray who was the first of European descent to discover the Columbia River in the Northwestern U.S. Cousins are important because they are no less related than direct ancestors. Ancestors may be more "important" to making us who we are today, since they were directly involved in the upbringing of our parents, grandparents, etc. So, ancestors are more important, but cousins are equally related. Do the math... you are one-eight of each of your great-grandparents, three generations back from you. A third cousin (zero times removed) is, by definition, a great-grandchild of a sibling of one of your great-grandparents. Since siblings are 100% blood relatives (because they come from identical parentage), your third cousin has the same one-eight relation to you great-grandparent as you do. So, you are one-eighth related to your great-grandparent and, equally, one-eighth related to your third cousin.

So how far back is it "worth" going? That's a matter of opinion. For 10% "blood relations" that's three to four generations back. 5% relations is four to five generations. 1% is six to seven generations. Going back too far reaches a point where it is actually unlikely that you share any genes with a direct ancestor. It's estimated that there are roughly 30,000 human genes. If genes are handed down perfectly proportioned generation to generation (highly unlikely), one gene would be handed down from each individual roughly 15 generations back. 16 generations means less than a 50% chance of gene inheritance from any particular individual. So, back beyond 15 or 16 generations is somewhat pointless (albeit interesting). 16 generations is, roughly, 480 years. Adding in the current generation, that essentially means going back to the year 1500. There are a ton of assumptions here, but, as a general rule, some genetics would be shared with most ancestors back to 1500 (as well as most cousins up to 16th cousins).

Please click on the "contact" link below to send me comments, information, or to request the removal of the first name of a living individual.

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