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.
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 all 50 states, since what’s banned in about half of them is marriage between 1st cousins…anything beyond that is kosher. 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?
106.7 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 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.
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 Chinatown 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.
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…
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