Small-world trolling

So yesterday I was hanging out after church waiting for my Elder’s Quorum President to finish his business so my companion and I could home teach him. So I was waiting there, talking with some friends, and one of them discovered that she was related to another guy there in the foyer, who she had never met before. Anyone had this experience before: you’re talking to some random stranger and then discover that you’re second cousins? It’s happened to me a couple of times.

The world is small, and the Mormon world is even smaller. Surely I have some friends and relatives out there in the Mormon blogosphere, who I haven’t even met. So I am going to do a little trolling. I am going to list a bunch of possible small-world connection points, and see if any of us are connected.

So if you’re a second cousin, long lost roommate, friend of a friend, or my future wife sent back from the future in cybernetic form to kill me and save humanity, drop a line in the comments here. I’ll send an Elvis postcard to the person with most unexpected small-world connection.


My father is David Emer Payne, son of John W Payne of Mountain View, Alberta, Canada. His mother was Sara Harris, born in Colonia Juarez, and was half-sister to Franklin Harris of HFAC fame.

My mother is Grettle Owen Haglund Payne, daughter of Richard F. Haglund (first stake president in Iowa) and Grettle Owen Shaw, born in Garland, Utah. I am related to all the Haglunds you know.

My family has lived in the following places: Iowa City, Iowa; Reykjavik, Iceland; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Metairie, Louisiana; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Springfield, Illinois; Emporia, Kansas; Huntsville, Texas.

My sister Sara is married to Columbia law school grad and Nevada native Adam Anderson, and they recently moved from Manhattan to Mesa, AZ. My brother Samuel lives with his wife and former computer science TA Mollie Madsen in San Diego. My brother Daniel is deaf and builds houses in the Phoenix area. My brother James is married to the lovely and talented Regent Herrera, a Philippine-American from Virginia. My baby brother David is on a Spanish-speaking mission in Anaheim, and spent a year of high school living in Siegen, Germany. All of us attended BYU.


That should be p-lenty.

69 comments for “Small-world trolling

  1. Kristine Haglund Harris
    March 27, 2006 at 12:16 pm

    Hey, I think we’re cousins!!

  2. March 27, 2006 at 12:27 pm

    Holy crap!!! I think you’re right!!!1111oneone!!!

  3. Richardson
    March 27, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    On my mission, a companion and I had been together for almost 2 months when we put 2 and 2 together and realized we were second cousins. It surprised us both!

    Especially at BYU, I found the 6 degrees of seperation was more likely to be only 2 or 3. Usually I could make a connection with any random person very quickly through a class or BYU ward or hometown. While the church is growing, it’s still very small.

  4. Nathan
    March 27, 2006 at 12:43 pm

    Last night during an ordination and setting apart in my ward, my father-in-law who was visiting from way up north of us by about an hour, started telling me about five or six people in the room (there were about 25 people in the room at the time) that he knew from work or grew up with or somehow was connected via a brothers friend. I think he knew more people than I did in that room even though they were from my own stake!

    It is a small mormon world.

  5. KLC
    March 27, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    Any relation to the 70s Mormon troubador Marvin Payne? Two of his brothers were in my childhood ward. Their father used to introduce himself when visiting as coming from southern Utah, one of the Sevier Paynes…ba da bing.

  6. March 27, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    Most ridiculous connection ever:

    My wife’s great-grandfather was your grandmother’s Bishop (or stake president, I can’t remember) in Juarez. That make’s us completely unconnected.

  7. March 27, 2006 at 1:01 pm

    When were y’all in Huntsville, Texas and Metairie, Louisiana?

  8. DHofmann
    March 27, 2006 at 1:15 pm

    John David Payine, are you related to a Jeff Payne from Utah? He was in my first area.

    Richardson, you and I may be related. I’m descended from a Charles Edmund Richardson.

  9. T Platt
    March 27, 2006 at 1:42 pm

    In the 70’s my family moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil while my dad worked for the church. My grandma sent a letter addressed to Jo Platt, Sao Paulo, Brazil. We got the letter. Our thinking is that someone noticed the return address was from Utah and sent it to one of the church offices who must have recognized the name and sent it to my dad. Not exacly a relation connection but considering there were about 15 million people in Sao Paulo at the time it is easy to see how small the mormon world really is.

