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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cousins Hoarce and Adolphus Greeley

Okay, everyone this may make my mother-in-law's day.  It is one of those rare occasions where I prove and not destroy a family myth.  Love those kinds of days.

On one of the very first pieces of paper she gave me for my genealogy quest was an interesting hand written note.  It was the story of three brothers.   Stop laughing, you know who you are.  I will get to the three brothers in a  minute.

The note stated "Uncle Charlie told me this. -Ruth."  (Ruth Greeley was my mother-in-law's great aunt.)

The Greeley Tree
There were three Greeley brothers settled in New Eng. in early days

Horace                                                              Chas. Greeley, Sr.                                       General
Greeley                                                                   (deceased)                                             Greeley

3 gen. Chas. Greeley's alive
1. Supt. of U.S. Reform School
  District of Columbia
2. Grad of Maine State College

General Greeley
I know from researching the Greeley line that Charles Greeley was the Assistant Superintendent of the Boys School off of Bladensburg Road in Northeastern Washington, D.C.  The mystery that always hung in the air was the connection to Horace and the General.  Were they cousins through the same line?  Through Different lines?  Through three brothers?  I said stop laughing, it could happen.

In case you are not familiar with the two famous Greeley's listed here, let me catch you up.  Horace Greeley is largely famous for being the editor of the New York Tribune and is quoted as saying "Go west young man" in reference to western expansion.  General Greeley is Adolphus Washington Greeley known primarily for his polar exploration. 

Horace Greeley
I stumbled on the cousin connection to Horace Greeley this morning while I reading an older post from one of the blogs I like..  It was on the Nutfield Genealogy  blog .  It is written by Heather Rojo, and she only talks about this area’s history and genealogy in the blog.    In her post from March 12, 2010 she writes about Horace Greeley, in Horace Greeley Remembers, and at the bottom of the post is his lineage. 

I noticed something interesting looking at his lineage.  His 4th great grandfather is the same as my husbands 9th great-grandfather and immigrant ancestor Andrew Greeley.  That makes my husband and Horace 5th cousins 5 times removed.  Well what a surprise.  Now to figure out that pesky General Greeley connection.
A few months back one of my mother-in-laws cousins wrote to me about a book in the Library of Congress on the Greeley family genealogy.  Well, I was way to engrossed at the archives in March to get over to the library and have it on my plans to go over there this summer.  I looked for the book on Google Books at the time, but it is not open.  Today I got an itch to go see if I could find it somewhere else. It is!  You can find it online at Open LibraryGenealogy of the Greeley-Greely Family by George Hiram Greeley published in 1905.
Guess what... the General is 5th cousins 5 times removed to my husband also.  However, Horace and Adolphus both have one closer common ancestor than him, Andrew's grandson Benjamin, making them 2nd cousins.  My husband's line is through Andrews oldest son Philip.  Drawn out it looks like this:
Everyone likes having a famous cousin in the line don’t they??  Oh, and look, only 2 brothers make up the line... after they immigrated to the colonies.
Wikipedia Image:  General Greeley, Horace Greeley


  1. A.W. Greely (never spelled Greeley) traced his ancestors through the Greelys and Baltchs (Balchs) of Newburyport, Mass. If he was related to Horace, neither acknowledged it during their lifetimes.

    1. I have found both spellings of the name for the entire family, so I am never sure when (or who) decided to change spellings. My husbands great grandfather also changed the spelling in the 1890s to Greely from Greeley.

      I also am not surprised they did not acknowledge their relationship. After all they 3rd cousins and may not even have known of the relationship. Or it was a personal choice. Who really knows?