Woman who researched her husband's genealogy 'alarmed' after discovering they're related

Couple stare in shock at laptop screen
The woman discovered she and her husband were related after researching his maternal family line. Photo credit: Getty Images

A US woman who researched her husband's genealogy was shocked to discover that she had more in common with her spouse than first thought.

The deep-dive into her husband's family history was spurred after the couple - also parents to a young daughter - discovered they both had Native American ancestry, eventually leading to the revelation that they also shared a relative. 

Sharing her story anonymously via social media, the woman said they had been married for over a year when her husband learned he was descended from the Seminole - a Native American people predominantly based in Oklahoma and Florida - on his mother's side. 

The woman told her husband she also had Native American ancestry, with ties to the Chickasaw - an indigenous peoples traditionally based in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee - on her maternal side.

"I'm from Oklahoma and he's from Pennsylvania. The possibility of us being related wasn't even a thought to me," she explained on the popular Reddit forum, TIFU.

Intrigued by the commonality, the woman decided to research her husband's maternal genealogy, which confirmed his great-great grandfather was Seminole and his grandmother was born in Oklahoma on Seminole territory. 

But after looking back a little further, the woman was alarmed to discover her mother's maiden name in her husband's family tree, with his relatives also born on Chickasaw territory in Oklahoma.

"At this point my adrenaline kicks in and I immediately jump back to my mother's family tree. And there I found her. The woman that connects us."

The woman realised that her great grandmother was her husband's great grandaunt.

"The first thing I thought of was my MIL [mother-in-law] saying, 'I feel like she's a part of me', when we first met. Heh. Funny how that works," she said.

"No going back now. We're married AND we have a daughter together. It really is a small world."

In an edit to her post, the woman clarified she was not disturbed by the discovery, just "really shocked".

Couple staring at laptop in shock
The couple had been married for more than a year and had a child together when they made the discovery. Photo credit: Getty Images

After sharing her story to the forum, a number of readers were quick to reassure the woman that being distantly related to a spouse was not a reason to panic.

"It's fine, don't flip out over it. People tend to generally stay in one geographic area, lots of people all around you are distantly related somehow. Practically can't avoid it," one person commented.

"They say it's okay to marry your fourth cousin, but after the first three you really should stop counting," another advised.

"My husband and I did this too but found out I'm distantly related to his best friend," a third said.

A fourth wrote: "That's actually kinda cool. I can see why it might disturb you at first. But your kid will have quite an interesting ancestry of being two tribes."

"This happened with my parents after 40+ years of marriage and two kids. My mom, while playing on Ancestry a couple of years ago, found out they are distant cousins," another shared.

"My dad still thinks it is hilarious and continually calls my mom 'cousin'."