Odd Relationships (at least to me)


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Odd Relationships (at least to me)

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helmikuu 4, 2009, 8:27pm

I recently met a 2nd cousin who is married to another 2nd cousin. I know this was common in past times but wondered how common it is today.

I also have a relative who died in WW1 leaving a widow. His widow ended up marrying his twin brother a few years later.

Does anyone else have odd family relations in their trees?

helmikuu 4, 2009, 10:16pm

My mom married her sister's ex-husband, making my dad my ex-uncle and my cousin my half-brother.

helmikuu 7, 2009, 2:59am

I also have a few cases of people marrying a sibling of their deceased spouse in my family history. Also some marriages between first cousins. And there is even a distant cousin who married her own nephew (a son of her half-brother), in 1893 (they're mentioned on my website, http://www.van-kampen.org/en/pardoen.htm#IIIe).

toukokuu 9, 2009, 2:12pm

I'm glad you've noticed this too. I wonder what the families think of 1st cousins marrying. Was it considered taboo?

And it seems like a common practice that when the wife dies, the husband marries one of her sisters. This reminds me of some biblical story but I can't remember which one right now.

I do wonder what society thought of these things in the 19th century.

toukokuu 9, 2009, 2:32pm

In Lancashire (UK) it was quite common in the 19th and early 20th centuries for a man to marry the sister of a deceased wife. In the industrial cotton and wool towns I suppose it made economic sense. In fact for a few decades in late 19th century Parliament passed a law against the practise but many people seem to have got round it. Perhaps because the relationship did not come to light and also many ministers were happy to turn a blind eye. In an earlier age the husband of Catherine of Aragon died and she married his brother who became Henry VIII. Who later claimed it was a non-marriage because of the relationship.

toukokuu 14, 2009, 6:24am

My great grandparents are uncle and niece. It was legal in 1917.

toukokuu 20, 2009, 8:32pm

My great-great grandparents were first cousins. One descenden,t who had had a lot of tragedy in her family, wondered if it was because of that old relationship. Also my uncle married his wife's little sister, a widow with 3 kids, after his wife died, and raised them well, making them my cousins, too, I guess.

toukokuu 27, 2009, 11:26pm

I have a cousin married to a mutual first cousin. The wife's parents are also first cousins, and the father of her father is also married to a first cousin. 3 generations of first cousin marriages--and, if you're wondering, no genetic problems.

syyskuu 18, 2009, 7:50pm

My great-grandmother's sister married her uncle (their father's brother), and thereafter referred to her sister as her niece.

joulukuu 22, 2009, 12:30am

There are at least two instances in one of my family lines where a woman married her first cousin's widower and helped bring up his children. There is also one case where an uncle and niece of one family married a sister and brother in another family, so the generations on the tree are one off from each other. And, as in many families of the time, there is at least one case where brothers of one family married sisters of another.

joulukuu 22, 2009, 12:35am

Oh yes, I forgot the one who married her second cousin some time after the deaths of his first wife and her first husband.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 22, 2009, 11:36pm

>re 4. I've noticed that in Georgette Heyer's novels and in other British novels from the period, the characters often fall in love with and marry a cousin and no one seems to be worried about it. However when my grandfather got married the second time (1916 in New York), he had to get a dispensation from the Roman Catholic Church because his wives were cousins. I've always thought it amusing that, with all of New York City to search in, he couldn't find an unrelated girl to marry.

joulukuu 23, 2009, 11:34am

I have also found family members marrying. It seemed to be okay way back then...what we consider taboo was okay back then..

tammikuu 7, 2010, 9:01pm

Canon Law (that is church law) prohibited a man from marrying his deceased wife's sister, this was because people related by marriage (afinity) were thought to have the same or similar relationships as those by blood (consanguinity) - his wife's sister was his own sister and marriage to her would be incest. (See for example the Church of England's "Tables of Kindred and Afinity").

In the UK, the (English) Marriage Act of 1835 hardened this law into an absolute prohibition, in Scotland the Marriage Act of 1567 had had the same effect. In spite of significant agitation and quite a few blind eyes being turned it wasn't until the "Deceased Wife's Sister Marriage Act" of 1907 and the "Deceased Husband's Brother Marriage Act " of 1921 that the law was changed again. The "Marriage (Prohibited Degrees) Relationship Act" (1931) finally allowed marriage with neices and nephews.

tammikuu 7, 2010, 9:13pm

Fascinating topic.