  10. March 27, 2006 at 2:02 pm

    I got a traffic ticket in Iowa once…

  11. Jeremy
    March 27, 2006 at 2:08 pm

    3 stories:

    One week, about a month into my mission, my first companion and I both got letters informing us that a cousin was getting married. Cousin had the same name. My aunt (married to my dad’s brother) and my comps mom, it turns out, were sisters.

    Once I was in the hospital after a serious back injury, and the nurse had the curtain drawn around my bed because she was giving my crippled, smelly, rag of a body a sponge bath. My mom and her brother were on the other side of the curtain, and were making small talk with the nurse. My mom mentioned that my grandpa had grown up in a particular small town in Utah. The nurse said “Oh, my aunt lived there. Did your grandpa know anyone by the name of [so-and-so]?” “Know her?!” My uncle exclaimed, “HE WAS MARRIED TO HER FOR A WHILE!” I hadn’t known my grandpa had married and divorced before marrying my grandma. It was also news to the nurse, who thought her aunt had never married. In fact, she was so surprised by the news, she dropped the washcloth, picked up my bedside phone, and hurriedly dialed. “Hi, Aunt Betty? It’s Sherrie… Hey, I was wondering, were you once married to… yes?… BECAUSE RIGHT NOW I’M GIVING HIS GRANDSON A BATH!”

    This is more of a six degrees of Mormon networking rather than blood relations, but anyway: for a while, it seemed that no matter where I or one of my siblings or one of our friends traveled in the world, we’d run into someone who knew one of these sisters that went to our high school. At first it was just kind of funny, but then it went from running joke to X-Files creepy. In all serious, the conversation would be something like “Hi, welcome to Hong Kong. You’re American? Do you know _______ ?” The craziest instance occurred when, a few months after we moved 2000 miles away from Utah, I visited the home of one of our ward members. I was looking at the family pictures on their wall, and about fell over when I saw a photo of one of the infamously ubiquitous sisters! She had married this couple’s son.

    All this makes it all the more astonishing to me that I don’t discern any connection to John David Payne at all. Oh well.

  12. March 27, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    Jeremy, I am pleased to inform you that I am one of those sisters.

  13. March 27, 2006 at 2:30 pm

    KLC– my dad says he is unaware of any relation to Marvin Payne. As for myself, I am unaware of Marvin Payne.

    J. Stapley– Your comment reminds me of a memorable quote from a movie which I am almost certain has never been reference on T&S before.

    Edje– We lived in Metairie in 1982-3. My parents moved to Huntsville while I was in college, in 1997. They’re still there now, although I expect them to move at least one more time in the next five years or so.

    DHoffman– I am not aware of any relation to Jeff, although there’s a good chance that I knocked on his door during my mission. I was all over that area.

  14. jimbob
    March 27, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    Where did you attend school in Metairie?

  15. Veritas
    March 27, 2006 at 3:00 pm

    Did you know any Davis’s in Metarie at that time? They had a couple very young kids (Downs syndrome child and a baby) and I believe gave birth to one while there. They were there the exact same time as you.

  16. Mark B.
    March 27, 2006 at 3:02 pm

    My wife’s relatives of the Nish and Williams clan have done more than their share of populating southern Alberta, from the mountains to the prairies to the oceans–well, not in Alberta. I vaguely remember hearing about people named Payne, but nothing further. (My wife says her parents are good friends with Paul and Arlene Payne, who “have lived in Utah a long time.”)

    I met your cousin Kristine at the D. Fletcher bloggersnacker and then saw her again at the MHA meetings in Vermont last year.

    I had lunch twice with Adam Anderson, and found out only at the end of the second lunch that his mother is the lovely Lili deHoyos Anderson, a friend in high school that I even went out with a few times, back when she was Lili deHoyos. Adam’s father, Christian, was in my class at high school, and served in the same mission in Japan as I. Adam’s wife worked with my daughter as she wrote a piece about her experiences as a high school student in New York City on 9/11. (Rachel or Sarah would have to provide the details–I’m suffering from CRS on this topic.)

