They say that history often repeats itself – I sometimes wonder if that is the case here.

One of my best DNA matches is with John Bartels in Oregon whose grandfather was Cornelius Joseph Cummins.  John’s grandmother, Mary Ann Bartels, had a relationship with Cornelius and they had a boy who Mary Ann called John.  I have seen several records where young John was listed as Cummins, Bartels and Brown.

Mary Ann’s father – John Heinrick Bartels – listed young John as John Cummins in the 1910 census.  I wonder if John Heinrick, who was born in Germany, couldn’t accept young John as being a Bartels so listed him as Cummins.  Mary Ann later married Fred Harrison Brown in 1917 and young John became John Brown for a while.  But he actually grew up as John Bartels, became a dentist, married and had a son who he also named John – who is currently living in Oregon.

Technically – this John Bartels living in Oregon is John Cummins and he would have been had Cornelius and Mary Ann married.

So the following scenario could be possible.  (The following names are all fictitious.)

Let’s say a lady by the name of Angela O’Brien had an affair with a guy called Michael Cummins or Cummings – but they never married.  But Angela becomes pregnant and gives birth to a boy she calls James – James O’Brien.

Then Angela marries a guy by the name of George Thomas and George offers to take on young James as his own son – to make things look better all round for everyone.  So young James O’Brien becomes James Thomas.

Eventually James grows up and marries and has a son he calls Paul Thomas.

And this Paul Thomas, who is really Paul Cummins or Cummings, meets my mother and they have an affair.

The odds may be slight but nonetheless possible.