#108: Can’t Believe It’s That Simple


108.1  I was recently reading a description of that goofy 1959 monster movie Beast from Haunted Cave, and it mentioned one of the stars was Richard Sinatra, “Frank’s cousin.” Now the simple word “cousin”…without a number in front of it or “removeds” after it…can cover a lot of ground. It commonly means 1st cousins…2 people whose parents are siblings. In this case, it doesn’t…Frank and Dick are 2nd cousins once removed. Now perhaps you’re glad they left it at just “cousins,” since “2nd cousins once removed” is just too complicated to figure out, right?

108.2  Well, let me say 2 things about that. First, the fact that it said “Frank’s cousin” wasn’t all that helpful…all it tells you is that they are related…but jeepers, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to appreciate that in show business anyone with the last name Sinatra had better be related to ole Blue Eyes, cabeesh? So at best, it told you that Frank and Dick are somehow related…at worst, since the last names are the same, it told you that Frank’s father and Dick’s father are brothers…which they most definitely are not.

108.3  And second, “X cousins Y times removed” really isn’t complicated at all…it’s just that nobody ever explained it to you. That’s where Related How Again? comes in…and here’s the secret: it’s all in the NUMBERS…whether it’s a numbered cousin, a removed cousin, or both…the NUMBERS tell you everything you need to know. But even that isn’t difficult because the numbers are quite logical…1 = father2 = grandfather3 = great grandfather4 = great great grandfather…and so forth. And you can even count it out from the words themselves, if you separate “grand” from “father,” as seen in Chart 381.

chart 381

108.4  Let’s suppose all you know about “cousins” is what 1st cousins are…that is, you and your 1st cousin have parents who are siblings…and for simplicity’s sake, we’ll assumed those siblings are your fathers. Now the number 1 is associated with fathers…what could that mean with respect to 1st cousins? Well, their fathers are brothers…there simply isn’t anything more that’s involved. And for numbered cousins in general, that’s exactly what the number means…so for 2nd cousins the number is 2…and 2 means grandfathers…so 2nd cousins have grandfathers who are brothers. And so on for 3rd cousins (great grandfathers are brothers)…4th cousins (great great grandfathers are brothers)…and on down the line.

chart 382

108.5  Just that simple? Yupper. So now you have numbered cousins locked up solid. In Chart 382, the individuals marked 1C, 2C, and 3C are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins to the individual marked YOU. If you were to study this diagram, some other interesting facts might occur to you. For example, how are your father and your 2nd cousin’s father related to each other? Well, their fathers are brothers, so they are 1st cousins…thus 2nd cousins not only have grandfathers who are brothers, but fathers who are 1st cousins. Try it with the next along, with 3rd cousins…and you’ll see that 3rd cousins have great grandfathers who are brothers…but also grandfathers who are 1st cousins, and fathers who are 2nd cousins. And this pattern continues all the way up and across the family tree.

108.6  Another thing you might notice is how your 1st cousin is related to your 2nd cousin. Now from your point of view, the 2 sons (in green) of your grandfather (in red) are very different people…one is your father, the other is your uncle, obviously. But from the point of view of your 2nd cousin, these 2 men are interchangeable…they are both his father’s 1st cousins. There is no genealogical different between them…nor is their any difference between their sons, you and your 1st cousin. So you and your 1st cousin are both 2nd cousins to your 2nd cousin…and again, continuing along…your 1st and 2nd cousins are both just 3rd cousins to your 3rd cousin…and this pattern never changes as well.

chart 383

108.7   In Chart 382, we left several individuals blank…Chart 383 fills them in, extending the tree out to your 4th cousin (in orange.) And here is the key to understanding how cousinship works…the solid circles along the bottom are YOUR 1st thru 4th cousins…they are your GENERATION…each is descended from a closest common ancestor by the same number of steps as you are. See the individuals marked 1C, 2C, 3C written in green? They are NOT your cousins, but your father’s cousins. The 1C and 2C in red are your grandfather’s cousins…and the 1C in blue is your great grandfather’s cousin.

108.8  Again, your father’s, grandfather’s, and great grandfather’s cousins are NOT your cousins…they are your cousins removed. How many times removed? The numbers work exactly the same as for numbered cousins, as per Chart 381. Your father’s cousins are your cousins once removed…because 1 = father…your grandfather’s cousins are your cousins twice removed…your great grandfather’s cousins are your cousins 3 times removed, etc.