    I live in Brooklyn, NY, and have a history of the Brooklyn Ward that has tons of pictures of Haakon Haglund. (Well, at least a few.) And, I met some guy named Haglund who’s a lawyer in California, but I don’t remember his first name. (CRS again.)

    My daughter lived in Iowa City for four years, while her husband went to medical school there. But that was long after you all were there. When we were visiting my daughter in Iowa City, her best friend turned out to be one of the daughters in a family that took good care of the missionaries in San Diego–including my son when he served there in the late 90’s.

    And my Butler ancestors traveled from Keokuk, Iowa, possibly through Iowa City, on their way to Utah in 1853. They were among approx. 2,500 Mormon immigrants who stayed in Keokuk during that year. Probably didn’t see the Payne family though.

    But, I have no connection to MIT. My dad went to CalTech.

  17. Mathew
    March 27, 2006 at 3:34 pm

    I’ve had lunch with you. (Originally posted on the wrong thread.)

  18. March 27, 2006 at 3:58 pm

    Mark B.– that’s an impressive set of small-world connections. You’ve certainly set the bar high for those who hope to win the Elvis postcard. (By the way, my uncle Bruce is the Haglund lawyer in Irvine, CA.)

    Mathew – are you the Mat that married Gigi?

  19. Mike
    March 27, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    Ok. So in 1983 at the University of Utah I started dating this girl from Virginia. She was born in Germany. She seemed very exotic and foreign to me.

    She tells me she has an Aunt who lives near Logan and she was going to spend Thanksgiving with them. My parents were living in Logan where I was raised (before going off to the big city of Salt Lake so far away to meet strange women from distant lands) and so I offered to give her a ride. She got off work way late and it was snowing we didn’t get there until about 2:00 am. So I took her home and introduced her to my parents and she spent the rest of the night in my sister’s bedroom. The next morning we were driving out of town on the old Mendon road and she was reading me the directions to her Aunt’s house she got off the phone from her mother and I was thinking her Aunt must be living right next door to my mother’s cousin. Turns out her Aunt is MARRIED to my mother’s cousin, who is her Uncle. I knew these people and they are not only relatives but good friends of my folks.

    Funnny thing, a couple years later I married that girl. We are sort of related by marriage in spite of being born on opposite sides of the world. Her aunt and cousins are our best connection back in Logan since my parents moved away.

  20. queuno
    March 27, 2006 at 4:20 pm

    Sarah/Franklin Harris are two of my ancestors. Are you related to a Robert Payne from Albuquerque, NM? He was a mission companion in Chile.

  21. Nathan Mark Smith
    March 27, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    I was roommates with your brothers (replaced you, actually, after you went to Boston) in Provo, stayed with your sister and her husband when I was checking out Columbia (not a coincidence) and then stayed at your house when I came to a conference in Cambridge (yes, coincidence; invited by another roommate).

    Also, I became a flagrant squatter upon your subscription to the New Republic, by reading it week after week in Provo and failing to report to you that you forgot to change the address. As a token of reparation, I offer the following summary of the content of the New Republic for school year 2000-2001

    Israel: good
    Gay rights: good
    Al Gore: good
    Everything else: bad

  22. Kaimi Wenger
    March 27, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    Through Adam Anderson, John is connected to the whole Columbia Law contingent on the blogs: Steve Evans, me, Greg Call, Carrie (Todd) Lundell. (I was in a class with both Adam and Todd).

    Speaking of, what’s Adam up to? And how come he never comments on blogs?

  23. Adam Greenwood
    March 27, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    I once went to BYU. We’re practically brothers.

  24. Mark IV
    March 27, 2006 at 4:44 pm

    Ring the bell for Emporia, KS and Metairie, LA.

    BTW, I am greatly disapointed that you didn’t begin your post here with: Greetings, imaginary readers. :-)

  25. Mark IV
    March 27, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    #21, Nathan Mark Smith,

    Uh oh. Payne is (was) a New Republic subscriber? In Provo? Did it come in a plain brown wrapper? I’m just glad I don’t have something like that on my concience.

