Like several hundred (or a few thousand) other Australians who are descended from Stephen Tuckerman (b.1774 Nantucket, d.1803 off the coast of Chile) and Elizabeth Crouch (b.1783 London, d. 1855 Pitt Town, NSW), I’ve got a lot of North American ancestors going back to the early seventeenth century: families like the Chamberlains, Coffins, Daggetts, Gardners, Nowells, Shattucks, Severances, Starbucks and others. Naturally, you’d expect a few interesting connections from this. Two of my ancestors are Nathaniel Gardner (16 Nov 1669, Nantucket – 1713, Nantucket) and Abigail Coffin (1666 Nantucket – 1709, Nantucket). They happen to also be the ancestors of T.S. Eliot and Jesse James, the latter being my 4th cousin, five times removed. In addition to this, two of my other ancestors, Samuel Shattuck (1595? – 6 June 1698) and Damaris Gardner (1597 – 28 Nov 1674, Salem, Massachusetts) are also ancestors of T.S. Eliot and Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (Eliot and Pound were 7th cousins).  When we get to Ezra, things get interesting. He’s my 7th cousin thrice removed four times over and my eight cousin twice removed. Here are the common ancestors: Edward Starbuck Jr (1603-1690) and Katherine Reynolds; Nathaniel Gardner (1669-1713) and Abigail Coffin (1666-1709) (their son Ebenezer Gardner (1688-1763) is my 8th great grandfather and also the common ancestor of Halle Berry, Amy Poehler and Jesse James); James Coffin (1640-1720) and Mary Severance (1645-1720); Samuel Shattuck (1595?-1698) and Damaris Sibley (1597-1674) (also the ancestors of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jack London, Rita Hayworth and William H. Macy etc); Thomas Gardner (1592-1674) and Margaret Friar (1594-1636) (also the ancestors of Andrew Jackson, James Fenimore Cooper, John Adams etc). Where would we be without those assiduous American genealogists?

I don’t know if T.S. and Ezra knew they were related; if they did, they might have known that T.S. was Shakespeare’s 7th cousin 8 times removed, but Ezra had claims to be his 1st cousin 9 times removed (this is uncertain, based on a supposition that his ancestor Lettice Drake was the daughter of Henry Shakespeare, the bard’s nephew). Obviously, T.S. made a typo when he dedicated The Waste Land to Ezra as ‘il miglior fabbro’ – he really meant to write ‘il miglior cuz-bro’. Yo.

Other relatives include Edmund Blacket, a great-great-great-uncle; Patrick Blackett, a 2nd cousin, awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1946; Stan Grant, the journalist, is a 5th cousin; Henry IV and Edward V are great uncles, and Henry VIII, Richard III, Edward IV, and Edward VI are all first cousins at many removes (not so surprising, really – it’s estimated that the probability of people of English descent born after 1947 NOT being descended from Edward III is about 0.5% – or even less. To put it in perspective, T.S. Eliot, FDR and Jesse James are descendants of Edward III, but Ezra Pound isn’t, only able to manage a third cousinage); Fulke Greville, second cousin at a considerable remove; Darby O’Grady, The O’Grady, is my 8th great-grandfather; and Oliver Cromwell (uncle to the Lord Protector) is my 11th great-grandfather. But Jesse James, fourth cousin five times removed, is my fave of all time, dead or alive.