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Monday, September 21, 2015

How Many First Cousins did my Maternal Grandmother Have?

I have been curious about this for some time now. My Grandmother was born in Dorchester NB and lived there until she was about 10 years old.  When she was seven, her father was lost at sea, somewhere off the coast of Cape Cod. This left them with no income or insurance money to help out. When she was nine, her little brother died from Scarlet Fever, at almost three years of age.  This left my Grandmother and her mother very much alone, which prompted them to move to the States, first to Bath, ME, then to East Boston, MA and eventually to Winthrop, MA, a peninsula in Boston Harbor. I believe they did travel back and forth a few times and relatives did come to Winthrop to visit, but I don’t think it was often. Therefore, my Grandmother had little opportunity to know just who her cousins were. I never heard her talk about very many cousins. There were a few that kept in touch, but not many. I thought it would be fun to see just how many cousins she actually had.

Alvina Chambers Broderick In Winthrop MA

My Grandmother was born Alvina Chambers at Cole’s Point (this is what she called it), in Dorchester NB in 1880. Her mother was Rebecca Ellen Cole and her father was Alexander Scott Chambers. Rebecca was one of 9 children, being the fifth child and smack in the middle of the pack. Three of her older siblings died, two as teenagers and the other at age 24. This left Rebecca with one older sibling, Lucinda, who, with her husband William Buck, had 10 children, but only 3 survived to adulthood.  Rebecca’s younger four siblings had 12 surviving children, collectively, making 15 first cousins when you include Lucinda’s three.

They were:
Lucinda Cole Buck-
          Arabella Buck Lawrence
          Edward L. Buck
          Wildie Buck Ward
Edward Cole –
          Mabel Cole Dooe
          Harley Cole
          Catherine Cole Houghton
          Edgar Cole
          Alice Cole Marney
          Margaret (Luella) Cole Elder
          Marion Cole Morine
Mary (Mame) Cole Muldoon –
          Walter Cole (Illeg.)
Emma Cole Cole (She married her 2nd cousin)
          George Cole
Margaret (Maggie) Cole Mitton –
          James Mitton
          William Mitton
          Hedley Mitton

Rebecca’s husband, Alexander Chambers, was the oldest child in his family. According to the 1910 census, his mother gave birth to 13 children, but by the time of that census only 4 were still living.

The Chambers children were –
Emma Chambers Hicks –
          Ada Hicks
          Stella Hicks
Nancy Lavinia Chambers Vincent –
          William Vincent
          Elizabeth Vincent
          Lena Vincent
          Alice Vincent
          Rupert (Roy) Vincent
          Phoeby Vincent
William Chambers –
          Frederick Chambers
          Ethel Chambers
          Gertrude Chambers
          Wilma Chambers
          Bessie Chambers
          Ida Chambers
          Walter Chambers
          Albert Chambers
Ella May Chambers Turner Tavernor
          Clara Turner
          Myrtle Turner
          Walter Tavernor

This list is as accurate as I can make it concerning the children who reached adulthood.. I’ve used Vital Records, census records, cemetery records and any other reliable source I can find to gather this information. Other sources indicate up to 15 children died before reaching their teens. These have not been counted in the final tally. On the maternal side it appears that my Grandmother had 15 1st cousins and on her paternal side, she had 19 for a grand total of 34 1st cousins. I believe she knew of most of her Cole cousins but probably only a few of her Chambers cousins. This woman, who grew up an only child, had a very large, extended family.

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