  26. March 27, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    I used to work for a Gary Payne from Cardston.

  27. March 27, 2006 at 5:29 pm

    Beyond that, and sort of related, while on my mission, I once ran into a returned missionary who had served in my home ward about five years previous.

  28. JA Benson
    March 27, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    I have mentioned this before (somewhere). After 20 years of marriage and four children my husband and I discovered that we were 4th cousins. What was embarrassing was that I had always thought of myself as a family historian.

  29. Mike
    March 27, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    I thought of a more humorous one.

    My grandfather served a mision in the Southern states in 1910-12. He told me this story many times when I was a boy. He and his companion were hiding out in the woods trying to avoid getting killed by the mobs. They found this old run-down church in the middle of nowhere with no roads running to it with the steeple tipped over a bit and propped up by the tall pines. They started sleeping in the rafters in some pine straw.

    One Sunday morning very early they woke up and “poor folks” were filling the church. The missionaries hid fearing for their very lives while this country preacher came in and gave his sermon. He whipped the people up to a fervent pitch. They were singing and shouting and dancing in the aisles and his final statement was “Gabriel, Gabriel, blow your horn. Let us hear it one time!” My grandfather or his companion had a trumpet and so he let blast a few loud notes.

    The church immediately emptied out. In a panic they tore the back wall off and ran screaming into the woods. The preacher was the first one out and he dived through one of the front windows. They never came back. So even though Grandfather had very few conversions, they had a little church building all ready, and it was safely hidden deep in the woods.

    Ok. Fast forward to about a month ago. Bro W. one of the older Black members is sitting at our dinner table. He joined the LDS church in 1978 and is one of the stalwarts of the ward. We started talking about his experiences as a former Baptist preacher and the early church in Georgia and what a terrible time they had. For some reason I told him this story about my grandfather. He looked at me in amazement and his wife started laughing and punching him in the ribs. He told me his family’s version of a story.

    One of his older uncles was a preacher. He used to get drunk and give the same stupid sermon every time. They held meetings every few weeks in an old church miles away from any road in northern Georgia out in the piney woods and the steeple was tipping over. The Clan was very active then and they were afraid of gathering often in large groups.

    The preacher wasn’t very good but he was the best they had. So one week he was giving his usual sermon about Gabriel blowing his horn and suddenly they heard a horn being blown from heaven. So they got scared and all ran screaming out of the church. The preacher went out the front window and probably caught his pants on a nail and tore them open. They thought it was the force of the trumpet that blew a hole in his pants. He repented of his drinking and quit preaching. Bro. W ‘s family had assumed later that it must have been some of the preacher’s friends who got tired of the same old sermon and that they had hidden in the rafters and given everyone a scare. But they never found out who it was. They never dreamed it might have been a couple of lonely Mormon missionaries.

    We narrowed the dates down to before or at about 1912. I knew the dates of my grandfather’s mission and he knew this uncle had died about the time the Titanic sank and this happend a short time before. I don’t know if this Gabriel story is a common Southern folk tale of about 100 years ago and that we have both tapped into it. If a folk tale, this story with its humorous details would have been in circulation around 1912 among both black and white people in the South who were highly segregated then. My grandfather was telling it to me as if he was there and Bro W.’s mother was telling it to him as if his older aunts and uncles were there at the time. It does not have the feature of being told to a friend of a friend of a friend like most folk tales.

    Perhaps it was an actual event and two members of a ward in 2006 both had ancestors who experienced it from across seemingly impossible racial barriers and both families remember it after nearly a century. I find it endlessly amusing, the possibility that both my missionary grandfather and Bro W.’s preacher uncle participated on the program of such a memorable church meeting so long ago.

  30. March 27, 2006 at 6:12 pm

    I’m in your brother Sam’s ward, and my family sat behind you in church awhile ago when you came to visit him. In fact, your nephew came to my son’s third birthday party last weekend!

  31. Mathew
    March 27, 2006 at 6:23 pm

    Yes, I am the Mat who married Gigi.