108.9  Thus, whether it’s numbered cousins (YOUR cousins) or cousins removed (SOMEBODY ELSE’S cousins) the numerical correspondence as outlined in Chart 381 holds true…it’s the only numerical system for cousins you need to know. For example, 2nd cousin…that’s 2 = grandfatheryour grandfathers are brothers. Or take 1st cousin twice removed…the removed is again 2 = grandfatheryour grandfather’s 1st cousin. And that’s all there is to it…apply Chart 381 to numbered cousins, cousins removed, or both…and you can’t go wrong.


108.10  When we began, you weren’t exactly sure what the “types” of cousins represented…now, armed with that knowledge, you let’s look again at the Sinatras. Frank and Richard Sinatra are 2nd cousins once removed.  Taking the removed part first, we see from Chart 381 that the 1 in “once removed” refers to “father.” Either Frank is Richard’s father’s 2nd cousin…or Richard is Frank’s father’s 2nd cousin. …unfortunately, we can’t tell which. This is a flaw in our system of kinship terminology. Suppose for example that we had just one word to refer to either end of the uncle/nephew relationship…say “nuncle.”

108.11  So if we said that Frank and Richard were nuncles, it would either mean Frank is the brother of Richard’s father…(Frank is the uncle, Richard is the nephew)…or Richard is the brother of Frank’s father (Richard is the uncle, Frank is the nephew.) Again, we couldn’t tell which was which. But since in the development of the English language people found it useful to know which was which, 2 different words evolved…uncle and nephew…actually, they’re derived from the French. I hope you can see that “cousin once removed”…that is, one of you is the cousin of the other’s father…is a parallel case to “uncle/nephew”…one of you is the brother of the other’s father. The difference again is that for removeds we don’t have 2 different words or phrases.

108.12  The best we can do in genealogy is to call the younger one (equivalent to the nephew) “cousin once removed descending“…and the older one (equivalent to the uncle) “cousin once removed ascending.” And here “younger/older” does not refer to chronological age but instead to generations…you can in fact be older than your uncle, if your grandparents have a son after your father has you.

ray108.13  With the Sinatras then, I’ll have to tell you…Frank is the older generation… Richard is the son of Frank’s 2nd cousin…and  that 2nd cousin would be Raymond Patrick “Ray” Sinatra, 11 years older than Frank, and an accomplished bandleader in his own right, having worked with Mario Lazna primarily, and also with singer Tony Martin, among others…and yes, even occasionally with Frank. And since Frank and Ray are 2nd cousins…and from Chart 381, 2 = grandfather…Frank and Ray’s grandfathers were brothers.

108.14  Of course, the relationship between Frank and Ray is variously described by what I call the “4 usual suspects”…they are either 1st cousins, 2nd cousins, distant cousins, or just plain cousins. I am confident that 2nd cousins is right…altho I have yet to identify the brother of Frank’s grandfather Francesco from whom Ray is descended. An inquiry to the Sinatra Family Forum run by Nancy Sinatra has gone unanswered so far…was I being too nosey? She, BTW, calls Dick her “cousin”…precisely, it would be what? If you said 3rd cousin, gold star for you. Also, I scoped him out in that monster movie, and he’s playing…in 1959, mind you… the original version of Joe Pesci…it’s uncanny! A more extensive look at Frank Sinatra’s fascinating family tree is in the works…watch for it…and join us again next week, wontcha?


Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved


#107: Smokin’ OP’s Part Duh

107.1  So how’d we do with last week’s quiz? I’ve modified Chart 375  as Chart 375a  below, giving your mother and father letters for ease of reference. We wanted to know how C and D are related.

chart 375a

107.2  The way to approach this is to notice that there is a direct line of descent between C and all 3 of Y, Z, and A. The same is true of D…so C and D are related 3 different ways…thru Y, thru Z, and thru A. We simply examine these relationships one at a time. Thru ZC and D are half-1st cousins, since their fathers YOU and B are half-brothers…the sons of Z but with different mothers. Coefficient of Relationship = 1/16.

