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  #1  
Old 21 February 2013, 01:29 AM
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United States Oliver Wendell Holmes shook hands with JQA and JFK?

Comment: I just read online that Oliver Wendell Holmes had shaken hands
with both John Quincy Adams and John F. Kennedy:

http://kottke.org/12/01/president-jo...re-still-alive

This seems to be a revision from a claim on NPR that Oliver Wendell Holmes
"lived long enough" to have done so:

http://m.npr.org/news/Science/146534518

The second claim is demonstrably true; however, is there any evidence for
the first claim?
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  #2  
Old 21 February 2013, 01:44 AM
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Well if we are talking about OW Jr, the only way it would be possible would be if he encountered John Quincy Adams would be if he met him in the first 7 years of his life. During his last years of life he was a Congressman.

Holmes' father weas a doctor from Boston and while his son and JQA held similar views about slavery, I think the two meeting is unlikely. It's possible, but I can't find anything definitive.
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Old 21 February 2013, 02:46 AM
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Apparently OWH and JQA were distant relatives (fourth cousins once removed, I believe).

Quincy political family
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  #4  
Old 21 February 2013, 08:03 AM
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And I'm sure we're all on intimate terms with our fourth cousins once removed... That would be the fourth cousin of his father, right, which would mean his father's cousin's great-grandchild? Presumably John Quincy Adams's father's cousin's great-grandchild was Oliver Wendell Holmes?
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Old 21 February 2013, 01:17 PM
LizardWizard LizardWizard is offline
 
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Your father's cousin's great-grandchild would be your second cousin's grandchild, which is a second cousin twice removed.

A fourth cousin once removed is the child of your fourth cousin (or going in the other direction, the fourth cousin of your parent). In other words, fourth cousins once removed means that the great-great-great grandparents of one cousin are also the great-great-great-great grandparents of the other cousin.
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Old 21 February 2013, 01:46 PM
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Adams was Holmes's professor.
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Old 21 February 2013, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
And I'm sure we're all on intimate terms with our fourth cousins once removed..
Shaking hands is intimate?
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Old 21 February 2013, 02:45 PM
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I'm sure Richard meant knowing a 4th cousin at all - it happens, sure - but not terribly often.
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Old 21 February 2013, 02:49 PM
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Yes, but the original claim wasn't even that Holmes knew JQA in any meaningful way.

Really, their cousinship isn't relevant at all, and wouldn't necessarily be if they'd been first cousins.
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Old 21 February 2013, 03:33 PM
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One of my English professors once shook hands with Lord Byron, and I shook hands with him, so I'm one degree removed from Byron. Actually, Byron was dead at the time, interred in the family vault, but the vault had been opened for repairs (or so he told us), and he persuaded the caretaker to let him touch Byron's hand in a symbolic handshake.

I'm still not convinced, though.
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  #11  
Old 21 February 2013, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Shaking hands is intimate?
It depends how long you shake them...
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Old 21 February 2013, 04:38 PM
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Okay, on the JFK end. OWH lived till 1935 and JFK was born in 1917. So it is very possible that as a Harvard grad, JFK and OWH could have met. Did they?

Ali
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Old 21 February 2013, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
And I'm sure we're all on intimate terms with our fourth cousins once removed...
I think if my fourth cousin had been President of the US my father would've used any opportunity for me to meet him.
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Old 22 February 2013, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LizardWizard View Post
Your father's cousin's great-grandchild would be your second cousin's grandchild, which is a second cousin twice removed.

A fourth cousin once removed is the child of your fourth cousin (or going in the other direction, the fourth cousin of your parent).
I thought the "removed" part referred to generations away from you on your side, and the number was the generations on the other side. The children of my first cousins are my second cousins, not my second cousins once removed. And my parents' cousins are my first cousins once removed. Are you saying that rule changes after the first count?

I get that some people count by trying to match generations, so that the children of your first cousins would be your second cousins once removed, and the children of your parents' first cousins would be your second cousins. That's not the way we count in our family though, I don't think.

How do you get to be fourth cousins in your system? Apparently it only counts to "second". You're saying that the child of a first cousin is a second cousin, and then the child of the second cousin is still a second cousin, but a degree further removed. That can't be right. Our disagreement should be over whether they're fourth cousins once removed "upwards" (counting upwards by one generation for the removal), or fourth cousins twice removed "downwards" (counting upwards one generation and then downwards three generations).

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoitoider View Post
I think if my fourth cousin had been President of the US my father would've used any opportunity for me to meet him.
Assuming they even knew - I haven't a clue whether I've got any fourth cousins, or who they are.
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Old 22 February 2013, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
That would have had to be Holmes, Sr. not Holmes, Jr. But if his father know JQA it is possible that Holmes, Jr. met him as a child. And if JFK met Holmes, Jr. it was probably because of Joseph Kennedy who was an ambassador. Neither case sounds terribly far-fetched.

dewey
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  #16  
Old 22 February 2013, 09:41 PM
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Nth cousin is a function of the number of generations since the common grandparents (counting whichever cousin is the fewest generations if they are not of the same generation). If both cousins are of the same generation, first cousins share a pair of grandparents; second cousins share a pair of great-grandparents etc. My second cousins [0 generations removed] are the children of my parents' first cousins.

X times removed refers to the difference between the cousins in the number of generations since the common grandparents. My parents' cousins and I are first cousins once removed to each other. "First cousins" because our common ancestors are grandparents to one of us; and "once removed" because our common ancestors are great-grandparents (one generation different) to the other. My first cousins' grandchildren would be my first cousins [because our common ancestors are my grandparents] twice removed [because our common ancestors are their great-great-grandparents, two generations difference].

Fourth cousins would have common ancestors that are 3-g grandparents to one cousin and ≥3-g grandparents to the other.

Clear as mud?

Last edited by LizardWizard; 22 February 2013 at 09:53 PM.
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