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Monday, August 06, 2007

This Little Piggy Is Genealogically Significant

Someone inquired at GenForum a few years ago about his grandmother's toes.

It has to be a feature she received through one of her parents George Washington Hockley or Sadie Mae Clemens. The feature is that the 2nd toe (beside her big toe) on both feet was smaller than both the big toe and the 3rd toe. I know that this is an odd thing to write about in a genealogy forum, but it has caused several in my family to become curious. We are trying to determine if it is a Hockley Trait or a Clemens trait. [Link]
Not an odd question at all. Inherited physical traits offered a peek into the genes back before DNA testing was possible, and can still offer clues to ancestry. Too bad relative toe lengths aren't noted on birth, marriage or death certificates.

BTW, if your second toe is longer than your big toe, you have something in common with the Statue of Liberty (pdf).

Dana Huff

Chris, my grandfather's second and third toes are webbed up to the middle joint. I have heard that his brother and sisters all shared this trait, but to my knowledge, it hasn't been passed down passed their generation. Apparently, it was a trait inherited from their father, which he inherited from his mother, Stella Bowling Cunningham. I asked a distant Bowling relative if he had webbed feet or if any of his family did because I was trying to track down whether the trait was a Bowling trait or a Kennedy (Stella's mother's maiden name) trait. According to my aunt, Stella inherited from her father, but my cousin said he knew of no Bowlings with webbed feet. Weird, but interesting.

Chris

Toes are so seldom photographed or written about, it must be difficult to trace the trait back beyond living memory.

FWIW, here's one family that has embraced its webbed toes.

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