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I'm Related to Him?

By Rebecca Price Janney, Oct 19 2017 05:18PM

A few months ago I discovered an interesting app related to my account with “We’re Related” tells subscribers whether or not they’re connected to famous people or folks who’ve friended them on Facebook. Since I was bitten by the genealogy bug nearly six years ago, I jump at opportunities to discover more about my family’s story, and this seemed like a wonderful way to find out more. I’ve not only found out the names of ancestors I’d never heard of, but been able to push back the information I have about my family to early Medieval Europe.

I’ve known for several years that some of my ancestors were connected to the 16th century Swiss Reformation, although I haven’t yet found out specifics. Ulrich Zwingli is one of my favorite figures from that place and time, and I’d love to find out I’m related to him. However, I didn’t have any idea my maternal grandmother’s line went straight back to Martin Luther himself! My jaw dropped when his portrait popped up on my screen with the information we’re first cousins, twelve generations removed. No wonder my own theology is heavily Reformed in its orientation! I come by this honestly.

In college I read a few books about Martin Luther and was fascinated by his story, his faith journey in particular. In commemoration of the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation on October 31, 2017, I’ll be blogging about Luther and his influence, not only on Western European history, but the American story.

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