  32. Liz O.
    March 27, 2006 at 6:37 pm

    Wow. I’m impressed. I’m related to none of you, have met none of you, and crossed paths with none of you.

  33. J. Watkins
    March 27, 2006 at 6:39 pm

    I went to high school in Cardston with a budding starlett whose Payne family lives in Mt. View. She went on to take a very prestigious acting role as an extra in the very famous TV miniseries Lonesome Dove. But then you can’t live in Cardston 5 days without having interaction with about 12 different people from the Payne clan. More funny is I worked one summer in Edmonton for a guy related to those Payne’s distantly as a landscaper.

  34. March 27, 2006 at 6:47 pm

    Queuno– So if you’re related to Franklin Harris, then we’re cousins or something. He was my father’s mother’s half-brother. How are you related?

    Nate– Good to hear from you again. And now that you have summarized everything I missed from the New Republic, I can finally let go of the hatred in my heart and forgive you. Just don’t steal any of my magazines again. Grrr!

    Kaimi– Adam and Sara live in Mesa now, and Adam is working for a law firm down there. Drop them a line. I’m sure they’d be happy to hear from some of the New York crowd.

    Mark IV– I am compelled to admit that I can’t figure out who you are. Are you one of my imaginary readers? Or one of these “real people” I have heard so much about…?

    Kim Siever– My dad tells me that we are related to all the Paynes in southern Alberta. This includes, so I hear, a dentist named Dr. Payne. Pretty cool, eh?

    Gina– Sorry I ducked out after Sacrament meeting (had to catch a plane) or Sammy could have introduced us.

    Mat– Glad to hear from you again. Where are you living these days?

  35. March 27, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    Jimbob– I attended first grade in Metairie, at two different schools. Wish I could recall the names of the schools, but I can’t. I’ve written my mom, who I am sure will remember.

    Veritas– I was pretty young when we left Louisiana, and we only lived there about a year. To be honest, I don’t remember anyone from the ward. (Sorry!) But, again, I have emailed my mom, who I think may remember the Davises.

    Oh, and here’s a little Metairie story for you all, free of charge. My mom was pregnant with my little brother James when we moved. Several years later, my mother’s sister Betsy Nagel (only one year older) moved to that same neighborhood with her family. The first Sunday they went to the ward, someone (whose name I forget) came home and told her husband, “Grettle Payne is back! And guess what. She’s lost weight and she’s got a new husband!”

  36. March 27, 2006 at 7:00 pm

    Your parents and I are in the same stake.

  37. JKS
    March 27, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    I have no connection to you at all.

  38. Carrie Lundell
    March 27, 2006 at 7:47 pm

    Beyond the Adam and Sara Anderson/law school connection, my father was born in Colonia Juarez and lived there until he was 14 (this was back in the 30’s and early 40’s.

  39. March 27, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    My sister’s husband’s brother (who is LDS) married the granddaughter of my grandparents’ next door neighbor (who is also LDS). What’s interesting about this is that neither my grandparents nor their neighbor are LDS.

    Also, the patriarch that gave me my patriarchal blessing turned out to be my cousin, something on the order of my 7th cousin a couple times removed. We are both descended from Azorean Portuguese ancestors. When we walked out of his house on the day he gave me my blessing, my mom said that we had to be related to him, and I just rolled my eyes because my mom’s always saying stuff like that. But later my research found it to be true.

  40. Wilfried
    March 27, 2006 at 9:01 pm

    (5) “Any relation to the 70s Mormon troubador Marvin Payne?”
    (13) “my dad says he is unaware of any relation to Marvin Payne. As for myself, I am unaware of Marvin Payne.”

    For your information, Marvin is still very much alive and active nowadays!

  41. Melinda
    March 27, 2006 at 9:50 pm

    I’m not connected to you at all. But I have a funny story about a coincidence.

    My roommate once had an overly religious boyfriend tell her that he had had a vision that she was going to marry him. She told him no. He promised to persevere.

