#85: Accidents Will Happen…

85.1  …in the best regulated families…or so the old saying goes. Last week, I went thru 54 older blogs, starting with #30…correcting typos and making other small changes. In only a few cases was anything substantial modified, and none of these concerned errors of fact. The only blog that I felt needed an update was also the one that has turned out to be the most popular, #31: Kate and Pearl…concerning the kinship between characters on The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction. I have indeed begun collecting material for an update installment…most importantly, I dashed off some questions to a blogger who claims to be a humungous PJ expert…have yet to hear back, tho.

85.2  So this week, I did the same thing…to ONE blog, #29: Baque 2 Quebec. As I mentioned last time, I suspected that earlier blogs would be “messier”…both in terms of how clearly information was presented, and perhaps even in those pesky little matters of fact. Didn’t take much time to find one of those, boy…it was in the answer to a quiz I posed in #28…asking how 2 members of my own French Canadian family tree were related to each other. Here’s what was there…can you spot the mistake?

85.3  Chart 293  below gives you a closer look, removing some individuals not relevant to the question of how Clement Berube on the left and Clovis Berube on the right are related. You’ll notice that 2 groups of relatives are surrounded by yellow, on the far left and far right…this is the convention I use to indicate that one section of the tree has been repeated somewhere else in the tree, due to the logistics of trying to fit everyone together and connect those that should be connected. And it is just because of this duplication that we can see that Clement’s father Pierre Berube and Clovis’ father Charles Berube are brothers, the sons of the 2nd Louis Berube. Thus Clement and Clovis are 1st cousins on their fathers’ side. 

85.4  That much I had right. They are also 4th cousins on their mothers’ side, since Elizabeth Lizotte and Celeste Roy are 3rd cousins, both the great great granddaughters of Pierre Roy at the top. Also correct. It’s when I got to the relation between Clement and Clovis thru marriage that the boo-boo occurred.

85.5   As you can see in Chart 294, Clement Berube is also 4th cousin to Clovis’ wife Marie Roy since Clement’s mother Elizabeth Lizotte and Marie’s father Augustin Roy are 3rd cousins. Thus it is correct to say, and I did say it, that to the extent that all of Clovis’ wife’s relatives are his relatives-in-law, that includes Clement, who would then be a 4th cousin-in-law, while being a 4th cousin by blood as well. Again, no problem there…from Clement’s point of view, 2 of his 4th cousins on his mother’s side got married, that’s all.

85.6  Where I slipped up was in saying Marie Roy is 4th cousin not only to Clement (correct) but also to her husband Clovis (incorrect.) Truthfully, I got lost in the clutter of the tree, and it’s a lot plainer to see redrawn as Chart 295. I’ve generally found that duplicate portions of a tree, especially if they’re at opposite ends, can be successfully moved into the center, which is what I did with Louis Berube and his 2 sons, still colored yellow for comparison. And again, leaving out non-relevant individuals, we can see that Clovis and his wife Marie Roy are in fact 2nd cousins not 4th…his mother and her father are 1st cousins, the sons of brothers.

85.7  Yes, I was blinded by the fact that both Clovis and his wife were 4th cousins to someone else…but that doesn’t make them necessarily 4th cousins to each other. If Clement had 2 4th cousins on the same side of the family, they could be siblings, 1st cousins, 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins, or 4th cousins to each other. As you can trace in Chart 295, everyone 4 generations down from Pierre Roy’s daughter Marie-Anne Roy is a 4th cousin to everyone descended from her brother the first Augustin Roy. Between these 2 lines, all are 4th cousins…within each line, they are of course anywhere from siblings to 3rd cousins to each other. In addition, someone who is 4th cousin to Clement could also be 4th cousin to Clovis (and to his wife) if they were 4 generations removed from another sibling of Marie-Anne and Augustin Roy…a third line leading down from Pierre Roy.

85.8  So I blew it…it happens…it’s fixed. But it’s certainly a testament to my growing understanding of these issues that the mistake popped out at me as it did, and for that I’m grateful. But further along in #29, I got to discussing double cousins, and posed 2 scenarios where they may or may not exist. I left that as an “exercise,” but never addressed the answers…so I thought it would be worthwhile to do so now. There were 2 trees presented as Chart 102, in a goofy sort of “hanging tinker-toy” style…I’ve redrawn them and added names to the different groups of cousins…so let’s have a go at it.

85.9  The first thing to notice in Chart 296 is that W, X, Y, and Z are all Adams 1st cousins, since their respective fathers A, B, C, and D are Adams brothers. Then each of these 4 Adams cousins will have cousins on their mothers’ side…and we see that A and B married 2 Baker sisters…while C and D married 2 Collins sisters. Thus W and X are double cousins on the Adams and Baker sides…while Y and Z are double cousins on the Adams and Collins sides.

85.10  I hope you resisted the urge to blurt out Aha, DOUBLE DOUBLE cousins! True, in the Adams clan, there are 2 instances of double cousins…W and X are…and Y and Z are. But the important point is that the fact that W and X are also cousins on the non-Adams side…has no effect whatsoever on their relationship to Y and Z, who are in a similar situation with each other. It would have an effect if there were some kinship tie further back between the Baker and Collins families…but we are here assuming there is not. Bottom line, W is a double 1st cousin to X, as closely related as half-siblings, with a Coefficient of Relationship of 1/4…and W is a “single” 1st cousin to Y and to Z, with the normal 1st cousin CR of 1/8 to each.

85.11  But in Chart 297,  the Smith family barges in, and shoots the whole deal to hell. The 4 “cousins” seem to be connected in a “tag-team” sort of way, yet try as you might, you will not find any double cousins. Recall in Chart 296, W’s 2 sets of cousins were Adams/Baker, as was X’s. Y’s and Z’s sets were Adams/Collins. But here in Chart 297, W is Adams/Baker…X is Baker/Smith…Y is Smith/Collins…and Z is Collins/Adams. The fact that all 4 families are linked together this way is indeed unusual, but it has no kinship effect beyond the curiosity factor. Yes, amongst W, X, Y, and Z, each is 1st cousin to 2 of the others and no relation to the 3rd…but that’s as far as it goes. It sure seems like there should be some sort of “mutual” relationship between the 4, but there is not, at least not as far as their blood kinship is concerned.

85.12   Now going back one generation from the 4 cousins, it is true that the Adams brothers A and D did marry 2  unrelated women, whose respective sisters married the Smith brothers B and C. Depending on how widely you cast your in-law net, that could mean something to you…are A, B, C, and D collectively some manner of brothers-in-law? Not to me*, but it’s a free country, knock wood…

* OK, geez, you want me to spell it out, huh? A’s wife’s sister married the brother of the man who married A’s brother’s wife’s sister…bupkis in my book, but there you go…

85.13  But look here…back in 85.10 I mentioned that 2 pairs of the 4 Adams cousins being double cousin pairs had no additional effect on their kinship…unless the Baker and Collins families were somehow related. I almost added, or the Adams family was related to either or both. Exactly what kinship “bump up” would any or all of these scenarios add? That’s what we’ll look at next week, plus some other odds and ends…they’re starting to accumulate…aloha…


Copyright © 2012 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved


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