#166: How wise Was My GEEK

166.1   wiseGEEK is a website that describes itself as “clear answers for common questions.” One question might be: why answers for questions instead of answers to questions? My answer is: it’s the new grammar, the “close enough” grammar…certainly better than answers about questions or answers on questions, wouldn’t you agree? Unlike Wikipedia, I have never seen wiseGEEK cited as a source of information…in fact, wiseGEEK doesn’t have a page on Wikipedia, surprise of surprises.

166.2   Sadly, the wiseGEEK page on cousins is anything but clear…awkward and confusing in spots, flat out wrong in others. It does prompt regular comments, in the form of questions about kinship, which I answer there…and here. They won’t let you link to another site…and here is much better since I can include a diagram…seeing is believing, nez pah? The questions tend to focus on: can we get married or at least date, without going to jail? But there are all kinds, some simple, some complex. Time to get caught up…

chart 586

166.3  Before anything else, there is an error in the statement of the question: “Christy and Alan are my Mum’s [Miriam's] first cousins.” Christy is, Alan isn’t. Miriam and Christy’s mothers are sisters, so they are 1st cousins right enough. But Miriam’s mother and Alan’s father are 1st cousins, so they are 2nd cousins. Also, Christy and Alan, married, are 2nd cousins, as you can see on Chart 586.

166.4  Because your mother is related to both Joe’s mother and father, you and Joe will be related to each other in 2 ways: 2nd cousins, since Miriam and Christy are 1st cousins…and 3rd cousins, since Miriam and Alan are 2nd cousins. Total relationship 1/32 (= 4/128) + 1/128 = 5/128.  By percentages, 3.9% related, 96.1% unrelated. Anything beyond 1st cousins 87.5% is completely legal everywhere in the world…and even 1st cousins are legal in most of the world and about half the states. So that’s a go! Plus they’re right, Jeff really does have nothing to do with this…sorry, Jeff.

chart 587

166.5  To begin with, 2 clarifications…some people reading that first sentence might think it means your Dad’s brother married your Dad’s sister…we will graciously assume that this aunt is on the other side of the family, your mother’s. Also, not to get picky, but if there are “direct cousins,” what in the world would be “indirect cousins”? Actually, there is neither, also obviously.

166.6  What we have here is something that was much more common a few generations ago than it is today: 2 siblings from one family marrying 2 siblings from another family. The resulting cousins are called “double 1st cousins”…1st cousins thru their fathers and thru their mothers…1st cousins in 2 different ways. What’s more, while “single” 1st cousins share only one pair of grandparents, doubles share both pairs. Since being related to someone in more than one way is unusual, it’s understandably confusing to many people. The rule is: both ways count! So your total relationship is 1/8 + 1/8 = 1/4…you are as closely related to your double 1st cousins as you would be to a half-sibling. And the years spent trying to figure this out are now…officially…over!

chart 588

166.7  For sure, you and your girl-friend are 3rd cousins, as per Chart 588…completely legal in every state in the union and every country in the world. You have mathematics working for you, as your degree of relationship is 1/128…meaning you are 99.2% unrelated. And if that doesn’t sound like very much, it’s because it isn’t very much…for all intents and purposes, you are not genetically related at all, altho genealogically, you are 100% related…but there’s the difference between genealogy and genetics, you see.

chart 589

166.8  When you hear, for example, that somebody’s great grandfather is somebody else’s great grandfather’s brother, you should immediately glom onto the fact that they are of the same generation…brother to brother…hence their descendants of each generation will be “straight” numbered cousins, with no “removeds.” Not here tho…its grandmother to one, grandmother’s aunt to the other…meaning we’re in “removed” territory. Since an aunt is one generation away from the niece, it’s going to be “once removed.”

166.9  Then we simply slide down the “cousin ladder” as I call it…your mother and your girl-friend”s grandmother are 1st cousins…you and her mother are 2nd cousins…you and her are 2nd cousins once removed…so that really does make you and her some type of, doesn’t it? As I said, seeing really is believing.

chart 590

166.10  You might think I’m picking on the poser of this question…if so, believe what you like. I am here to help, nothing more. The fact remains that this is an excellent example of what happens when somebody hasn’t the slightest idea of how our kinship system works, and so just takes a wild stab at it. They are asking: what is my 5th cousins’s 8th cousin to me? Feeling compelled to supply an answer, they think that adding 5 + 8 is logical…resulting in “13th cousins” with “by marriage” tacked on just in case. It isn’t logical…it isn’t anything. In genealogy, it has no meaning or significance whatsoever.

166.11  You will notice that on Chart 590 I have not delineated the cousin ladder…sibs, 1C, 2C, 3C, etc., as I normally do. In this case, there’s no need to. You know how you see ads on the internet promising to solve some problems with “a weird trick”? This gets my goat, since usually it’s not weird at all…just something you never thought of…and as such, it really isn’t a trick, just a way or a method. But whatever you call them, there are several of these in genealogy, that even folks who understand the basics aren’t aware of. Here the rule is simple: to you, your Ath cousin’s Bth cousin is whichever is larger, A or B. If A and B are the same number, the answer can be anything from siblings up to and including Ath cousins.

166.12  So your 5th cousin’s 8th cousin is your 8th cousin, 8 being larger than 5…left side of Chart 590, in green. The caveat is that this is only true if you are related at all…because this 8th cousin may be on the other side of your 5th cousin’s family, in which case they are no relation to you…right side of Chart 590, in pink. I’m tempted to think that’s really what’s going on in this case, since “by marriage” was mentioned…but no way to tell for sure. Computers stop dead in their tracks when confronted with “insufficient data”…I plow on.

chart 591

166.13  When it comes to famous vs. non-famous, I just shrug and say: Everybody’s related to somebody. Here, we simply do what we should always do: start with the siblings. Despite what the wiseGEEK cousins article says, figuring cousins from a common ancestor is imprecise and best not done…always look for and start with the siblings…and if they turn out to be half-siblings, everybody going downward will be halfs*…half-1st cousins, half-2nd cousins, etc. …like it or not.

* Since genealogy blogs can be rather dry, I try to make this one as wet as I can stand it…which means I’ll go off on tangents at the drop of a hat, and sometimes drop my own hat. Would you have preferred I said “halves”? Hockey fans will immediately recognize this quirk as they have a team in Toronto, historically called the Maple Leafs, not the Maple Leaves. There are various explanations as to why this is so, but it really boils down to accepted English usage. In some cases, a thing described by an  irregular plural noun is not sufficiently like that basic thing to merit the use of the irregular plural.