    Two months later I got an invite to the wedding shower for my MTC comp. Her intended was the overly religious boyfriend. They had dated for a week before they got engaged. I never asked my MTC comp if her hubby had ever told her about the vision he’d had about my roommate.

  42. Mathew
    March 27, 2006 at 10:37 pm


    I’m now living in NJ and work in NYC.


    You and I served in the same mission. So there’s your connection.

  43. maria
    March 27, 2006 at 10:50 pm

    Wow, John, I am surprised that I have absolutely no connections to you. But I do know Mat…he came to my apartment for Thanksgiving a few years back.

  44. March 27, 2006 at 11:36 pm

    I’m going to steal this idea.

  45. March 27, 2006 at 11:43 pm

    Idea-stealer! Cease and desist!

    Or, go ahead and steal. It’s a good idea.

  46. March 28, 2006 at 12:21 am

    John David, we’re not related. But delighted to be aware of you.

  47. March 28, 2006 at 12:41 am

    Likewise! :)

  48. Kimball Hunt
    March 28, 2006 at 1:21 am

    Hi Marvin! (Payne): Remember me? Pammy Palmer’s li’l bro?

  49. jimbob
    March 28, 2006 at 10:36 am


    Who was your bishop in the Longfellow Ward? I think I have family who attend there. They should be the only primary kids in the Ward.

  50. KLC
    March 28, 2006 at 10:45 am

    Mark B, is your father Eliot B?

  51. Jake
    March 28, 2006 at 11:04 am

    Hey, John!

    I’m a long friend of Sam’s, having been next-door neighbors with him freshman year at BYU in DT and both in the same year in the CS program. Now we’re both in the same ward and going to UCSD.

    Do you remember being an incredible member missionary at BYU after your mission and convincing Eric Friesen to take the discussions? I was a missionary then and taught him the last few discussions with you. For everyone else reading this comment, Eric was a member of the Assembly of God in the Utah Valley and gained a testimony with no small help from John.

  52. March 28, 2006 at 11:04 am

    When I moved to Boston, there was only one Longfellow Park ward, and the bishop was Gordon Lowe. They then split the ward, and my bishop was John Hoffmire. Bishop Hoffmire moved to Wisconsin, and our new bishop is Michael Haight. They Haights have four children, and they do go to primary in our ward. I don’t know a lot of other singles wards which have primaries, but ours does and I wish I had a primary calling. But I don’t. I have to go to stupid Gospel Doctrine class. No fun at all…

  53. jimbob
    March 28, 2006 at 11:27 am

    I think I attended church with you last August, then.

  54. Sid
    March 29, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    Hi John,

    Sid from Ann Arbor here. i’d like to get a Elvis postcard, but, I am not related to you, heck, I am not related to anyone who is Mormon. Becasue, I am an immigrant from India, and I joined the Church while I was an undergrad at the Univ of Michigan. In fact, I havent yet met a single other ethnic Indian member in our Church. I k now they exist, but, I havent met one yet. Do you have Indian LDS folks at the LDS community in the Boston/Cambridge area?

    Anyways, I am looking forward to reading your blog, and your posts on T&S.
    best of luck with your academic career.

  55. Sid
    March 29, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    Hi John,

    Sid from Ann Arbor here. Read you on Times&Seasons yesterday. i’d like to get a Elvis postcard, but, I am not related to you, heck, I am not related to anyone who is Mormon. Becasue, I am an immigrant from India, and I joined the Church while I was an undergrad at the Univ of Michigan. In fact, I havent yet met a single other ethnic Indian member in our Church. I k now they exist, but, I havent met one yet. Do you have Indian LDS folks at the LDS community in the Boston/Cambridge area?

    Anyways, I am looking forward to reading your blog, and your posts on T&S.
    best of luck with your academic career.


  56. March 29, 2006 at 2:28 pm


    Thanks for your kind words. I can use all the luck I can get. =)

    And you might just get yourself that Elvis postcard, even though we’re not related. The current strong contender in my opinion is Mark B., who used to date the mother of the man who married my sister. You don’t have to be born in the church to have that kind of connection, although I suppose it probably helps. But you might be dating a girl I used to date, or some other ridiculous thing. It’s a small world, my friend. Even smaller than I thought it was when I put this post up.

