#86: More Stuff and Things…and Stuff…

86.1  Last week we were looking at double cousin arrangements, specifically Chart 296…a “cleaned up” version of which appears below. Now W, X, Y, and Z are all Adams 1st cousins, since their respective fathers A, B, C, and D are Adams brothers. Typically (altho not universally) 4 such cousins would have 4 unrelated mothers…their last names might be Allen, Benson, Clark, and Dodds…altho obviously different last names doesn’t ensure they aren’t related…their mothers could all be sisters…and married those 4 gentlemen. Which is a good reminder that you should be aware of all the possibilities…I always return to The Andy Griffith Show because everybody knows it. “Cousins” Gomer and Goober both have the last name Pyle (altho the first time Goober’s full name is spoken, by Andy, it’s Goober Beasley…that’s one for the Fan Logic Game.) It is thus assumed they are 1st cousins because their fathers are Pyle brothers…but it could be that their mothers are sisters, and the 2 Pyle men they married were unrelated to each other. Unusual, but not impossible.

86.2  At any rate, in Chart 296a, the mothers of the 4 cousins are not completely unrelated…W’s and X’s mothers are sisters, as are Y’s and Z’s. Thus W and X are double cousins…Adams and Baker…while Y and Z are also double cousins…Collins and Adams. And the important point here is that, to take W and Y for example, their relationship as Adams cousins is the only relationship they share. What’s going on on the “other side” of W’s family does not effect his relationship with Y and vice versa…which is to say, your cousin being a double cousin does not effect you…between 2 cousins, there will always be 3 groups of cousins…one group that they share, and 2 that they don’t….in this case W and Y share the Adams cousins, but not the Baker cousins (W only) or the Collins cousins (Y only.) Unless

86.3  …as I said last week…there is some connection between the Baker and Collins families. So let’s check out 3 such possibilities. In Chart 298, the maternal grandmothers of W and Z are Smythe sisters…one married a Baker, one a Collins. How does this change things? And the key is this: something new is added, but nothing old is taken way…thus W, X, Y, and Z are still Adams 1st cousins…W and X are still Baker 1st cousins, hence double cousins…same with Y and Z on the Collins side.

86.4  It might be good at this point to review what “family connection” really means. It simply means there is someone who is a member of both families thru parental descent. Thus families are combined by blood…and that doesn’t happen thru marriage, but thru procreation. In Chart 298, J is both a Baker and a Smythe, but her father 3 is only a Baker and her mother 4 is only a Smythe. Another way we could have done this is to have made the mothers of 3 Baker and 7 Collins be Smythe sisters…the combinations are really unlimited.

86.5   So in Chart 298, the relationships from Chart 296a still hold…what’s been added is a relationship between W and Z. They are 2nd cousins, since their mothers J and M are 1st cousins, and their grandmothers 4 and 8 are sisters. Likewise, W and Y and 2nd cousins, as are X and Z. So all 4 are collectively 2nd cousins? NO, and that’s where it gets tricky. W and X are not 2nd cousins, nor are Y and Z.

86.6  Taking W as an example, the closest common ancestor between W and X is their maternal grandmother 4…thus W and X are 1st cousins. Yes, they are both related to their great grandmother 2, but she is not the closest common ancestor. Without “closest” in the definition, any pair of 1st cousins would also, by definition, be 2nd cousins (sharing a common great grandparent)…3rd cousins (sharing a common great great grandparent…4th cousins, etc. The whole concept of numbered cousins would lose all meaning.

86.7   But between X and Z…and X and Y as well…their closest common ancestor is a Smythe great grandparent, thus they are 2nd cousins…technically of course, 1 Smythe great grandparent would make them half-2nd cousins…both makes them full 2nd cousins. This is clearer to see in Chart 299…I have removed the connection between K and 4, because from Z’s point of view, with respect to his relationship with W, this connection is irrelevant. And that’s because tracing the connection between W and Z, you do not “go thru” K…there is no direct descent relationship between Z and K…or between W and K for that matter. To Z, K (as well as J) is a collateral relative, his 1st cousin once removed, that is, his mother M’s 1st cousin.

86.8  And since our starting point was looking for double cousin relationships, we do have new ones…W is a double cousin with Y and also with Z…likewise, X is a double cousin with Y and also with Z. But this “new” double cousin relationship is what’s called “irregular double cousins”…different on each side…in this case, 1st cousins on one side, 2nd cousins on the other side. But as we have seen, the “regular double cousin” relationship between W and X…and between Y and Z…that being 1st cousins on both sides…has not changed.

86.9  Deep waters? Yes, but that’s kinship for you…and they’re about to get a lot deeper, with Chart 300. So what have we here? W, X, Y, and Z are still Adams 1st cousins…W and X are still double 1st cousins thru the Baker side and the Adams side…Y and Z are still double 1st cousins thru the Adams side and the Collins side. Also, W and X are still 2nd cousins to Y and Z thru the Smythe family, just as they were in Chart 298. 

86.10  What has changed is that…ahem…W’s parents and X’s parents are, by pairs, 1st cousins, unless they’re siblings…which is to say, K is 1st cousin to her husband B as well as well to her sister J’s husband A….ditto the other way for J. This makes W and X double 2nd cousins as well as double 1st cousins. Can you see how? 1st cousins thru A and B (who are siblings)…1st cousins thru J and K (who are siblings)…2nd cousins thru A and K (who are 1st cousins)…and 2nd cousins thru J and B (who are 1st cousins.) And again, this added relationship doesn’t effect Y and Z, since they are related to W and X thru the Adams and Smythe families only, and those relationships have been accounted for…1st cousins thru Adams, 2nd cousins thru Smythe.

86.11  Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway…if W had a sibling S, they would also be double 2nd cousins to each other, since W’s mother is S’s father’s 1st cousin…and W’s father is S’s mother’s 1st cousin. This of course wouldn’t effect X…his relationship to S would be the same as to W…based on the principal that, for example, if 2 of your 1st cousins are siblings to each other, this has no bearing on your 1st cousin relationship to either.

86.12 And at this point, I’ll just say that Chart 301 is purely optional…extra credit if you want it, but it’s up to you… 😉 😉


86.13  Couple other bits…the cartoon on the left recently caught my eye…but it reminded me that there’s nothing really new under the sun. You know the red and white checkerboard logo of the Ralston Purina company? It was introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, intended to make their burlap bags of feed stand out from the rest. Company founder William Danforth is said to have been inspired by the Brown family he remembered in his childhood home of Charleston, Missouri. When folks brought their produce to town on Saturdays, this clan was clad in clothing the mother made from bolts of checkerboard-patterned cloth…as cheerfully romanticized in the illustration below. Funny, I imagined everything would have been…you know, pants, hats…heck, maybe even underwear…but there you go. That’s the story from the Ralston Purina’s website, and they’re sticking to it…no harm there, sez me…as long as you take childhood memories with a grain of salt…

And we have another post on the wiseGeek “Cousins” page…again, needing not so much an analytical diagram as a dollop of Dear Flabby counsel…which I’m pleased as punch to provide. Next week…OMG!…quarter cousins???…I can’t wait…can you?

Wicked Ballsy

This is pretty cool…a while back I wondered why my charts had such funky “extra” colors splashed in…a kind reader told me why, and guess what? I now save everything as PNG’s instead of JPEG’s…problem solved. Thanx, pal…


Copyright © 2012 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved


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