107.3    Now thru YYOU and C are half-brothers, having the same mother Y and different fathers, Z and B. D is your son, so C is D‘s half-uncle…CR = 1/8. This same line of reasoning applies on the other side of the tree: B and D are half-brothers,  having the same mother A and different fathers, Z and YOU. And since C is B‘s son, is C‘s half-uncle…total CR 1/16 + 1/8 + 1/8 = 5/16…slightly more related than half-brothers, which would be 4/16.

chart 376

107.4  Yes, it’s certainly unusual, but completely correct: C and D are 2 individuals each of which is both half-uncle and half-nephew to the other…talk about tit for tat! And if this kinship arrangement sounds vaguely familiar, it’s the basic idea behind the song “I’m My Own Grampa.” It’s an idea that goes back centuries…as a legal riddle in India, it supposed a man marries a widow, then his father marries her daughter, and each couple has a son…how are the sons related? The traditional answer is, each is both uncle and nephew to the other…correct as far as it goes, considering descent as unilineal…thru one line…hence half-brothers are considered simply brothers. For our bilineal system, it would be half-uncles and half-nephews, since they’re based on half-brothers. I’ve sketched this out in Chart 376YOU marry the widow B and have son C…your father A marries the widow’s daughter D and has son E.

chart 377

107.5  And leaving YOU, your father and your half-brother where they are, but re-arranging the others, as on the right of Chart 377, we see that these 2 situations are indeed the same…only difference is on the left YOU and B and half-brothers…on the right YOU and D are not related…hence on the right E and C‘s CR would be 1/8 + 1/8 = 1/4….they don’t have the additional half-1st cousin relationship (1/16) that C and D have on the left.

107.6  But today’s title is “Smokin’ OPs, Part Duh”…referring back to #68and OPs are Other People’s. I found a cousins chart that’s very swanky…fancier than mine anyway…and thought I’d share it with you. It comes from a site called “Cousins & Cousinhood: It’s All Strictly Relative.”  Now after seeing so many web-pages simply copying whole chunks of text from Uncle Wiki, it’s nice to find one copying from someplace else. In this case, one Ted Cash has preserved a page explaining cousins created by one Frank Arduini “before the site disappeared.”


107.7   Ted’s right…no can find the original site…altho this cousin page appears to have been part of  a larger site devoted to the Arduini and Pizzo families. And in the article, Frank refers to his own family tree several times, one reference we’ll get to in a bit. But I am sad to say that where he says “This is my feeble attempt at explaining…” he’s certainly right about that. While much of what he says is accurate, there are several big boo-boos, and at least one area that needs some clarification…and since that refers to the chart, I’ll get to that first. And BTW…I don’t mean to be overly critical…it’s just that these are interesting genealogical topics, and they deserve discussion.

107.8   The chart itself is essentially correct…mathematically, I prefer to give the extent of relatedness as a fraction, not a decimal percentage. Both are true of course…but can you really remember that 6.25% is 1/16…or that 1.563% is 1/64? The beauty of doing it with factions and powers of 2 is that you can easily compare different relationships. For example, in 107.3  suppose we had come up with a CR of 31.25%. Now what do you make of 31.25%? Well, it’s more than 25% or 1/4…beyond that it’s just a number. But expressed as a fraction, 31.25% becomes 5/16…which is 1/16 more than 4/16 or 1/4…telling you that this CR is probably some kind of combination of half-sibling (or equivalent, like uncle, nephew, grandparent) and half-2nd cousin (or 1st cousin once removed, great grand uncle, 2G grandparent.)

107.9  The real problem with this chart is that it combines the correct CR for each relationship with a number that stands for the degree of relationship…what he called “traditional”…and indeed, it’s what’s used by most legal entities and organized religions. And because these 2 sets of numbers are referring to different things, they don’t always match. For example, your CR to your sibling and to your parent is the same…but the degree number is different. As he says, “This way of measuring kinship was developed long before…Mendelian genetics, so it’s actually wrong in a couple of areas, but not enough to really matter to most of us.”  Hmmm, selective truth…interesting concept. Suffice to say that some of the degree numbers (in the blue and silver boxes) refer to half-relations…and to that extent, you are related to your brother thru your father by 1/4, not ½…thus the different degree numbers. You are also related to your brother thru your mother by 1/4…hence the total CR of ½. Like I always say, a full sibling is mathematically a double half-sibling.