    To answer your other question, I do know of at least one Indian Mormon in the Boston area. His name is Krishan “Chris” Kalia, and I could probably put you in touch with him. I don’t know him really well or anything, but we’ve talked a few times. I have met other Indians in the church over the years, although I am having a hard time coming up with names at the moment. But maybe other folks who read this can help you get in contact with other Indian or Indian-American Mormons.

  57. Mark B.
    March 29, 2006 at 2:37 pm

    I am sooo looking forward to the Elvis postcard, but I’d really like it to be signed by The King, himself.

    Sid, you can keep your eyes open for David and Sunitha Gill, who used to live in Brooklyn, but now are in Palo Alto. David’s father was a Sikh, beard, turban and all, but then converted to Mormonism and became a math professor at BYU. He famously commented (probably more than once) at a meeting of BYU stake presidents: “So many chiefs, and only one Indian.”

    Sunitha is from Bangalore, where David’s father was the first president of the India Bangalore mission.

    And, just to tie the knot a little tighter, David’s mother is a Pratt from “the Colonies.” So, she’s probably related to John.

    By the way, I tried to reply to KLC yesterday, but this site had indigestion: the answer is yes.

  58. Sid
    March 29, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    Mark B. : thansk for telling me about david and Sunitha Gill. I will try to look them up, and see if I can establish a connection. And bro payne, thanks for telling me about Krishan Kalia.
    You know there are a lot of Indian people in the south-eastern part of michigan where I live in – I am surprised that there isnt one single person for this community that has converted to our Church. And I think i know the reasos why. A lot of traditional Indians are really offended by the Word of Wisdom – telling them that they can no longer drink tea is something they might have trouble with, seeing as how important the drinking and the serving of tea is such a big deal in Indian culture ( North Indian culture, that is, South Indians will be offended by Sec 89 too, except in their case it would be the prohibition of coffee).

  59. Anon Juanita
    March 31, 2006 at 10:58 am

    Hey, I am also either so dimly connected that it would take hours to find a connection, or not connected at all, but I wanted to comment!

    I’m from Idaho and my mother’s family is from southeast Idaho, mostly situated around Rexburg. So when I went to Ricks College, I found out just how true my mom’s little joke of being related to half of Rexburg really was.

    I won’t bore you with the details or with all the small connections that built up daily, but I will tell you a few.

    I had a year-long biology lab, hunched over microscopes. The girl next to me constantly had troubles with her micro, and asked for assistance so much I could see it coming. A few years later, in Pocatello, I had a new roommate move in and it took us a couple weeks to figure out she was the micro girl, Nancy Ricks. Then a couple weeks more (I must have been fairly dim, she had a surname that I’m usually related to, and she was from Rexburg) she heard me mentioning the names of my grandparents and said they were her great aunt and uncle. So we’re something like 3rd cousins once removed.

    Also, in that Pocatello apartment complex, I lived nearby my uncle (no, that’s not the connection; it’s the reason I moved in, for my mother’s sanity for me to be close to family). He was the most eligible bachelor of the ward, who I affectionately call Uncle Skippy (he’s only a few years older than me).

    Literally every girl in the ward except me had a crush on him at one point, some crushes lasting only a day or two, or a crush that ebbed and flowed, or some swooning for the entire time they lived there. One girl, named Lennie, was not immune, and she would hang around him, hoping that he would notice how he couldn’t live without her.

    One day as small talk commenced, she asked if he was taking any vacations over the summer. He mentioned the huge family reunion in the Tetons (which is huge, by the way, with 7 generations going. So I could probably get more connections out of all of the commenters here than anyone, backed up with the collective experiences of the fam; surnames Anderson, Clements, Harker, Ricks, and another that I’m forgetting at the moment).

    She, Lennie, got this funny look on her face and with a premonition asked him who his father was.

    Sure enough, her Great-Uncle Vaun (his father) and his Aunt Edna (her grandma) were siblings, which made them 1st cousins once removed, and she’s my second cousin. Not quite legal to have a crush on him. She was crushed.