For example, the teeth of a gear are considered to be enough like the teeth in your head to be called teeth not tooths. On the other hand, if somebody gooses you…then it happens again…you were correctly the recipient of 2 gooses…nobody would say 2 geese. For some reason…perhaps the global dumbing-down is to blame…some people are hesitant, when talking about the computer mouse, to say 2 mouses, thinking 2 mice sounds better. Trust me, it doesn’t…it sounds, well, dumb. And since there is no such thing as halve-cousins, I will not say halves but rather halfsmuch as my spell-checker wants to change that to halts.

166.14  Zero in on the siblings in Chart 591 and work your way down from there. Your great grandfather and Friedrich Ebert’s father are brothers…your grandparent (child of your great grandfather) and Ebert are 1st cousins…you are 2 generations removed from your grandparent, so Ebert is your 1st cousin twice removed. As Archie Bunker would say, ipso fatso.

chart 592

166.15  Banishing confusion is my business, brother! See that = in Chart 592? That’s like an impassable boundary…it means somebody you’re related to got married…and on the “other” side of that marriage, nobody is related to you by blood. The closest relatives on the spouse’s side could be called “in-laws”…further away, you could say “by marriage”…but even then, many people think these terms are only appropriate when it’s your marriage that’s the origin of it all…with the exception of sibling-in-law, which you can have without being married if you at least have a sibling. Still, usage varies…so to say Charlie is your 1st cousin by marriage is not the worst crime in the history of humanity, not by a long chalk. Deep thoughts next week…bring your bathing cap and dive in, won’t you?


 Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

#165: All in the Super-Family

165.1 Last week we looked at Superman…born Kal-El…and his blood relatives. Now he is an extraterrestrial, simply because he’s not from this planet. Is he a Homo sapiens? He’s pretty much assumed to be…still, the idea that he came from a larger planet with higher gravity only goes so far in justifying his enormous strength and, at first anyway, leaping ability. It does nothing to explain literally flying, invulnerability, and certainly not X-ray vision, “heat-vision,” super breath, and all of that. So while he probably isn’t of the species sapiens, he’s undoubtedly of the genus Homo. For 76 years everybody’s  acted as if he could…um…”mate” with an Earth woman, altho I don’t believe he officially has. Officially…

165.2  Point is, it’s not much of a stretch to assume that Superman’s genetic connection to his relatives is identical to ours…which is to say, for example, he isn’t more closely related to his father than his mother, nothing like that. One thing we didn’t mention last week was that those various parallel dimensions…Earth-Two, Earth-Three, etc. …had “their own” Superman counterpart. Are you related to your alternate world counterpart? Genetically identical? You might say yes, otherwise on what basis would your counterpart be identified as your counterpart in the first place? On the other hand, maybe “counterpart” simply means being of similar status or in the same circumstances in your “world” as somebody else is in theirs…and not necessary being the “same” identical person. Guess is depends of how parallel is parallel, no?

165.3  But it can get mighty tricky…take Hyperman, alias Chester King, seen below, top row left. As told in the story “The Superman from Outer Space!”…Action #265 (6/60)…he rocketed from the doomed planet Zoron to become the resident super hero of the planet Oceania, which looks an awful lot like Earth. He is physically identical (sans uniform) to our Superman…and they use this fact in a charade to convince Lois (once again) that Clark Kent is not you-know who. Mind you, this parallel Earth-like world is still in our universe or dimension…the original Earth-One.

inset 1

165.4  But nothing is simple in the DCverse…in an alternate reality, Kal-El has a brother Knor-El, who as Ken Clarkson becomes the Superman of the United States…while Kal-El as Charles LeBlanc is Hyperman, the Superman of Canada. As Superman himself once remarked: “What th–?” At any rate, that’s “our” Hyperman above, top left…along with some other variations on a theme. Anti-Superman and Anti-Batman turned out to be Perry White and Commissioner Gordon with temporary superpowers that made them younger but also turned them evil…makes perfect sense to me. But you want more? I’ll give you more…there was really no end to the combinations and recombinations, nez pah?

inset 2

165.5  I might also mention that for a time in the early 1960s, DC concentrated a great deal on what they called The Superman Family…not literally his relatives, but rather all the important cast members populating the many Superman-related comic books. Below is a typical group portrait from about 1960…can you name everybody? Answers after today’s wicked ballsy.  BTW, Superboy isn’t included, since he is the same person as Superman, altho we do see some of his buds from the futuristic Legion of Super-Heroes. Well, there were even some Superbaby stories if I recall. Anyway, I’ve included Superboy as he appeared in an unsold TV pilot from 1961, 2 years after the death of George Reeves, TV’s Man of Steel.


165.6  This “Family” idea was swiped from Superman’s major Golden Age competitor, Captain Marvel, who famously headed the Marvel Family, with Billy Batson Jr., Mary Marvel, Uncle Marvel, the 3 Lieutenant Marvels, even Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, and Black Adam, the Captain’s evil look-a-like, who would occasionally join forces with the good guys. Today tho we’re going to look at Superman’s other family…his adopted parents here on Earth…again, that’s “our” Earth…Earth-One…all the rest of them can blog for themselves…

inset 3a

165.7  As was typical, it took several years before they settled into an official story that they were able to stick to. In Action #1, dated June 1938 but on the newsstands in April, the capsule containing the infant Kal-El is found by a “passing motorist”…he is raised in an orphanage, and is Clark Kent as an adult, with no explanation of how he got that way. A year later, in Superman #1, this origin tale is expanded to include his foster parents…seen above, left…Mary Kent and her at-that-time unnamed husband. Notice how as Clark grows older, their hair goes from white to brown…over the years they have most often been shown as gray-haired, but not always, above right.

chart 584

165.8  By Superman #53 in 1948, they are John and Mary Clark Kent…2 years later he is Jonathan for the first time, and a year after that she Martha. In response to a reader’s letter in Superman #148 (10/61), her full name is given as Martha Hudson Clark Kent. Older generations of relatives got filled in as the years progressed. Playing the Fan Logic Game, it is not inconceivable that for a time Jonathan might have been commonly been called John, and Martha known by some as Mary…such things do happen in real life after all.