107.10  But if you actually read the entire article, you might catch 3 major mistakes, as I did. Now I am happy that in the chart, he uses the terms “grand uncle/aunt” instead of “great uncle/aunt.” I am not happy that he says the latter is WRONG!!!”  “Great uncle” isn’t wrong per se, it’s simply not preferred by most genealogists because it’s confusing. For example, doing it that way, your 3G grandfather and his brother would have a different number of “greats”…since they are of the same generation, it makes more sense that they have the same number of “greats.” But “great uncle” isn’t really a mistake, since it refers to one and only one relationship, and it’s the same relationship that’s referred to by “grand uncle.” Compare that with what would be a mistake: the ambiguous use of “2nd cousin”…meaning maybe your great grandfather’s great grandson (correct)…or maybe your great grandfather’s grandson, your father’s 1st cousin (incorrect.) There is no ambiguity like that with the use of “great uncle,” and so it’s simply a matter of style…choose prudently, sez me!

107.11  He also correctly notes that “from a genetic perspective, identical twins are really the same person.” True enough…but then: “First cousins descended through a pair of identical cousins are double 1st cousins, just as  if their grandparents had been two pairs of siblings.”  No, that’s not right…yes, such 1st cousins would have a CR of 1/4…twice that of normal 1st cousins, and the same as double 1st cousins. But they are NOT double 1st cousins…they are 1st cousins only thru one set of parents…i.e. the twins…not thru both sets. Just because the CR for 2 different relationships is the same, doesn’t mean those relationships are the same. Indeed, as he correctly points out, if your father is an identical twin, you’re just as closely related to him as to your uncle…but that doesn’t make them both your fathers, does it? Only one of them is your father…um, your father. Duh.

107.12  Finally, and probably less obviously, he makes a mistake talking about his own family tree…he says that he has great grandparents who were 2nd cousins once removed to each other…making him not only a son to his mother, but also her 4th cousin, 5th cousin, and 4th cousin once removed. Shall we diagram that out and see what’s what?

chart 378

107.13  On the left side of Chart 378, he is C, his mother is B, his grandmother is A, and his great grandparents are noted as 2C 1R. Their ancestors are shown to prove how that could come about: as I have it, his great grandfather’s great grandfather was the brother of his great grandmother’s grandfather. Notice that whatever their actual ages, this was a cross-generational marriage, hence the removed. Now in the middle diagram, I do something tricky…I move A, B, and C under great grandmother Z, and suggest that great grandfather Y is a 3rd cousin to his own daughter A. Is this right? Yes…3rd cousins are the offspring of 2nd cousins…X and Z are 2nd cousins, so their respective offspring Y and A are 3rd cousins, besides being father and daughter. And finally, on the right we extend this idea down to C, and it turns out he is indeed his mother’s 5th cousin…so that claim checks out.

chart 379

107.14  At this point it might occur to you that if we moved A, B, and C under great grandmother Z, we might just as well move them under great grandfather Y…and get another set of 5th cousins, ending up with a double 5th cousin relationship between C and this mom. So on the left of Chart 379 we try just that…but something very strange happens…working our way up, we discover that E is now a 1st cousin to his brother C‘s grandson X…he should be his grand uncle, not 1st cousin. What went wrong?

107.15  We are the victims of the ambiguity in the phrase “2nd cousins once removed.” Yes, it is true to say “If I am your 2C 1R, you are my 2C 1R”…but this is true only in the sense of “If I am your uncle, you are my nephew”…because a removed relationship links 2 generations, and those 2 positions on your family tree are not interchangeable…any more than you could be your uncle’s uncle…or your father’s father for that matter. Using the word “cousin” makes it seem like the 2 ends of that one relationship are interchangeable, since, after all, “If I am your 1st cousin, then you are my 1st cousin.” But we saw what nonsense results when you try interchanging removed cousins. What’s really going on is shown on the right side of Chart 379.

