A community of cousins

A.J. Jacobs sets out to prove that we’re all just a little bit related.

By GLENN C. ALTSCHULER
December 21, 2017 17:53
4 minute read.
Family tree. (Illustrative)

Family tree. (Illustrative). (photo credit: RICK NEASE/TNS)

A few years ago, A.J. Jacobs, a contributing editor at Esquire magazine, and the author of The Year of Living Biblically, The Know-It-All, and Drop Dead Healthy, heard about an initiative to connect all human beings in a World Family Tree. Jacobs knew that his ancestors, Ashkenazi Jews, tended to inbreed. He discovered, however, that they, and everyone else on Earth, were actually blood cousins, sharing as much as 99.9% of DNA with one another.

Armed with this knowledge, Jacobs decided to organize a worldwide reunion, “like Woodstock, but with more pants and antiperspirant,” a gathering that would break the Guinness World Record for family reunions.

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