6 Degrees of Separation

According to the Wikipedia definition “Six degrees of separation (also referred to as the “Human Web”) refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth.”

Some recent genealogy research has provided me with a “six degrees of separation” experience that I should share.

The other day I wrote about my wife Ellen’s great grandfather, Rev. Louis Henry Wagner who remained living with his Breithaupt uncle and aunt after his widowed mother, Margarette Hailer re-married to Daniel Bean (sometimes spelled Biehn) in 1862. Daniel and Margarette settled in Blandford, Ontario where they farmed and raised a family of eight children. Their youngest son, Jacob Wesley Bean was born in 1873 and like his mother’s first husband and father-in-law, Jacob as an adult became a minister in the Evangelical Association.

In 1902, Jacob married Florence Louise Smith in the Ontario town of St. George which is located a short distance north of Brantford, Ontario. The significance of Jacob’s marriage is the location, for Jacob, my wife Ellen’s great granduncle, married in the same church that about eighty years later my uncle, the late Rev. Ernest Royle was the pastor of for about ten years. Not only that, but it turns out that Florence’s mother, and Jacob’s mother-in-law, was Julia Nixon. The Nixon family has been a long established family in the St. George area and from the Nixon family came Harry Corwin Nixon, Premier of the province of Ontario in 1943, Harry’s son Robert (Bob) Fletcher Nixon, former leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and provincial cabinet member and, Bob’s daughter Jane Stewart, a former federal cabinet member and Canadian representative to the United Nations. Both Bob Nixon and Jane Stewart remain good friends of my aunt, Carol Royle.

Perhaps the idea that we are only six steps away from any other person is correct!


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