107.16  Since X and Z are 2nd cousins, X‘s son  (who is coincidentally Z‘s husband) is Z‘s 2C 1R…and X‘s granddaughter A (who is also Z’s daughter) is Z‘s 2C 2R as well. That’s more like it…and working down, we find that C and his mother B are 4th cousins twice removed. And what did he say they were? 4th cousins once removed, so that’s wrong. The remaining claim is that mother and son are 4th cousins. We can check that by noting that 4th cousins have great great grandparents who are siblings.

chart 380

107.17  Chart 380 shows one of C‘s great great grandfathers (blue box) and 2 of his mother B‘s great great grandfathers (pink boxes)…no siblings there. C‘s other great great grandfather is X, who is also his mother’s great grandfather…again, no siblings. So where “4th cousin” came from is anybody’s guess, unless it’s happening on the another side of the family. Barring that, I don’t see it…do you? Then let me know, darn ya! And we’ll reconvene here next week, deal?


Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved


#106: All In Teh [sic] Family

106.1  Dear Stolf: I now have a step-father and he is related to me, but how? He is the son of my great grandfather’s brother. Somebody said he’s my grand uncle, but I’m lost. …from Lionel Colgate, Dentifrice MN.

106.2  Dear Lionel:  You’re found! Let’s exercise the old gray cells by doing it in our heads…then we’ll check it with a diagram. Your great grandfather’s brother is your grandfather’s uncle. The son of your grandfather’s uncle is your grandfather’s 1st cousin. He is your father’s 1st cousin once removed, since your father is one generation down from your grandfather…and thus he is your 1st cousin twice removed, since you are down one more generation from your father…that’s down 2 generations from your grandfather.

chart 371

106.3  Whoever said he was your grand uncle was wrong…altho your mother’s new father-in-law is your father’s grand uncle…as well as your great grand uncle…and now your step-grandfather, if you take steps that far. Further, if your mother and your new step-pop had a kid (Chart 371, in green), it would be both your half-sibling and your father’s 2nd cousin, hence your 2nd cousin once removed…total Coefficient of Relationship to you would be 1/4 + 1/64 = 17/64, or just a hair closer than a “normal” half-sibling, 16/64.


106.4  But I’ve been assuming that your mother is marrying somebody from your father’s side of the family, specifically her ex-husband’s 1st cousin once removed. In Chart 372, we switch it around to her side of the family…her new husband is now her own 1st cousin once removed. That’s legal in 44 of the 50 states. Your blood relationship to your new step-father does not change…only now it’s thru your mother, not thru your father. But now the new arrival would also be your mother’s 2nd cousin, besides being her son…and your 2nd cousin once removed. Nice. Best wishes all the way around, sez me.

106.5  Dear Stolf: Obviously it’s impossible for someone to be both your parent and your sibling. But my wife says your half-sibling can be your parent…I just don’t see it. Do you?  …from Kinship Ken, Industryville NJ

106.6  Dear KK: Yessir, I see it. And you’re right that your full sibling can’t be your parent…at least not at our present state of reproductive biology…tomorrow, who can say? But a full brother, for example, has the same father as you…so if he were your father, he’d also have to be his own father, which is impossible…for now anyway, like I mentioned. But your very open-minded wife is right that a half-brother could be your father…has she been watching the movie Chinatown recently?

chart 373106.7   That famous scene…she’s my sister…she’s my daughter…she’s my sister AND my daughter!  It is of course the major plot twist in the story, and certainly an unwholesome one at that. No wonder it didn’t occur to you…such an egregious case of interbreeding is extraordinarily rare…and thank goodness for that, with all due respect to the heart wanting what it wants. Still and all, modern day psychology…God bless it…has noticed that close relatives…even a parent and child…who have been separated for many years, and especially if that separation began at a very early age for the child, can sometimes feel a strong sexual attraction to each other upon reuniting. They call it GSAS…Genetic Sexual Attraction Syndrome…again with the syndromes…¡ay chihuahua!

106.8   In the movie, Katherine is not Evelyn Mulwray’s sister, but half-sister…they have the same father, different mothers. But in a sightly less icky way, your half-brother could very well be your step-father, as in Chart 374. Here we suppose your mother marries your half-brother B…he is not your half- thru her, but thru your father, thus your mother and B are not blood relatives…even so, that makes their son C what to you? Well, you are half-brothers to start with, having the same mother. But C is also your half-brother’s son, thus your half-nephew…that’s a Coefficient of Relationship of 1/4 + 1/8 = 3/8…you are so-called “three-quarter siblings”…related halfway between full and half-siblings.

chart 374

106.9  Three-quarter siblings more commonly come about when a man has a child with each of 2 sisters…or when 2 sisters marry identical twins, since these 2 fathers are genetically considered the same person. It could also happen if one man had a child with a woman, and with her daughter by another man, which is what we have in Chart 374,  genders reversed.