165.9  Where we do get into trouble is the 1942 novel “The Adventures of Superman” written by George F. Lowther…he calls them Eben and Sarah…and oddly enough, they are also called that on the George Reeves TV series…altho of the 104 episodes, Superman’s parents only appear once, in the first episode, “Superman on Earth.” It’s also Eben in the 1948 serial starring Kirk Alyn…the Internet Movie Data Base says his mom is Martha, but she is not named in the film, and neither Kent is listed in the credits. Then in the unsold 1961 “The Adventures of Superboy” pilot, they are back to Jonathan and Martha…go figure.

chart 585

165.10  We know the basics for Lois Lane, Lana Lang, and Supergirl…Chart 585. Lois grew up on a farm in Pittsdale. Linda Lee Danvers lived with her adopted parents in Midvale, not Smallville…she was co-temporaneous with Superman, not Superboy…still, it could have been Smallville but it wasn’t. She initially lives in an orphanage as Linda Lee…and is Linda Lee Danvers or just plain Linda Danvers when she lives with her foster folks.

165.11  The situation with Lois’ siblings is interesting. Susie Tompkins was introduced in 1943…Lois’ sister’s daughter who comes to live with her for a spell. Susie’s parents are never mentioned, but her being “from the country” as stated below is significant, since it suggests that her father is not in show business. Meaning what? Meaning that he was not a Lane who changed his name to Tompkins…he was the Tompkins, thus Susie’s mother was a Lane…and Lois’ sister really is her sister, not her sister-in-law. In the weird world of DC, you have to nail these things down! Susie appeared in quite a few stories, rather juvenile ones as you might expect, and she disappears after 1955.

inset 4

165.12  4 years later, Lois’ adult sister Lucy, a stewardess, is introduced as Jimmy Olsen’s love interest. She is portrayed as Lois’ only sibling, and is unmarried…unless her husband and daughter Susie died and no one ever mentions it, which seems spectacularly unlikely. And with 76 years of story-telling, it wouldn’t surprise me if relatives of Perry White and Jimmy Olsen were mentioned here or there…I did a little digging, found nothing…well at some point, in some medium, Perry’s wife Alice has an affair with Lex Luthor and a son by him, Jerry White, whom Perry believes to be his son…but not Baby Boomer-era material, so easily disregarded, sez me. Non-canonical? How about anti-canonical! Next week, a bunch of Q’s get A’ed…see yez…

wicked ballsy

wicked ballsy

32 of TV’s Superman episodes, the first 2 seasons, were filmed in black and white…the other 52 were in color. Now when viewed in color, that rich blue and red suit worked fine…but notice how it looks in black and white…no contrast, the colors blend together. For the black and white episodes, everything was colored so that it would look “right” when viewed monochromatically. Supey’s uniform was brown and light blue-gray, what we used to call “cadet gray”…or was that “cadet blue”?

Speaking of the TV series, we might as well address that urban legend about the gun…that villains would empty their clips at Superman, bullets ricocheting off his chest…then in desperation, they’d throw the gun at him…and he’d duck! D’oh!


This turns out to be one of those rare urban legends that is absolutely true, altho it happened only once, in the 8th episode of the 1st season, “The Mind Machine.” And it wasn’t George Reeves who ducked, but his stunt double Dick Van Sickle. Above, (1) bad guy Lou Cranek (played by Victor Buono look-a-like Dan Seymour) should know better, but figures maybe his bullets can do what other’s couldn’t…no such luck. (2) In desperation, he winds up to hurl his weapon…(3) and altho it sails well high of the mark, Superman ducks, just for good measure.

Now throughout this scene, there is a lot of punching and jumping around…sometimes it’s Reeves, especially in closer shots…other times it’s Van Sickle…who knows, maybe he was simply a better ducker. At any event, above, lower right we compare the 2, and below that, a clearer picture of Van Sickle as both Superman and himself.

Superman Family Answers…

fasmly answeers A couple of niggling notes…Mr. Mxyzptlk’s name was originally spelled Mxyztplk, with the P and T reversed…Lightning Lad was originally called Lightning Boy…Prof. Phineas Potter is Lana Lang’s uncle as per Chart 585…and Lori Lemaris is a mermaid from the city of Tritonis, on the sunken continent of Atlantis, introduced in 1959.


Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved



#164: Duper!

164.1  Compiling a genealogy of Superman is a daunting task…dare I say Herculean…would that be mixing metaphors?…no?…good, didn’t think so. Foremost because Superman is a fictional character, and subject to all the biographical omissions and inconsistencies inherent in fiction…especially a character who has existed continuously for 76 years (as of 2014.) He has been chronicled in thousands of comic book stories, not to mention a newspaper comic strip that ran from 1939-1966. Then you have movies, radio and TV shows, novelizations (what we used to call “books”), toys, games, coloring books, costumes, and other merchandize…and yes, now video games.

164.2  Given the ridiculous wealth of source material, something must be held as “canonical”…I would include the comic books and the newspaper strip. The latter was originally produced by Joe Shuster & Jerry Siegel, the team that invented Superman for the funny books (as we used to call them) in the first place…and Mr. Mxyzptlk, a bald Lex Luthor, the telephone-booth-as-a-changing-room all made their first appearance in the daily strips. (The again, Jimmy Olsen first appeared on the radio show…to give Clark Kent “somebody to talk to,” as the story goes.)

164.3  But there are other problems…after all, Superman, like all super hero characters, is science fiction…where literally anything can happen. Perfect example: does Clark Kent have a Super-Sister named Claire Kent? Sure looks like it… inset 1 164.4  …from Adventure #278 (11/58). Actually, Superboy has been transformed into a girl, much to the unexpected (at least to me) delight of his adopted parents. Considered today, there’s a lot that could be said about this story-line…none of which would have occurred to anyone back in 1958…and I am going to respectfully decline to say it. But in the end, the whole episode turns out to be a dream projected into Superboy’s mind by a female alien whom he insulted…that’s the Shar-La mentioned in the last panel above. So no, he doesn’t have a sister. mon

164.5  But this would be a good time to get Mon-El out of the way. Introduced in Superboy #89 (6/61) he is Lar Gand, a young explorer from the planet Daxam, who lands on Krypton a short time before its destruction. Superman’s father Jor-El gives him a map showing the way to Earth…gee, I wonder why…but he lands here with amnesia. Because he too has super-powers, Superboy assumes he’s his long-lost brother, naming him Mon (because he arrived on a Monday). He takes on the Smallville identity of Bob Cobb, and is eventually seen mostly with the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th century. But he’s discovered to be no kin, obviously.

