#22: Still More Answers…

 22.1 …continuing with more real-life kinship questions from this website: !$%#. A website that seems to raise more questions than it answers…hee hee…

 22.2 That makes you any 2-topping pizza with wings and bread-sticks for $11.95. Seriously, it makes you nothing.  For “distant”, I’m going to suppose you’re 3rd Cousins, but no matter…it’s a relation by marriage, nothing more, and no impediment to anything that I can think of, if that’s what concerns you.

chART 78

 22.3   But this is an interesting question, that of relatives by marriage. Western tradition is for fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters to be called In-laws. Anything beyond that is generally “my wife’s” or “by marriage”…for uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces, grandparents, and others. But families have different customs…I’ve even seen disagreements within the same family…the wife says to the husband: I consider your cousins my cousins…and he replies: Well, your cousins aren’t mine, that’s just the way I look at it.


   22.4  Thus we get tangles like <18>, as diagramed in Chart 79. I have assumed that by “my uncle” you mean your blood relative, and the “1st cousin’s mom who is aunt to another person” is only your aunt by marriage. I don’t know which nephew’s cousinship you’re asking about, but here’s the scoop: you and your 1C are 1stcousins no matter who divorces who…likewise, your 1C and “another person” will always be 1st cousins.

chart 79

22.5 The tricky part is what happens to your aunt and cousin by marriage if that marriage no longer exists…and again, different families do it different ways. My personal preference is to continue calling my blood uncle’s ex-wife my aunt,  because I always did, and because she is my cousin’s mother. Likewise, my cousin’s cousins, those not related to me, remain the cousins of my cousin, as they were before the divorce.

  22.6 Similar situations might involve your blood relative’s spontaneous molecular disintegration, or waking up to discover it was all a dream. More commonly, death takes the place of divorce, as in <19> and Chart 80.

chart 80

Are you and this guy related in some way? You were related by marriage, not by blood…and the marriage is gone now that your uncle is dead. As I said, if the mother of your 1st cousin means something to you, call her your aunt…in the absence of cousins, it’s up to you. Or what if there were cousins, but never a marriage? There’s no hard and fast rule, except that blood is blood and marriage is water, if you get my drift, and I think you do…

22.7  Check Chart 81 and you can confirm that in the broader sense you are cousins…

chart 81

…specifically your great grandmother’s half-nephew is your grandmother’s half-1st cousin, and your half-1st cousin twice removed. That’s a CR of 1/64, or the equivalent of half-way between 2nd and 3rd cousins, and that’s true despite your relative’s apparent change of heart. Don’t be so confused…I helped you.


22.8  In Chart 82A I have charted out the 2 relationships you mention, with the green asterisk marking the common relative.

chart 82a

There are 2 from your end, since 1st cousin once removed is ambiguous, it could mean either ascending (you are the younger of the 2) or descending (you are the older). And I will make a leap of faith and assume that you meant “great grand Uncle” instead of the 2 great’s, and your spell-checked tripped you up.

chart 82 b

 22.9  Then it’s the now familiar procedure: shortest list determines the degree of cousinship, levels beyond that the removeds.  So you and your friend are 2nd cousins twice removed if it was ascending, 1st cousins 4 times removed if descending.

22.10  I have followed my general rule and assumed only the relationships you’ve mentioned in your query. But the way you put it leads into another fascinating area, what I mysteriously call “relatives that don’t exist”…the prime example being “your uncle’s cousin.” What, my Uncle can’t have a Cousin?  Sure he can, except that your uncle’s cousin is also your father’s cousin. So to specify “uncle’s” instead of “father’s” suggests one of several possibilities: your father is no longer living (altho the relationship still holds whether the parties are alive or dead)…or this is a cousin of your uncle’s thru marriage, hence not also your father’s cousin…or this uncle is really a half-sibling of your parent, thus a half-uncle, and the cousin is someone on the parent’s side who isn’t your parent.

chart 83

22.12  Taking the 3rd case as perhaps most likely, you can throw Chart 82B out the window and substitute Chart 83. …and thanks so much for making my life difficult…at least I’ve got a week to rest up…see ya in 7…


wicked ballsy


Ducks up a tree…there are many mysteries and inconsistancies in Donald Duck’s pedigree, and many versions of his family tree floating around the Internet and elsewhere. If you’re interested, a good place to start is this brief outline by famed Disney comic book artist Carl Barks, intended for private use, reportedly given to a fan and eventually published. Here the name of Donald’s sister is reinvented as Thelma…in the 1938 cartoon Donald’s Nephews, it’s Dumbella…and it’s also been given as Della and Donna…quacks me up. And don’t forget the “4th nephew”…Phooie…more on him next week…


Copyright © 2011 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved



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