BobH: Do you mean Aunt/Nephew and Uncle/Niece, or between nieces and nephews that are cousins?

tammikuu 8, 2010, 6:18am

I think the law refered to aunt/nephew and uncle/neice. As far as I am aware it was never illegal for cousins to marry

tammikuu 8, 2010, 11:29am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 31, 2010, 6:28pm

A few years ago I had my DNA tested through National Geographic's Genome Project. From time to time I get emails from NatGeo saying there's been a match to my mt-DNA and some other person but it says it was 1300 - 1500 years ago.

But today I was looking at my email and had a bunch of DNA emails, from actual people, not NatGeo.

The original email is from a guy who is making of map of the location of all the people he's been linked to through DNA even if it were 1300 -1500 years ago or more. He wants to present the map to his siblings at his family reunion (2009). So he is requesting that his "relatives" tell him in what city/state or part of the world they are currently located. That's is all he's asked for but some people are offering information about their families. He seems to have sent the email to at least 100 people. He should get some interesting responses.
So far here are some of the people I am related to:

One woman wrote, “My ancestry on her side of the family is from Finland, she came to the Duluth MN.area when she was young. Married my grandfather (Who was also from Finland) and they lived in the Esko, MN. area. I am researching her background through the Finnish Genealogy Club in Cloquet. MN. She died right after the 1918 fire that destroyed the area around Cloquet, Esko, and part of Duluth.”

One woman is from Abiquiu, New Mexico via Missouri and Kansas.

One from McLean, VA. “My great grandmother (as far back as I know) was from Enfield, NC.”

One in Charleston, West Virginia. “My maternal great-grandmother was from Grayson County, Virginia.”

One lives in Bolivar, Missouri. "I have traced my maternal line back to Halifax/Surry County, Virginia in the 1600’s."

I replied, I'm in Huntsville, Al, born and raised in Chattanooga, Tn. My great great grandmother was born in Ireland and came to America where she married a Native American orphan who was adopted by a Welsh family named Davis. Her daughter, my great grandmother married a Chinese man and all their children married Black people.

One woman wrote, “I am responding on behalf of my husband, Doug J. (from Canton, Michigan). Doug was adopted at birth (1971) and knows nothing of his biological family. I signed him up for DNA testing as a way to find out something about his ancestry. I’m sure he would love to see your graphic if you’re willing to share.”

Amazing, I'm related (albeit in a small way) to all these people.

helmikuu 1, 2010, 6:59am

#18: When you say NatGeo notify you of matches from 1300-1500 years ago does that mean the information comes from a dead body of that period? Just asking to make sure I've understood correctly. The project you talk about sounds very interesting. I suppose it just takes one person to make an effort and organise something like that.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 1, 2010, 11:22am

I don't think it comes from a dead body. Natgeo compares my Mt-DNA with that of all the other people who are part of the project. They then notify you of anyone who has DNA which makes them related to you. So what they're saying is that between 1300-1500 years ago another member and I had a common ancestor. That's about 52 generations ago. As of yet I have not been notified of anyone more recently related.

Below is a link to NatGeo genographic site


Muokkaaja: helmikuu 1, 2010, 2:38pm

gautherbelle: Many thanks for that clarification.

Edited to add: Presumably you know the name of the other member with whom you share an ancestor but have no idea who the ancestor was. I can't help feeling that there could be thousands of people descended from a person living in say 700 AD. Apologise if that sounds a bit negative as I still find your experience intriguing and I'm sure we're going to learn a lot more in the future as the science develops. Good luck with your future research along these lines.

helmikuu 4, 2010, 11:45pm

From a genealogical standpoint, it's kind of annoying when cousins marry, especially early in the pedigree chart. Then you basically have to do a duplicate line, if you don't have software to merge the line. I use ancestry.com & I don't know of any way to merge a family line using their website.

helmikuu 5, 2010, 9:24am

One of the most responsive software packages to the needs of professional genealogists has been RootsMagic. Legacy, which offers a free edition (although I prefer the full paid version), has the merge feature. I used this software for years until switching to RootsMagic. I like both products. They each have their own pros and cons. RootsMagic offers a free trial. Instead of creating a duplicate individual, most software packages also allow you to "link to an existing individual." When your database starts getting huge, it sometimes help to search to see if an individual exists before creating a new one. When a lot of one's research focuses on a single county or two, you begin to have a lot of these cousin ties through marriages of your cousins, etc. A lot of brothers and sisters from a couple of families would marry each other too.