164.6  In addition to dreams and illusions, DC loved doing plain old imaginary stories…what-if’s with no connection to their regular on-going “reality.” Did Superman have any children? But of course…at various times with Lois Lane: Jordan, Clark Jr., Laney, Lola, Superman Jr., and twins Larry and Carole…and with Lana Lang (his old girlfriend from the Superboy days): Joan and twins Kal and Jor. Well, not really…but you see the problem.

164.7  Then again, even given the science fiction angle, the universe in which Superman and the other DC characters live in is an ungodly mess. As popular as superheroes were in the 1940s, they petered out in the 1950s…what’s now called the Golden Age lasted from 1938 to about 1951. There was the “Interregnum” from about 1951-55, super hero-less except for Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Then DC re-introduced the character of the Flash in 1955…but this was a different Flash from the Golden Age version…different costume, different identity. Thus was born the Silver Age, 1955-1970.

164.8  The time was ripe, and readers took to the new super-folk with an intensity not seen before…which in due course would give birth to fanzines and amateur comic books, then conventions and dress-up. Naturally, the question arose: why are there 2 different Flashes, an old one and a new one? In 1961 DC took the bold step of explaining it this way: there was an alternative reality called Earth-Two, where the heroes from the 1940s existed, independently from the “new” heroes of the 1950s…and the 2 worlds could interact. Once this genie was out of the bottle, alternate Earths proliferated at an alarming rate…eventually there were hundreds of them.

164.9  It all came to a head in 1985…with a series of stories across multiple comic book titles, collectively called “The Crisis on Infinite Earths.” History was re-written…the dizzying complexity was pruned without mercy…what they called the Multiverse collapsed into just one, and many characters either died or were designated as never having existed. They said they did this to simplify the scene for new or casual readers…frankly, I don’t believe that. I think this was just another layer of “reality” superimposed on all the others, to make things even more complex and pregnant with ingenious plots and twists.

164.10  And I say that because the whole thing really didn’t take…elements of the old Multiverse soon began creeping back into story-lines, and today fans talk about characters and incidents as Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis…because after all, you can’t un-ring a bell…what is supposed to have never happened still did happen before it didn’t happen, nez pah? Otherwise, there would have been no history to re-write.

164.11  Now I bring all this up because my Superman genealogy will be confined mostly to what Baby Boomers will remember…gleaned from 1938 up thru the early 1970s, in some cases a little later. But you must understand that things are “different” today. As one example, your grandson might tell you that the “original” Superboy, who was after all Superman as a teenager, died fighting with the Legion in the 30th century. Today’s Superboy is a clone of Superman named Kon-El. Um…ok…fine. Thus, many of the individuals in Chart 583 don’t “exist” today and never did. Right…whatever…chart 583164.12  You will notice that Kryptonian naming customs are slightly different from ours. Take Var-El at the very top of Chart 583. His family name is El, his given name is Var…the 2 are connected with a hyphen. He had 2 sons, Jor (Superman’s grandfather) and Zim…thus Jor-El and Zim-El. He also had a daughter named Kayla (sometimes Kalya or Kyla)…but her name was not Kayla-El, because females take their father’s entire name as a surname, combined without a hyphen with their given name…so she is Kayla Var-El. Had Superman really had a daughter, named after his mother, she’d be Lara Kal-El, not Lara-El…get it? Speaking of inconsistencies, Supergirl’s mother Alura is sometimes spelled Allura, just so you know. And Post-Crisis, some of those who still existed got new names…who cares, not me. inset 2164.13  Top row above you see one of the earliest incarnations of Kal-El’s parents. In the very first Superman comic book, Action #1 (6/38) his father is referred to only as “a scientist.” In the newspaper strip the following year he is named Jor-L, eventually Jor-el then Jor-El. His costume became standardized as basically green (middle row). His brother Zor-El (Supergirl’s father) looked similar, only red (bottom row)…well, most of the time…you still had inexplicable exceptions, like that strange dude in yellow, bottom right.

164.14  Most of the Kryptonians in Chart 583 were mentioned but never seen.  loisAfter all, for the first 20 years of the Superman saga, he was the lone survivor of the planet Krypton. Sure, you could have flashbacks…and time travel episodes like the one at the right…notice how they go out of their way to assure the reader this it NOT an imaginary story. A bit on the Oedipal side? Well, something similar was a main plot device in “Back To the Future” and the world didn’t end, as I recall.

164.15  All this changed in the late 1950s with the introduction of Kandor, the shrunken Kryptonian city in a bottle, stored at Supey’s Fortress of Solitude. Below, top left, the blue-and-white clad individual is Nim-El, Superman’s uncle, identical twin to his father Jor-El, altho he doesn’t look like it here. Superman, in the middle, has been impersonating Nim-El and been detected…but the presence of Jor-El suggests this is time-travel, not Kandor…even tho Nim-El does survive in Kandor, and his son Don-El, said to be Superman’s look-a-like, which is hardly surprising, is their chief of police. One time Don-El goes off his rocker and thinks he’s Superman. inset 3 164.16  Forgive me for not double-checking, but that could very well be Don-El in the bottom row left, dressed as Superman, but with a mask since the rest of Kandor would recognize him…versus Superman as Nightwing and Jimmy Olsen as Flamebird, the Batman and Robin of Kandor. Eventually their places would be taken by Van-Zee as Nightwing, another Superman look-a-like, said to be his 2nd cousin but actually his father’s 1st cousin…and Van Zee’s niece’s husband Ak-Var as Flamebird. This new Duo is seen bottom right, now wearing masks since they too would be known to Kandorians.