106.10  But as to shocking revelations…it is a bizarre coincidence that a year after whoChinatown came out in 1974, Jack Nicholson found out that the woman he had always though of as his sister…was in fact his mother. No interbreeding or anything, just a case of 18-year-old June Frances Nicholson having a baby out of wedlock, and her parents John Joseph and Ethel May Nicholson raising it as if it were their own child. Says Jack, “Ultimately I got official verification from June’s sister, Lorraine. I was stunned.” He was also 38 years old at the time. And this is confirmed by the 1940 census…June, Lorraine, and Jack are all listed as the children of Ethel M. Nicholson…Jack’s father/grandfather was on the scene in 1930, but not by 1940.

106.11  Sort of hard to imagine something like that happening to someone in the public eye, whose life history is presumably of great interest to folks well beyond the immediate family…but family secrets are what they are. It is said that both Ethel and June knew who Jack’s real father was, but took this information with them to the grave. Jack doesn’t know…best guess is a Hollywood song and dance man named Donald Furcillo, known as Don Rose professionally, who died in 1997 at age 88…Jack’s mother had been a dancer under the name of June Nilson. He believed he was Jack’s father, but truth be told, there  are other candidates…not that it’s any of our business, but that’s life, nez pah?

106.12  Amazingly, the same thing happened to singer Bobby Darin…in 1968 when he was 32. He was contemplating a run for political office, and the family thought it best to clue him in to the fact that his older sister was actually his mother. Mind you, I’m not judging, dear friends…just reporting.

chart 375

106.13  At any rate, if Chart 374 looked only “half-finished” to you, I agree. So we make it a symmetrical family affair with Chart 375…as YOU have a child with your half-brother B‘s mother A. And now, how are C and D related to each other? Answer next week…but careful: it’s a bit on the tricky side!…see yez…


Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved


#105: Ye Olde Mailman Delivereth

105.1  Dear Stolf: Have you ever heard of the case of North Carolina v. John Lee Conaway? …from Perry Masonite, Tile City, NM

105.2  Dear Perry:  ‘Deed I have…there was even a book written about it. And what’s interesting to us is that the outcome was determined by the hiring and testimony of a “genealogy expert.” BTW, the defendant is not related to Grease’s Kenickie, the late Jeff Conaway…to start with, different races…

105.3  First the background: On the night of August 22, 1991, John Lee Conaway and 3 accomplices robbed a convenience store at gunpoint and kidnapped 2 male employees, who were subsequently driven out to the woods and shot dead…this happened in the small town of Hamlet, North Carolina. The 3 co-defendants at the 1992 trial testified against Conaway in exchange for guilty pleas to kidnapping and each served 10 years. Conaway was found guilty and sentenced to death.

105.4   Now at some point, the defense became aware that one of the jurors, Rannie Waddell, Junior, was related to one of the co-defendants, Kelly Harrington. This information was obtained via an anonymous phone call, and there was some dispute about precisely when this occurred. The problem was that Waddell, during juror voir dire, had indicated he was not related to any of the parties to the proceedings. Was he in fact related, and if so, how? Was the relationship close enough to be considered “juror bias”? Had the defense “sat” on this information, allowing the trial to go forward, bringing it up only upon conviction?

105.5  Please do not be shocked to learn that it took 16 years for these issues to be resolved. In 2008, the Supreme Court of North Carolina granted Conaway a new trial, and he was ultimately re-sentenced to 2 life terms in 2010. Thus grind the wheels of justice. But as we observe in Chart 369, it was determined that juror Rannie Waddell Jr., who died 5 years after the trial, was indeed related to the co-defendant Kelly Harrington.

chart 369

105.6  The transcript of the ruling overturning the convictions called this relationship “double 1st cousins once removed”…that is, Waddell was a double 1st cousin to Kelly Harrington’s father Johnny…their mothers being sisters and their fathers being half-brothers. Since we have half-brothers on one side, such a characterization is not precisely true…Waddell and Johnny Harrington were 1st cousins on their mothers’ side, but half-1st cousins on their fathers’ side…a Coefficient of Relationship of 1/8 + 1/16 = 3/16…slightly less than that of full double 1st cousins, which is 4/16 or 1/4, the equivalent of half-siblings.

