A woman from Murrysville, Pennsylvania, claims she is the 64th great-granddaughter of Saint Joseph Ben Matthat Arimathaea, who was the paternal uncle to the Virgin Mary. Mary Beth Webb said she began searching her ancestry in 2010 after years of "communicating" with her deceased mother, father and brother. While doing the research on ancestry.com over a two-year period, Webb discovered the connection to Saint Joseph.
Saint Joseph of Arimathaea is written about in the Bible and is credited for providing the tomb in which Jesus Christ's body was placed following his execution on the cross. Webb's ancestry page shows the Virgin Mary is her first cousin 65 times removed. Webb emailed the website to share her discovery, and said a spokesperson replied with scepticism. "They said, 'Well, that's nice, but you probably made a mistake along the way because that's easy to do,'" Webb said.
The journey into her ancestry began in 1999 when her brother, Donald, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given six months to live. Webb claims she and her cousin began communicating with her parents, who had died years earlier. "We would ask questions about Heaven, what it was like when you crossed over. I've gotten a really detailed account of what happened to my brother when he passed," Webb said. "I always asked them what it was like, and they said it was beautiful. Imagine the most beautiful place that you can, a beautiful garden."
Over the years, Webb's cousin has been the medium for the conversation, and would communicate messages from Webb's parents to her that included details only those three could know, Webb said, adding there is no way her cousin could have known some of those stories. Webb said she understands not everyone will believe her, but she hopes her experiences provide hope for those grief-stricken over a loved one's death. "I know a lot of people are sceptical and want proof and all that. I can only share what happened to me and hope they can learn from it," Webb added.