164.17  Besides Kandor, there’s the Kryptonian city of Argo…home of Supergirl’s parents Zor-El and Alura. It was flung free of Krypton and eventually destroyed by Green Kryptonite…but not before they sent her to Earth to be cared for by her 1st cousin Superman. And we also have evil Kryptonians surviving in the Phantom Zone…top right is another of Superman’s father’s first cousins, Kru-El. And on it goes. At various times the House of El has been traced back dozens of generations…but I think you’ve got the basics of the Pedigree of Steel, at least the extraterrestrial side. Next week, part 2: Attack of the Adoptionoids from Terra!

wicked ballsy

ballsy Superheroes were one of the key motifs of the Pop Art movement back in the 1960s. I remember one art critic actually admitting he liked them, appreciating such characters as unabashedly “idiotic”…his word. Well, Marvel Comics tried to steer the genre into less idiotic territory, and in the fullness of time DC would follow suit. But back in their heyday, hoo-boy! Vegetable people attracted to light…and to Green Goddess salad dressing…


Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

#163: Follow-up Questions, Please…

163.1 Dear Stolf: Weren’t you picking on the Greenleaf family last week…maybe just a little?  …from Dolores Fensterblau, Redneck NJ

163.2  Dear Dolores: You mean all those relatives marrying relatives? Not a bit…just telling it like it was, baby. Don’t kill the messenger. As I have said many times: their ways were not our ways. But since you brought it up…I did happen to find some more…outside of the William Greenleaf/Mary Brown line, which shows they weren’t the only “culprits.”

chart 579

163.3  Perusing Chart 579, you must remember that all these individuals were born with the last name of Greenleaf…so no new monograms on the towels were needed. I’ve included William Greenleaf’s place in the tree to get you oriented…it might be fun to do 2 things: determine how William is related to each of the Greenleafs who married a Greenleaf…and how each of those couples are related to each other. Answers will appear after today’s wicked ballsy below.

163.4  But one thing you might have noticed…there are 2 Stephen Greenleaf Jr.’s at the top of the chart. Now sometimes genealogists will bestow posthumous titles on individuals to distinguish them from those with the same name. It could be I/II/III or Sr./Jr. Personally, I think it’s better to use those only if the person did so in their lifetime. Better would be to say Joe Blow (1) and Joe Blow (2). Sometimes to be explicit about it, I’ll say Joe Blow born 1813 and Joe Blow born 1845.

chart 580

163.5  And this is a case in point. Chart 580 gives you the specifics of what was going on. Comparing the dates of the grandson’s birth and the grandfather’s death, you will see that 3 Stephen Greenleafs were alive for a span of 42 days. To the best of my knowledge…and yes, I did poke around on this a bit…#2 was known as Jr. during #1′s lifetime…and #3 was Jr. during #2′s lifetime. If it were your family, you could have done something different…employed “III” perhaps…but that’s the way they did it.

163.6  Dear Stolf: Very interesting discussion about the number of kids Jerry and Millie Helper had. But you didn’t address another issue: her “phantom” pregnancy. Will you please?  …Scarsdale Sal, Old Rochelle NY

163.7  My Gal Sal: Be tickled pink to. There was so much to cover, I reluctantly left this out…but I’m glad to put it back in. We’re talking about a sequence of 6 episodes from the first season…numbers 1-12 thru 1-17. Millie Helper does not appear in 1-13 or 1-14, but she does in the other 4…and she is decidedly pregnant. We exclude 1-15 because this is a flashback episode, when Laura is pregnant with Richie, and Millie is supposed to be pregnant too…altho with whom is a good question…see Related How Again #156…paragraphs 156.13-23.


163.8  The difficulty is this: in the present time setting of the series, they’ve had all their kids…one for the Petries, 3 for the Helpers. Flashback episodes proved popular with viewers, so they did quite a few of them…centering on the Army days when Rob and Laura met…and when they had Richie. And there are the expected discrepancies, especially with the latter…like when the time has almost arrived, and Rob is sleeping in his clothes to be better prepared for the mad dash to the hospital, they’re living in their “old place” in the fictional Willetstown, said to be one hour from New Rochelle. Yet when they bring Richie home from the hospital…the famous “switched babies” episode…they’re in their “new place” in New Rochelle. Is it possible that while Laura was in the hospital, Rob was busy moving them? Yeah…but not likely.

163.9  In any event…what to make of Millie’s condition in episodes 1-12, 1-16, and 1-17. I’d say the best way to sum it up is this: Ann Morgan Guilbert was pregnant…Millie Helper wasn’t. Because not once  during these 3 episodes is there any mention of it…and of course there is not, eventually, a 4th Helper sibling. Playing the Fan Logic Game, there are several tragic ways to explain this…obviously…but me, I chose to judiciously ignore them.

163.10  But seeing is believing, so let’s try and check it out. Guilbert and her husband George Eckstein had 2 children…Nora born 2/4/1955 and Hallie born 1/5/1962. These episodes aired from 12/12/1961 to 1/17/1962 so that’s it…it’s Hallie! What’s more, Guilbert was not in any of the remaining 13 episodes of that first season, next appearing in the 2nd episode of the 2nd season, which certainly suggests a period of recuperation, nez pah?

163.11 Dear Stolf: You said a while back that no 1st cousins have ever been President. My daughter-in-law tells me Washington and Madison were 1st cousins twice removed. I know, that means one was the 1st cousin of a grandparent of the other. Still, truthoid or crapola?   …from Garfield Harding, Polktown VA

163.12  Dear Garfield: Before I examine your DIL’s claim, a couple of things. First, any time you say “1st cousin” it certainly sounds closer than 2nd, 3rd, 4th cousins, etc. But given removeds, that need not be the case. For example, a 2nd cousin once removed is closer than a 1st cousin 4 times removed…it’s just that “1st” catches the eye…um, ear…whatever. Just for the record, a 1st cousin A times removed will never be more distant than an Ath cousin…in this sense, a 1st cousin will never “fall behind.” And it’s true that a removed 1st cousin is closer to somebody in your direct line than any higher-numbered cousin, removed or not…but again, in absolute terms, a “1st cousin” need not be more closely related to you.

163.13  Secondly, it’s safe to say that because of his historical stature, George Washington and his family have been researched and verified to a degree that is practically unassailable. All the more so because he and Martha had no children…so to be related to GW, it has to be off to the side…you must be descended from his siblings, his parents siblings, his grandparents siblings, etc. And to be thus descended is a mighty big deal to a lot of people, especially the “lucky” ones. I looked at this with the other Presidents back in Related How Again? #34: Tails or Me?…and checking back there, I had Washington and Madison related by marriage only. A quick google gave me “half-1st cousins twice removed”…always nice to see them splitting those “half” hairs, but that doesn’t mean they’re right.

wash mad I

163.14  What we need is specifics, and I found these rather quickly…2 solid “connections”…I have combined both in Chart 581.

chart 581

You will notice GW and his father Augustine appear in 2 different places, highlighted by yellow so you don’t miss it. And while both of these connections turn out to be real, they are also both by marriage not blood. On the left, GW’s half-aunt married Madison’s grand uncle…and on the right, GW’s 1st cousin married Madison’s grandfather’s 1st cousin. Now it’s interesting to notice that thru these 2 marriages, GW’s position relative to Madison spans 2 generations…he is in Madison’s father’s generation on the left, Madison’s grandfather’s generation on the right. And yes, the “1st cousin twice removed” your DIL mentioned does enter into it…altho GW himself is not Madison’s 1C 2R, he is the 1st cousin of the wife of Madison’s 1C 2R…and that’s an awfully big difference.