helmikuu 22, 2010, 11:22am

I have three sets of first cousins marrying in my genealogy. This is in post-colonial southwestern Pennsylvania, where the odds of running into someone you weren't related to were pretty slim. A few sets of brothers fell in love with a couple of sets of sisters, too, which makes for simpler charting: "See line 22".

helmikuu 23, 2010, 4:38pm

Here's a link to a great article on pedigree collapse:

helmikuu 24, 2010, 8:33am

Good article Vic.

helmikuu 26, 2010, 7:05pm

My grandfather married my grandmother' aunt after my grandmother passed away. The aunt was also a widow. I was told it was a marriage of convenience - there were 2 small boys to take care of and it wouldn't look proper for a respectable woman to move into a man's house. It does make for an interesting genealogy chart however.

helmikuu 28, 2010, 7:43pm

I don't believe they were actually legally married, but ... my great-great grandfather was left a widower with two toddlers back in the late 1860's. A woman I believe to be the widow of his his brother, or cousin, appears in the 1880 census as his "wife", with their four Brady Bunch-like (combined) sons as all his (their) kids - I guess it wasn't just the census taker they were deceiving for propriety's sake.

maaliskuu 1, 2010, 3:20am

shoot, I think I have everyone beat!

1) (more recent from the 70's!) on Jan 1 my dads brother got married......then on April 1 my moms sister got married, then on June 3 my parents married.....here is where it gets weird.....my dads brother married my moms sisters husbands sister.........(the Jan 1 couple are Dane and Lyn, Dane being my dads brother, the April 1 couple are Bill and Sheri, Bill and Lyn are brother and sister, my parents are Jerry and Georgi and Sheri and Georgi are sisters!) Life is so much fun!

2) My gg grandfathers brother married his neice

3) I have two first cousins that are my gg grandparents (they arent MY first cousins, but first cousins to eachother!)

4) my ex husbands dad married his ex wifes sister, making my ex husbands half brother his cousin too!

elokuu 25, 2010, 7:46pm

My 3rd great grandfather married his son's mother-in-law, after they were both widowed, thus making their children step-siblings as well as husband and wife.

elokuu 27, 2010, 6:18am

My great great grandfather's granddaughter by his first marriage married his second wife's sister's son. I had to draw a small tree on a piece of paper before I was able to believe that there was no incest involved.

elokuu 27, 2010, 6:54am

#22 I agree with you about some of that software. My mother's sister married my father's brother (probably not that uncommon) and I abandoned my earlier choice of software (which could well have been ancestry.com) because there was no way of linking the two. Annoying enough when that kind of thing happens way back in the family line - even more so when it's with the first generation you hit upon.

BTW - Just in case anyone's now thinking of marrying their first cousin - don't forget that in the days we are talking about here, if a child was born with serious deformities or congenital health problems, it probably wouldn't have survived anyway. In an age where infant death was already common, it's unlikely the connection would have been made between the illness and the consanguinity of the parents. In many ways, the remarriage of husband to sister-in-law etc probably made some sense as it would have been more likely to involve some familial affection for the children involved.

joulukuu 5, 2010, 2:45pm

>32 Booksloth: - I have a similar strange one - my great-grandmother married her great-grandfathers' stepson by his second marriage. I also had to draw a chart, in order to figure out how this could have happened - four generations passed in one family, against two in the other!

joulukuu 8, 2010, 7:53am

Worst case I've got in my database is Engelberta Harmina Roerdink. Her parents were first cousins twice over, and her grandparents were first cousins too! This was a family that belonged to the farmer's elite in Winterswijk in the Netherlands. They all tended to marry in their kin to keep the land together.

joulukuu 12, 2010, 12:14pm

My Grandmother and Grandfather were first cousins. Their mothers were sisters. It was an arranged marriage in 1916 in Sicily. Back than they married first cousins. and yes they lived happily ever after.

maaliskuu 14, 2011, 6:49pm

Cousin marriages were common in isolated populations such as that on Nantucket Island, where my father's ancestors lived for many generations.