Fall 2014

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Roommates Discover Cousin Connection

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Robert Eisentrout and Samuel Howes

Samuel Howes, left, and Robert Eisentrout

Rising seniors Robert Eisentrout and Samuel Howes became friends while living on the same floor in 1835 Hinman. But the freshmen floor mates quickly realized they shared a deeper bond.

In the early weeks of their freshman year, the students on Eisentrout and Howes’ floor made a parody of one of the Lonely Island’s music videos. When their friend was typing their names into the video credits, Eisentrout realized Samuel’s last name was Howes, the same as his mother’s maiden name.

Eisentrout had his mother look up his new friend in a book on Howes family lineage they had at home, and sure enough, the young men discovered they are distant cousins. Howes went back 12 generations and Eisentrout went back 13 generations to identify their common ancestor, Thomas Howes, who arrived in America from England in 1637. Three-hundred-seventy-five years later, the two had been randomly assigned to rooms on the same hall.

They have remained close friends ever since, living together as sophomores and again as seniors. They’re also not the first Wildcats in the Howes family — Eisentrout’s grandfather Harold Rohrer Howes Jr. ’53 MS, ’61 PhD also attended Northwestern.