163.15  Still, something in the back of my mind told me there was an even closer connection, albeit again by marriage. And sure enough…

wash mad II

By closer I mean thru Madison’s own marriage to Dolley…and as you can see in Chart 582 below, Dolley’s sister married GW’s nephew…altho in the above explanation, where it says “Mary Coles Washington” is should read “Lucy Payne Washington”…they are confusing Dolley’s sister with her mother, who was never a Washington. And notice, nothing remotely resembling a 1st cousin twice removed anywhere here…

chart 582

163.16  And it’s worth mentioning once again that spelling in those days was not as rigidly policed as it is today…thus is was Dolly, Dolley, or Dollie depending on the writer’s mood. Bottom line: no blood relation between GW and James Madison…3 (at least!) by marriage…and we’ll see you next week, when it’ll be…duper!

wicked ballsy

screen cap

A couple of censored product placements on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” top row…compared to the closest I could come to uncensored versions in the bottom row…not exact matches, but still early 60s appropriate. But there was another that was a lot less clear…the crayons Richie uses once on the dining room table…and since vintage crayons are one of my special areas of interest, I was bound and determined to nail this one down.


Going strictly by memory, and based on the dark box with a white circle, obviously a wide 12-pack, I first thought of the Binney and Smith Easy-Off crayons…the company had yet to combine all its products under the Crayola label, so this was a separate brand. Looks pretty close, especially the format of the writing on the side, altho even that isn’t quiet right (red circle). And I didn’t like what looked like writing on the front, under the white circle…Easy-Off had instead just the B&S oval logo.

So I consulted my reference scrap-book…similar to what Sherlock Holmes had with his commonplace books stuffed with crime clippings. Sure enough, turned out to Easy-Off’s predecessor, simply called Washable crayons. Yeah, and Laura strikes me as the kind of parent who wouldn’t want to risk indelible scribbles…so she’d pay the slightly higher price…and it was only slightly higher…in those days, you could clip a coupon to save 5¢ after all.  Finally, the answers from 163.3



Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

#162: How Green Was My Leaf

chart 570 re

162.1  Last week we ended Adventures in Cousinlandah, but does anything really end?…with Chart 570…wherein William Greenleaf Eliot Jr., grandfather of poet T. S. Eliot, not only had parents who were 1st cousins thru 2 Greenleaf sisters…but himself married one of his parents’ 1st cousins, thru another Greenleaf sister…quite a unique situation, nez pah?  And as I pointed out, the generations overlapped thanks to his great grandparents William Greenleaf and Mary Brown having 15 children over the span of 24 years.


162.2  But enquiring minds want to know…and several questions did occur to me. First, was William Greenleaf Eliot Jr. related to another poet of some renown, John Greenleaf Whittier? It certainly suggests itself…and I must tell you, this has special significance to me because I grew up just down the street from where JGW spent most of his final 16 years…an estate called Oak Knoll, on Summer Street in Danvers, Massachusetts…see today’s wicked ballsy. The answer is a resounding yes, altho as you can see in Chart 571…and by this time you shouldn’t be surprised…it is complicated.

chart 571

162.3  In fact, it goes back 7 generations, to double 1st cousins…a Coffin brother and sister got the ball rolling by marrying a Greenleaf sister and brother. And the key to it all is right in the middle of the chart…WGE’s 2G grandfather Daniel Greenleaf and his brother Nathaniel…and Nate married their double 2nd cousin Judith Coffin. Since Nathaniel and Judith are the 1G grandparents of JGW, we know 2 things: first, JGW and WGE will be related in 2 ways, once thru Nathaniel and once thru Judith…and second, the ultimate relationships will be once removed, since the Judith/Nathaniel/Daniel generation is 1G for JGW, but 2G for WGE.

chart 572

162.4  Complex as it looks, if we take these 2 lines separately, it will prove in the end to be pretty straightforward, as long as we keep careful count! Now in Chart 572, I’ve simplified things somewhat by removing relatives that aren’t relevant…but more importantly, I’ve assumed for the moment that Nathaniel Greenleaf doesn’t exist. Or more precisely, I have pretended that Judith Coffin married somebody that wasn’t related to her or to Daniel Greenleaf. And owing to the fact that WGE himself was the son of 1st cousins, thru the Judith line he and JGW are related 2 ways…both ways being double 5th cousins once removed, making their final relationship thru Judith quadruple 5th cousins once removed. Is there such a thing? Yup…and you’re looking at it!

chart 573

162.5  Then, we “cross out” Judith and do the same thing with Nathaniel…again, a double relationship thanks to the 1st cousin marriage…ending with double 4th cousins once removed. So…quadruple 5C 1R and double 4C 1R…how close is that all together? Easy…4/4096 + 2/1024…or 3/1024 is a shade closer than 4th cousins, 2/1024. Did they exchange Christmas cards, I wonder?

162.6  The next thing I wanted to investigate: since WGE’s parents were both 1st cousins thru the Greenleafs, altho neither bore that as a surname, did any of the other Greenleaf cousins get hitched? Would seem like a lock, wouldn’t it? And so it was…but first, Chart 574 summarizes the data…

chart 574

As I said, William Greenleaf and Mary Brown had 15 children in all…12 lived to adulthood and married, and 11 of those had children. All together, William had 86 grandchildren, of which at least 58 lived to adulthood and at least 49 were married. We must fudge those last 2 numbers because while child #3 Mary Greenleaf and her husband Daniel Bell had 9 children, for some reason the trail on the internet ends there…information goes on for the other 10 siblings, but for Mary, it’s a dead end…short of knowing son Rufus Bell apparently lived to be 101, I can find no other information about those 9 grandchildren. No doubt someday I will, and this section will be revised pronto. But for now, we’ll work with what we’ve got.

