“47th Cousins, 20 Times Removed”

A couple of years ago, I received notification of a new comment on this blog post that I had written the previous year. The commenter’s name was Megan, and she had discovered the post while researching Smith’s Fort Plantation in Surry County.  Megan and I began communicating by email and soon learned that we are very distantly related.

In that post, I wrote that this property was purchased by Thomas Warren in the 1600’s from Thomas Rolfe, the son of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. And I just happened to mention that Thomas Warren was my 8th great grandfather.

Turns out, Thomas was Megan’s 10th great grandfather.  Megan and I became friends on Facebook, and she said that when she visited this area again, she would contact me so we could meet. (She lives in Ohio.)

We finally met in person on Wednesday. Megan, her mom, and her best friend were in the area visiting nearby Williamsburg. We decided to meet at (where else?) Smith’s Fort Plantation. We had our picture taken in front of a huge old magnolia tree. Hmm…wonder if it was there during Thomas’s time?


Smith’s Fort wasn’t open for tours on Wednesday, but while we stood out front, chatting, a car pulled in the drive. The driver was a man named Tom, and although I didn’t ask what his exact title was, I’m guessing he may be the site coordinator for Smith’s Fort. When he found out we were Warren descendants, he offered to show us the house.

What a great tour we had. And a special surprise: in one of the upstairs bedchambers, a King James Bible, printed in 1621, is on display. Megan’s mom, Linda, asked Tom if he would look  inside to see if the name John Bill was shown as the printer.  John Bill was one of Linda’s ancestors and was a printer for King James during that time period.  Tom checked for us, and sure enough, John Bill was the printer.


Here’s a close-up.  Just under the words  “Printed In London”, you can see the names Bonham Norton and John Bill.  And note the Roman Numerals for 1621.


My online research regarding the King’s Printing House returned this: “In the Jacobean period the King’s Printers were Robert Barker (1570–1645), and the two Shropshire men, Bonham Norton (1564–1635) and John Bill (1576–1630). At this time the office of the King’s Printer included the privilege to print the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer in English.

Since Megan’s connection to Smith’s Fort was on her father’s side, we all thought it quite interesting to find the name of one of her mother’s ancestors in an artifact within the house.

After our tour, Tom graciously agreed to pose for a picture with Megan and me.


We left Smith’s Fort, and on our way to Smithfield for lunch, we stopped briefly at Bacon’s Castle, just because I can’t pass up a chance to share that special old house with those who’ve never been there. It, too, was closed that day, but we took photos of the exterior and I told them a little about the house and property. That’s Megan’s friend, Diana, on the right.


Our visit ended with lunch at Smithfield Station and a photo of the four of us. Linda, Megan’s mom,  is on the left.


(Last week,  I told Marshall that I was going to meet my “47th cousin, twenty times removed”.  Maybe one day, if we compare our genealogy notes, Megan and I can determine what our exact relationship is.)

~These Days Of Mine~

12 responses to ““47th Cousins, 20 Times Removed”

  1. I love this. It’s truly a small world after all. Finding a distant relative especially a 47th cousin has to be a rarity. That’s such good fun. I’m so glad the fellow named Tom showed up and gave you all a private tour. It’s just as it meant to be. Wonderful photos of happy smiling faces of new friendships and family bonding. 🙂

  2. That is so cool meeting a distant relative like that. I recently connected with, via email, an entire group of people related to my great-great grandparents. The have a reunion, I think every year, up in Michigan, but I don’t anticipate being able to go any time soon.

  3. Super special to meet a VERY distant relative. That old bible was quite a find!


  4. Absolutely wonderful! I just LOVE finding connections like this. Now won’t it be neat if we find our own connection?

  5. Dianna, amazing day!And what were the odds that that lovely man would appear, hear your story and take you on a tour. AND seeing the book printed by her family member ! A day filled with history and genealogy –one of your favorites! A great day for you and new found family and I am happy for you all! Have a great weekend !

  6. What a great opportunity..not only to meet our distant cousin but to then share the special tour and discovery with her. What a great day !!

  7. Such an adventure-filled day….
    & the name of the printer in the Bible … well … that’s one of the most impressive stories I’ve been told in a while ….

  8. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    The word that comes to mind for this blog, Dianna, is AMAZING! I never knew until we got back together on Facebook that my little classmate was so connected to our home town history. What a interesting bit of history!

  9. Wow! This entire experience you had with your ’47th cousin’ is nothing short of amazing. And to think, your blog post reached out to her and brought the two of you together for this adventure. As the kids say, ‘way cool!’

  10. I am a descendant of Thomas Warren of Smith’s Fort, too!! His great, great, great grandson Robert Hart b. 1759 NC, d. 1839 GA, was the son of Arthur Hart and his wife Martha Warren Hart. Both Arthur and Martha go in a direct line back to Jamestowne! Robert Hart is my great, great, great grandfather. My husband and I went to Jamestowne and Williamsburg last June after attending a Forest Landowners Conference at Virginia Beach. I did not know about the Warren House at that time and we didn’t see it. Maybe next time!! I’d love to keep in touch with you. My email address is jbw81574@gmail.com.
    Your cousin,
    Janet Walker
    Macon, GA

  11. Loving family and history as you do, I know this was a very special day for you. Wow, that Bible is a treasure!

  12. Michaela Henegar

    Hello, I was just looking up my 15th great grandfather’s name “Thomas Warren” and just saw your blog post. I am looking forward to visiting there in Surrey one day. Glad to say hello to a distant relative!

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