    Come to think of it, I JUST realized that means that micro girl and Lennie are ALSO related. Duh!

    One final note, if you’re still reading this. #13, this is for your comment about the “memorable quote.” That quote doesn’t hit me as being nearly as oddball as everyone else thinks. More funny because it really happens in my world. At Ricks, I was attending a seminar in Business and my cousin came up and said hi. While talking, her roommate came over and I politely said hi to her too. I asked who she was, then of course played the game, “Do you Know…” She did, so then I had to go home and tell my roommates, guess what, “My cousin’s roommate’s brother married a Whitney from Kuna!”

    And you can take that to the bank.

  60. Anon Juanita
    March 31, 2006 at 11:02 am

    Actually, come to think of it, I know of a family in Boston. They might be in your ward. Do you know the Frosts? I know their daughter, Ginger Frost.

  61. March 31, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    Um. I go to a singles ward, so I really don’t know a lot of families that go to the regular wards. What are the Frosts’ first names?

  62. Anon Juanita
    March 31, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    no clue, sorry, but Ginger is single and possibly goes to the singles ward sometimes when she visits.

  63. March 31, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    Sorry, AJ. Don’t know her or her folks.

  64. JWL
    April 2, 2006 at 4:19 am

    Sid —

    If you ever find yourself in NYC, come to the Manhattan First Ward and meet our ward mission leader, Darshan Desai. We also have a good ward choir according to another recent T&S post.

    John David —

    When Sara was living in NYC I heard so much about her Haglund relations I thought that was her maiden name. So now I know about a whole new universe of almost no degrees of separation from me because I know her and Adam.

  65. Jed
    April 2, 2006 at 9:31 am

    I was in a BYU ward with Adam, back before he was married when he was working on his LSAT prep and applying to law schools. He is great guy. He and his sister were living with their grandparents at the time (Mark Anderson was his name), in a little house on 900 East and about 820 North in Provo, on the northwest corner, a house with a roundabout driveway just down from the Russian house. This house was one of the few Ernest Wilkinson could not buy out. Mark Anderson said no price is high enough; we are staying. Wilkinsons’s threat of imminent domain could not scare them off.

    Anyway, my memories of Adam are all pleasant. When the grandparents went to bed, Adam would have us over for homemade burritos. He seemed like an amazingly well-adjusted person. Both his parents are social workers, so I recall.

  66. April 2, 2006 at 9:59 am

    I must say, Adam really is one of the men who inspires me. I have seen him time and again sacrifice his time, and compromise his own wishes, in order to serve his family. My favorite Adam story is about the time I sat eating breakfast with my sister and her kids while watching Adam sand down a bedroom door that his little boy had trouble opening during the night. I didn’t have anything to do that day except enjoy my visit with Sara, and yet I sat there stuffing my face. Adam had to leave for work soon, but there he was with his toolbox, working instead of eating.

    That’s what being a husband and father is all about. If there’s a problem, if there’s something that the family needs, the buck stops here. And I’m not just saying that because he married my sister. As a Paraguayan man once said to me, being a parent means taking the food out of your own mouth and giving it to your children. That’s charity. That’s Christ-like love. And Adam really is an example to me of love in action, and I hope when I get married that I can show the same kind of selflessness toward my wife and children that he exhibits whenever I am in his home.

  67. April 4, 2006 at 12:28 am

    Mark B:
    On 3/27/006, you referenced NISH and BUTLER in Iowa. I’m looking for ancestors and relatives of Alexander NISH (born McNISH or McNEISH, Scotland, approx. 1840) who married Sarah BUTLER (born approx. 1849, Ohio) on 21 January 1869. They lived in Boone, Dallas county, Iowa in 1870. Do you – or anyone else on this site – know of them? They are my gg-grandparents. Please respond privately to Cindy at [email protected]. Thanks so much! ;]

  68. Mark B.
    April 4, 2006 at 9:34 am

    Posts 65 and 66 may well represent a revival of the Adam-God doctrine.

  69. April 4, 2006 at 3:34 pm

    As Meg Ryan once said, “I have no response to that.”

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