162.7  Interesting also to note that since William Greenleaf’s gaggle of grandkids arose from 8 daughters but only 3 sons, more of them had “Greenleaf” as a middle name than a last name…by one, but still…and subject to revised totals of course. And I will refer William’s children as The Siblings, and his grandchildren as The Cousins. But before we get to The Cousins, why not see if there were any interesting marital entanglements within The Siblings. In for a penny, in for a pound, sez me…and according to Chart 575, there were indeed.

chart 575

162.8  Nosiree, The Siblings don’t let us down. John and Anna Greenleaf married Cranch siblings, Lucy and William respectively. Priscilla and Sarah Greenleaf married…wait for it…a man and his nephew, the Appletons. And over on the right, Daniel Greenleaf married his 1st cousin Elizabeth Greenleaf, daughter of his Uncle John. He is the only one of The Siblings to be marry but remain childless.

chart 576

162.9  As to The Cousins, 10 of them married “among themselves”…that’s 5 unions…and as a welcome boon to this humble chart-maker, half of those were from the same family…5 of the 16 children of Margaret Greenleaf and Thomas Dawes, marked in yellow in Chart 576. The Cousins are placed on different levels to make the chart legible, but remember this is all one generation, all Greenleaf 1st cousins. And notice that we get a double whammy from Harrison and George Minot Dawes…they married sisters…who were also of course their 1st cousins. Also interesting is the degree to which this clan loved to honor its various members…Anna Greenleaf and William Cranch gave one of their 13 children “Eliot” as a middle name, after Anna’s sister Elizabeth’s husband, the latter sister 22 years older than the former.

chart 577

162.11  But the family of William and Anna Greenleaf Cranch had some other interesting things going on. As unique as William Greenleaf Eliot Jr.’s situation appeared…his parents were 1st cousins, then he married another of their 1st cousins…it actually happened twice in this family…and the pair of 1st cousins once removed descending were Cranch siblings! Altho, if you notice in Chart 577, 2 of the 4 parents of the 1st cousins once removed ascending weren’t cousins to each other but siblings, Hannah and Margaret Greenleaf Dawes. Determining the interrelationships between succeeding generations would enter the realm of Herculean, seems to me…but that’s real life for you.

chart 578

162.12  Finally, the fact that William Greenleaf Eliot’s wife was named Abigail Adams Cranch is a lead too good not to follow up. And sure enough, she was named after her paternal grandmother’s sister, which is to say her father’s aunt…who was the wife of one POTUS and the mother of another. But I’ve included a bonus on Chart 578…one of The Cousins married her 1st cousin, but on the other side…not a Greenleaf cousin but a Cranch cousin…and out of the 49, I’m sure there were others like this…this is the only one I noticed. We’ll mop up some odds and ends next week, before veering off in a totally unexpected (unless you’re clairvoyant) direction…see yez…

wicked ballsy


I’ll tell you the truth: growing up, I didn’t know what was literally in my own back yard. My family moved to a newly built ranch house in 1956, months shy of my 5th birthday. Not half a mile down the street stood Oak Knoll, for many years the home of poet John Greenleaf Whittier. We’d drive past the entrance all the time…that red line leads to my place. In 1959, the mansion was torn down and the estate turned into a housing development…initially called Greenleaf Glen, then standardized some years later by municipal fiat to Greenleaf Drive. And as I recall, home to some cute — aw, never mind…


Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

#161 Adventures in Cousinland: Mission Accomplished

161.1 …which is not to say I won’t revisit Uncle Wiki’s coupled cousins list at some point in the future…I did notice one that we won’t get to this time around, but it’s interesting…thing is, the cousins involved aren’t that famous so checking may be more difficult. But today’s selection are pretty famous…


161.2  Edgar Allan Poe…did he marry his 1st cousin…you betchum, Red Ryder. And you might also see elsewhere, as I did, that his cousin married his sister-in-law…well, not really. Nelson Poe was his 2nd cousin, and Josephine Emily Clemm was Virginia Eliza Clemm’s half-sister…so it’s 2 half-sisters marrying 2nd cousins, which even so, ain’t hay.

chart 566

161.3  Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. …he was a poet, professor, and physician…it was his son Jr. who was the famous Supreme Court Justice. Married his 2nd cousin? Yup…and one interesting note about his name. While it’s true to say his middle name is his mother’s maiden name, it’s even truer to say that he was given his material grandfather’s name…first and last…Oliver Wendell.


161.4  Samuel F. B. Morse…1st cousin once removed? Right on the nose…he married the daughter of his 1st cousin.

chart 568

And for the record, “What hath God wrought” comes from the Bible, Numbers 23:23…and it’s not a question, but an exclamation…”What wonders God has done!”


161.5  Zack Wheat…Hall of Fame outfielder, 1909-27…all but the final year with the Dodgers. By this list anyway, whom sports figures marry seems to be less interesting than whom politicians, writers, scientists, and inventors marry…go figure. But thankfully this one turned out to be easy enough to track down…and Uncle Wiki stumbles here. They say he married his 2nd cousin…actually, it’s 1st cousin once removed, the daughter of his 1st cousin on his father’s side. The story is he skipped a game in May of 1912 to elope…having met Daisy for the first time only 2 months previous. You might check out GSA to learn more…altho that’s only a guess on my part…everything today is a syndrome with 3 letters. nez pah?

chart 569

161.6   Finally, I really have saved the best for last…William Greenleaf Eliot Jr. …educator and philanthropist, grandfather of poet T. S. Eliot. His family tree is a lulu, something I’ve never seen before…and Uncle Wiki gets this one completely correct. In a nutshell we have 3 Greenleaf sisters…each has a child…cousin # 1 marries cousin #2…and their son marries cousin #3, his double 1st cousin once removed. Why double? Because William Greenleaf Eliot Jr’s wife was his 1C 1R thru his father and thru his mother…this is what happens when 1st cousins wed….don’t everybody look so surprised.

chart 570

161.7  And altho he was 6 years older than she, the ages do check out…for the simple season that William Greenleaf and Mary Brown had 15 children over a period of 24 years, thus the generations overlap. His grandmother Elizabeth was the 2nd born…and her mother Anna was the last, 22 years later.

161.8  The ultimate tale of the tape…of the 23 cousin couples I checked, Uncle Wiki’s list had 19 correct, 4 incorrect…add to that the 4 I noticed as correct when I first perused the list…the Roosevelts, Jerry Lee Lewis, Honey Fitz, and QE2 (2 closest ways)…and that’s a very healthy 85% mark…not 100%, but there you go…

161.9  Still, that last one raises some interesting questions, including a possible link to a POTUS…and we’ll accordingly go green next week.

wicked ballsy


BTW…is that a “neck beard” on William Greenleaf Eliot Jr.? I want to say yes, but I wonder if a true neck beard would be confined the neck only, with nothing growing out of the chin… top row, left to right, Civil War Col. Marshall Howe, Richard Wagner, Nero, British cricketeer John Lillywhite, and unknown. Bottom row, Henry David Thoreau, Horace Greeley, and 2 more unknowns. Might WGE’s be more in the nature of what that called a “chin curtain”?

