Are you A.J. Jacob's Cousin?

A.J. Jacobs, author of a number of excellent books about self-experimentation, is planning on hosting the world's largest family reunion. (The current record is held by by the Porteau-Boileve family in France: 4,514 relatives.) He's inviting as many relatives as he can, including former New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg who is A.J.'s wife’s great-uncle’s wife’s first cousin once removed’s husband’s uncle’s wife’s son’s wife’s first cousin once removed’s husband’s brother’s wife’s nephew.

He announced his plans on an episode of the Gweek podcast a few weeks ago, and he just shared the news with the readers of the New York Times, too:

My journey started a few months ago. I got an email from a stranger named Jules Feldman who lives on a kibbutz in Israel. He had read one of my books. He wrote: “We have in our database about 80,000 relatives of yours. You are an eighth cousin of my wife who, in my opinion, is a fine lady.” I’m also, he said, related to Karl Marx and several European aristocrats.

The email had a bit of a creepy National Security Agency privacy-invasion vibe. But it was also, in a strange way, profoundly comforting. There I was, alone in my office, connected to 80,000 other humans. In a world where extended families lose touch as they spread across time zones, this seemed remarkable.

But why stop at 80,000? I discovered websites like WikiTree, WeRelate and Geni (which was recently acquired by MyHeritage) that allow you to expand your tree into million-tentacled monsters.

A.J.'s going to host the reunion in 2015 at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, NY. I plan to be there to meet my nth cousins nth removed!

Are You My Cousin?

Notable Replies

  1. Anyone who is even part Ashkenazi is related to him.

    So, yeah.

  2. Yes! Everyone is invited. First, it's open to the public. But confirmed family members will get a bracelet. Please check out ajjacobs.com/global-family-reunion to find out how we're related. One of the best ways: Join Geni.com and get on the World Family Tree. Thanks -- AJ

  3. including former New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg who is A.J.'s wife’s great-uncle’s wife’s first cousin once removed’s husband’s uncle’s wife’s son’s wife’s first cousin once removed’s husband’s brother’s wife’s nephew

    He should totally hit him up for a loan.

  4. On your website, you recommend only 23andMe for testing. I have a couple things to say about that:

    • 23andMe has switched to the new v4 chip, which tests for significantly fewer SNPs;
    • FamilyTreeDNA's Family Finder test and Ancestry's new DNA test (not AncestryByDNA) are both about the same cost and come with a lot more after-purchase support by the companies;
    • FamilyTreeDNA accepts the upload of raw data from 23andMe for a discounted price versus paying for a new test;
    • You can upload your raw data to GEDmatch for free (donations gratefully accepted) to compare against customers from all three main consumer DNA testing companies.

    So if you're suggesting that people test at only the one company because that's where you've tested, be assured there are other options.

    Are you a public match on 23andMe?

  5. Please correct the headline - not

    AJ Jacob's cousin

    but

    AJ Jacobs' cousin

    otherwise people will go looking for cousins called Jacob, not Jacobs.

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