February 22, 2024

I’ve been somewhat obsessed with genealogy the past few weeks. I think that’s just the way it happens. You go for years without devoting all that much thought to who your 10th great-grandparents were, and then suddenly you get sucked in.

I got sucked in over the question of who my 5th great-grandfather James Gerald is. No one has been able to trace beyond him, and everyone has their own theory about why. I’m no closer to figuring that one out than I was when I started a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, I’ve found a few thousand other ancestors.

Among those ancestors is James Gerald’s wife, Mildred Taliaferro (born 1704 in Virginia). In looking for information about her family, I discovered that Muhammad Ali is also a Taliaferro descendant. We have to go back a couple more generations from Mildred to her grandfather, Richard Taliaferro (born 1656 in Virginia), before we find a connection.

According to the family tree of Muhammad Ali that I found, Richard Taliaferro is Muhammed Ali’s 7th great-grandfather. He is also my 7th great-grandfather.

That makes one Cassius Clay my 8th cousin. Believe it or not, he has never invited me over for dinner.

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