When the neck beard reached all the way up to the sideburns it was called a Newgate Fringe or a Tyburn Collar, after public places for hangings in Dublin and London respectively. Below are 3 more not quite neckers…Henrik Ibsen left,  Presidential candidate for the Greenback Party in 1876 Peter Cooper middle, and unknown right…but good job all the way around, sez me.



Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

#160 Adventures in Cousinland: Them Over There

160.1 …which is to say, our cousins abroad…Britain and Europe…and we begin with a couple of famous Teutonics.


160.2  Wernher von Braun…married his 1st cousin in 1947…Wiki’s list is correct. He had been in the US just 2 years, at Ft. Bliss in El Paso with his staff of rocket scientists…the “original” rocket scientists I guess you could call them. He was 35, his bride was just 18 and still in Germany…he was given permission to marry her there, then the newlyweds and his parents all returned to the US.

chart 558

160.3  One can’t help but notice a lot of given names with this crowd…names and naming being just one of many subjects that feed into the study of kinship. These were aristocratic families…hence the von…in fact Wernher himself was a Freiherr or Baron…and their custom of multiple Vornames (fore-names) began in the 1500s and petered out in the late 1800s, altho it still lingers today. As an accommodation, Germans have a Rufname (common name) which will be underlined in official documents…as Wernher Magnus Maximillian von Braun…and it doesn’t have to be the first one. By law, a German’s Rufname must indicate gender…but  you can get around it with multiple Vornames. For example, you can name your son Alpha Hans Dorpfmann…he’s Hans, a male, to the government…he’s Alpha to everybody else.

chart 559

160.4  Next, a musical fellow I’m sure you’ve heard of…Wiki says he married his 2nd cousin and indeed he did. In this case, it was a “don’t change the towels” union…her maiden name also being Bach, so the monograms remained the same. Chart 559 didn’t take a lot of research, since JSB himself compiled an extensive history of his family, citing his 2G grandfather as the progenitor of the musical wing…Vitus was by trade a miller and baker, but also handy on the cittern (above), a kind of large mandolin plucked with a quill.


160.5  Over to Britain now, and 2 gentlemen who share a non-genealogical connection. Christopher Robin Milne’s father A.A. Milne was taught for 2 years by H.G. Wells, at a school run by Christopher’s grandfather John Vince Milne. Both Wells and Christopher married 1st cousins…you see the latter with his wife above, lower right.

chart 560

chart 561

160.6   Interesting to note that Christopher Robin…nicknamed “Billy Moon” by the family…had a grandfather named Aubrey. This masculine name is a Norman version of the German Albrich…and is not related to the feminine Audrey, a Frenchified form of the  Anglo-Saxon Etheldred…altho today Aubrey is switching over to become a predominantly girl’s name. Extending the benefit of the doubt, we will suppose it’s because parents like the sound of Aubrey…altho, sadly, it’s more likely they mistakenly think it’s a variation of Audrey. And so it goes…old ways die hard, sez me.


160.7   Finally, we come to Charles Darwin (above, right.) So far, things have been pretty straightforward… but this tree has a little tang to it. Wiki’s list says Darwin married his 1st cousin, and no problem there…his mother and his wife’s father were siblings….and yes, that’s the porcelain and pottery people…the first Josiah Wedgwood (above, left) founded the company in 1759. The added twist is that Darwin’s sister Caroline married his brother-in-law Josiah III…and of course, that couple were as much 1st cousins to each other as Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgwood were.

chart 562

160.8  What’s instructive is to see how the offspring of these 2 unions are related. In Chart 562 I’ve labeled them A and Z…for the record, the Wedgwoods had 4 daughters and no sons…the Darwins also had 4 daughters, along with 6 sons. Right off, you know that A and Z are double 1st cousins, their parents being a brother and sister from one family who married a sister and a brother from another family. The complication is that the 2 Darwins are also 1st cousins to the 2 Wedgwoods. The children of 1st cousins are 2nd cousins…but is that single, or, as you may already suspect, another double? The way to confirm it is to compare A and Z‘s parents by pairs, as in Chart 563.

chart 563

160.9  So A and Z are double 1st cousins and double 2nd cousins…total relationship 1/8 + 1/8 + 1/32 + 1/32 = 1/4 + 1/16 = 5/16…meaning they are a bit more closely related than half-siblings 4/16. But I have a confession to make…

160.10  …and that is, I was sandbagging you. Familiar with the term? To try to persuade someone that they’re wrong when you know in fact that they’re right? No, that’s called gas-lighting. Sandbagging in a game or contest is to hide your true strength from your opponent, then reveal it when the time is optimal. In general, sandbagging is withholding information…more insidiously, it’s pretending you don’t know something that you do know. And in this case what I was leaving out was that grandparents Josiah and Sarah Wedgwood were themselves 3rd cousins.

160.11  So then…let’s work it thru. It means that Josiah II and Susannah Wedgwood were, besides siblings, also double 4th cousins. Thus Charles and Caroline Darwin were double 5th cousins to Josiah III and Emma Wedgwood. The only change for Charles Darwin then is that his wife was his double 5th cousin, as well as 1st cousin. And working it out as in Chart 563, A and Z are also quadruple 6th cousins….a relationship that’s equivalent to 5th cousins…since double 6th would be equivalent to half-5th…double that again, it’s equivalent to 5th. Done and done…till next week, when we wrap up our Adventures in Cousinland.

wicked ballsy

chart 564

But while I’m thinking of it, this would be a good time to review just what happens to siblings whose parents are related to each other. In a nutshell, you take that parental relationship down one full step and double it. Here, “full step” means siblings > 1st cousins > 2nd cousins > 3rd cousins > etc…the degree of relationship is divided by 4. “Half steps” would be siblings > half-siblings > 1st cousins > half-1st cousins > 2nd cousins > etc., dividing by 2. Thus in Chart 564, A and B are double 1st cousins…take that down a full step to 2nd cousins, then double it…making their children both siblings and quadruple 2nd cousins to each other.

chart 565

Sure enough, Chart 565 shows the 4 ways X and Y trace back to their great grandparents.  And if this is all starting to make sense, frankly I’m not surprised.


Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved