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Thread: Discussing ancestors who "entwined the branches" (i.e., they married cousins).

  1. #11
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    I have found that the primary cause of a significant amount of intermarriages is that some families remained in one very small geographical area for such a long time, that eventually almost 90 % of the residents of a valley are related to one line that moved there some 150 to 200 years ago. Population studies of Fiji show 80 to 90 % are related in the last 200 years due to few arriving as new residents and few leaving the island. So any county where your relatives remained for 150 to 200 years, you will have 100s of intermarriages. In three counties I now have around 500 intermarriages - Scott County, VA (Possum Creek valley), Jackson County, AL (valley that includes the extinct town of Wininger) and Bulloch County, GA in and around Statesboro.

    They are kind of fun to track and figuring out a creative way to show so many intermarriages in a family history.
    Last edited by RobertCasey; 02-12-2017 at 02:08 AM.

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  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertCasey View Post
    I have found that the primary cause of a significant amount of intermarriages is that some families remained in one very small geographical area for such a long time, that eventually almost 90 % of the residents of a valley are related to one line that moved there some 150 to 200 years ago. Population studies of Fiji show 80 to 90 % are related in the last 200 years due to few arriving as new residents and few leaving the island. So any county where your relatives remained for 150 to 200 years, you will have 100s of intermarriages. In three counties I now have around 500 intermarriages - Scott County, VA (Possum Creek valley), Jackson County, AL (valley that includes the extinct town of Wininger) and Bulloch County, GA in and around Statesboro.

    They are kind of fun to track and figuring out a creative way to show so many intermarriages in a family history.
    Yes, a long time in the same geographic area definitely has to be a big factor. However, there are places where the local customs don't permit marrying within the same town -- let alone within the same family. Of course, given enough time, as you suggest, even an entire county or similar subdivision will be filled with related people.

    Still, my mother was born in Biloxi, Mississippi. While that isn't a large city, it still is a city rather than a town or village. Despite that, there seem to have been cousin marriages within my extended family down to the present day.

    As an example, I'd mentioned two of my cousins at FTDNA -- Frank & Lorraine. Frank's a 2nd cousin once removed to both his wife Lorraine and to me; and Lorraine and I are 3rd cousins to each other. Their son Frank, Jr., is related to me through three of his four grandparents.

    I'm only related to Frank, Jr., or his parents through a single grandparent on my side. However, it seems as if it's only been recently that my grandmother's family took up the habit of marrying nonrelatives. My grandmother's mother was actually married twice, and her first husband was her 2nd cousin. Her 2nd husband was my grandmother's father -- and he was from a neighboring state, and not (so far as we know) related to my grandmother's mother.

    Of course, I say that, but ... both of my grandmother's parents were the children of Minorcan immigrants. While there aren't any indications that they knew each other either before or after they immigrated, their fathers did come from the same 30-mile-long island. And their families lived on that island for many generations, so who knows whether they might have been related, after all?

    My point, though, is just that custom is definitely a factor. Among my father's relatives, the very idea of marrying a cousin of any kind is unsettling. I upset a niece of mine just by pointing out that her then-boyfriend was perhaps a 4th cousin, or possibly 3rd cousin once removed.

    Among some of my mother's kin -- at least on her mother's side -- I suspect some would have been more disturbed by her marrying a Yankee than if she married a cousin. Especially if that cousin was anything more distant than 1st, and even if he wasn't.

    Plus, while this isn't quite the same thing, it seems to have been pretty common for families to tie more than one knot between them. I'm aware of a trio of Fayard brothers, for example, who married a trio of Fountain sisters. But then, Fayards and Fountains seemed to marry one another pretty regularly. So did Fayards and Ladners, and Ladners and Ryan. So I would suppose that my mother probably was related to most of Biloxi, after all, since all of these names appear in her tree.

    In fact, looking at my DNA Circles at Ancestry, most of them involve one or another of these names -- at least the ones on my maternal grandmother's side. And I'm related to most of the other circle members by more than one path -- sometimes, by as many as five different paths.
    The short explanation of my ancestry is British-German-Catalan, but it actually includes smaller amounts of French, Irish, Swiss, Choctaw and probably Cherokee. My avatar picture is of my father, his father, and his father's father. The baby in the picture is my eldest brother.

    GB

  4. #13
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    In my family my great grandparents on my mothers side were 1st cousins and they had 8 healthy children who went on to have families of their own and were pretty successful, also on my paternal side my great grandmother was the daughter of 1st cousins and her parents my 2nd great grandparents had 16 children that were also healthy, raised families, the boys all served in WW1 with 1 dying in the Argonne Forest and he has a monument at Arlington Cemetery. I had read a report/study that was done over many years that showed that the chances of having Mentally disabled children from 1st cousin marriages is no higher than a marriage of non related people so that was a myth that still goes to this day, my mothers side was from Aroostook County in Northern Maine and my fathers side was from Quebec Province and what I was told was back in the old days if you lived on your fathers farm of 200 acres and the next farm of 125 acres was your fathers sister and her husbands family and then on the other side was the 70 acre farm of your fathers brother or cousin and their family so the children a lot of the time had very little interaction with anybody that was not somehow related to them.

  5. #14
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    I have multiple ones, one instance is within the family of a 18th century farmer woman. Her parents were 3rd cousins. Her mother's parents were 1st cousins. Her maternal grandmother was however also child of 1st cousins, and those lines were related to her own father. In short, in the 6th generation she has only 22 different ancestors instead of 32. It's interesting, because, though many couples on the Dutch countryside were unknowingly 6th cousins of each other, these must somehow planned this to keep farmland in the family.
    Ancestry (approx.):
    3/4 Dutch; 1/8 German+Belgian+French+English+Swiss; 1/16 Indonesian+Dutch Colonial; 3/64 Ashkenazi; 1/64 Sephardi.

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  7. #15
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    I have several marriages in my tree that are interesting. One of my 3x great grandfathers married his wife, she died and then he later married her sister. My own father his first wife is his first cousin, my parents never married as they were teenagers when I was born. There's a lot of types of cousin marriages but not first cousins from my mother's Dorset family.
    AncestryDNA - 77% European, 12% Asian, 9% African, 1% Native American, 1% Pacific Islander
    23andme - 78.7% European, 10.2% East Asian and Native American, 7.5% Subsaharan African, 2.7% South Asian, 0.1% North African, 0.8% unassigned
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  8. #16
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  9. #17
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    My great great grandfather remarried his first cousin, both Dalys of County Mayo extraction. I am descended from that unholy union ��. My mother's line is from the same remote hamlet as my father's, so there are probably more hidden surprises.
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