105.7   But despite the approximate description of “double 1st cousins once removed,” the correct relationship was spelled out in the record by the “genealogy expert,” that of mothers who were sisters and fathers who were half-brothers. Waddell and Johnny Harrington were thus described as “1st cousins who shared 3 of 4 grandparents…2 maternal grandparents and a paternal grandmother.”

105.8  Apparently, several members of the Waddell and Harrington families were less than forthcoming about these relationships…nevertheless, it was established that the 2 “cousins” were very close growing up, and in the same high school class. Since juror Waddell was dead, his reasoning or motives for denying this were never determined. Upon appeal, it was ruled that the relationship was not close enough to presume bias, but as we know, this was eventually overturned. It seems strange to me that this was the initial ruling…from a purely theoretically point of view, certainly a pair of half-1st cousins could be leading lives completely separate from each other, but this was not the case here, and the individuals in question were also full 1st cousins to boot.

105.9  And regardless, the juror had lied during the impanelling proceeding, hence the new trial…it was noted that “kinship between a juror and a participant in a criminal trial constitutes a classic form of juror partiality.” The question of course is how close does that kinship have to be. The current law of North Carolina, as is common in many other states, excludes jurors who are related to another participant by blood or marriage up to and including the 6th degree. This the law correctly explains as the number of “steps” from one individual up to a common ancestor, then back down to the other individual. The equivalent of counting steps is to count the individuals involved, minus the one you start with. 6th degree would typically mean 2nd cousins, altho there are other possibilities…and to this extent, full relations and half relations are equivalent, since you are reckoning thru individuals, not couples.

105.10  As you can see in Chart 369,  the relationship between the juror and the co-defendant is in the 5th degree, and in 2 different ways. Whether or not the juror knew this…and it certainly strains credulity to suppose that in this case he didn’t…he should have been disqualified. In the words of Sir Edward Coke, Chief Justice in Britain during the early 1600s, “The law presumeth that one kinsman doth favor another before a stranger.”

105.11  Dear Stolf: We now know Kate and Will aren’t expecting twins…but why all the speculation in the first place?  …from R. J. Royalswatcher, Sceptreville, Wyoming

105.12  Dear RJ: Sarah Burton, who designed Kate’s wedding dress is expecting twins…in the comic strip, Mike Doonesbury’s daughter Alex is expecting twins…but alas, Kate is expected, in July, to a throw a singleton, if you’ll pardon my saying. The reason for all the hubbub, bub, was that twins run in both Kate and Will’s families…and there has never been, so we are told, twins in the immediate line of succession to the British throne. Now granted, only fraternal twins are thought to be influenced by genetics…indenticals are believed to be mere accidents of chance. Spokesmen for the Middletons have declined to elucidate which of their pairs are fraternal and which identical, and I’m not feeling inclined to do the research…but Chart 370  gives you the basics…the twins are in solid colors…

chart 370

105.13  On the Spencer side, William has identical 1st cousins, and a great grandfather, Lady Di’s maternal grandfather, who was an identical twin…some reports I saw called Lord Fermoy William’s grandfather, but he is Lady Di’s grandfather. With the Middletons, Kate’s paternal grandmother was a twin…and in fact the Glassborow twins married brothers…as were 2 of her great grand maiden aunts.

105.14  Now if Kate were going to have twins, the first one out would be, quite logically, the next in line, behind grandfather Charles and father Will. And today, that’s regardless of sex…up until last year, male heirs had predominance, but, starting with Kate and Will’s offspring, no more. Over in Denmark last year, Crown Princess Mary gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. News reports speculated that she would have a Caesarean section delivery, and that the presiding doctor would thus be “effectively choosing the babies’ position in the line of succession.”

105.15  Turns out surgery wasn’t necessary…Prince Vincent arrived naturally about a half an hour before Princess Josephine. But I’m gratified to learn that others besides myself were woefully ignorant of the realities of human birthing. As my brother the doctor explained it to me, twin babies would be packed in there pretty tight, and with the Caesarean procedure, there is no “choosing”…one will “present” itself and be taken out first, simple as that…it’s not like lifting tots from a tub. Till next week, cheers, tra, and Bob’s your uncle…


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