#113: Stampede of the Colts!

113.1  Dear Friends: Recently I was writing an article for a monthly entertainment newspaper up here where I live in northern New York state…it’s a column on Baby Boomer pop culture, back columns of which are here if you’re interested. I needed to double-check the facts concerning Samuel Colt and the fictitious Colt cousins on the 1950s TV show “Colt .45″…and it was then that I realized that the question of the parentage of his nephew Samuel Caldwell Colt was of more significance than I had realized when I mentioned it back in  #103So here’s a brief accounting…

chart 406

113.2   It begins in August of 1835 when Samuel Colt, who had just turned 21, sails to England on a 4-month-long business trip promoting his firearms. He spends much of his time there in London, visits Paris as well, and spends several weeks in Scotland, where he meets Caroline Henshaw…a 16-year-old German, said to have been “stranded” there for whatever reason. They fall in love…they are married…they travel back in the US in December. Once home, he has doubts about revealing his impromptu nuptials to his family. Caroline is a foreigner, not of old New England stock obviously…she speaks German, French, and Polish fluently but very little English…a proper spouse for a blue-blood scion?…and so the marriage remains a secret.

113.3   And just as well…Samuel is apparently a poor husband…to wit, he’s never home. Needless to say, details of their relationship over the next several years are sketchy…but in 1841, we find Caroline ensconced in Philadelphia, working in a corset-making shop, where she meets Samuel’s brother John Caldwell Colt, 4 years his senior. He has spent time as a fur-trader, a Marine, a law clerk, a teacher, but has finally found his niche as a bookkeeper, and has published an influential textbook on the up-and-coming system of double-digit accounting. He moves to New York City in January of 1841, and Caroline comes to live with him in May.

113.4  And she is pregnant, giving birth on December 17, 1841 to a son, which she names Samuel Colt Junior. All and sundry assume that despite the name, this is John’s son…but John has his mind on other things, as he is being tried for the murder of book publisher Samuel Adams that fall. The trial drags on into 1842, and on September 28, John Caldwell Colt is found guilty and sentenced to hang. The public has been following this sensational story with rapt interest, but the best is yet to come.

113.5  On the morning of his execution, November 14, 1842, John and Caroline are weddedmarried in a brief ceremony in his cell, witnessed by his brother Samuel. Unbeknownst to everyone else, Caroline is now a bigamist, if only for a day…Samuel doesn’t marry Elizabeth Jarvis and start his own family for another 14 years. Mind you, altho John was incarcerated in New York City’s infamous prison nicknamed The Tombs, he was living in the lap of luxury…wearing satin dressing gowns, dining on roast quail, fresh flowers brought to him daily by Caroline, the works. Several hours after the wedding ceremony a fire breaks out at the prison, and when the smokes clears, John in found dead in his cell, stabbed thru the heart. It is ruled a suicide…and it is never discovered who smuggled in the knife…Caroline is the logical suspect, but he had many visitors, especially family.

113.6   Samuel Colt provides for the mother and the upbringing of the child, now known as Samuel Caldwell Colt, always referring to him as his “nephew”…yes, he would put the word in quotes.  Samuel Colt dies on January 10, 1862, and when his will is probated, it is found that he has left what would be the equivalent today of $2 million to his “nephew.” Widow Elizabeth protests, and it is then that a marriage certificate from Scotland is produced…it is ruled that regardless of whom the real father of Samuel Caldwell Colt may be, his mother was married to Samuel Colt when he was born, thus he is a legal heir.

113.7  There is much more to the story, including rumors that John Caldwell Colt faked his death, escaped in the confusion of the fire, and lived out his life in California. Despite the sensationalist aspects of the affair, Samuel Caldwell Colt goes on to raise a family in Connecticut as a farmer…is of good enough reputation to be elected to the state legislature…and dies in 1915. Caroline, reinvented as Julia Leicester, Samuel Colt’s “niece,” returns to Germany and marries a Count who runs the Colt factory there…altho some historians claim that Frederich von Oppen actually married a different Julia, Samuel’s 2nd cousin, the granddaughter of his grandfather Benjamin’s brother Peter. I leave you with images of the 3 gentlemen concerned, a picture being worth a thousand words, as they say.

whose daddy


  113.8  But I’ll admit it…I got hooked on it all…and in the process of assembling a Colt family tree, I came across some interesting twigs and branches that I’d like to share with you.

chart 407

113.9  The first one that caught my attention was when Samuel Colt’s 1st cousin Daniel married Emelia Skinner in 1819. Skinner sounded familiar…and sure enough, Samuel had a 3G grandmother, Ann Skinner. All that was needed was to link up Ann and Emelia, and that wasn’t difficult, as the genealogies of these old New England families are relatively well documented. You’ll notice in Chart 407 that there is some question about which of John Skinner’s sons, Joseph or Richard, is the relevant ancestor, but end result: Daniel and Emelia were 5th cousins…and something struck me that hadn’t up to this point…

113.10  …and that is that when 5th cousins marry, it’s almost a certainty that their common ancestor is long dead…and that’s true in this case. When 2 of John Skinner’s 4G grandchildren wed, he was in the grave 169 years. Likewise, Ann Skinner was gone 85 years when her 3G grandson married her 3G grand niece. Parenthetically, notice how much more logical that is than the equivalent, which would be to say that her 3G grandson married her 4G niece…sounds like they’re different generations when they’re not.

chart 408

113.11  Next we have David Skinner, Emelia’s paternal grandfather…he married 2 Lord girls, first Sarah, then Jerusha. Sisters, perchance? Nope…double 1st cousins, thru the Lords and thru the Bulkeley’s, sometimes spelled Bulkley, as seen in Chart 408. There are a couple of other Colt/Bulkeley hookups scattered about here and there in time, but this gives you the flavor of it.

chart 409

113.12  Ready for a trifecta? Back to Ann Skinner, Samuel Colt’s 4G grandmother. Her mother was a Loomis, and 3 of Ann’s children also married Loomises. At first, it appeared that 2 Colt brothers and a Colt sister were marrying 3 of their Loomis 1st cousins, 2 of them brother and sister. But as we see in Chart 409, the Loomis trio were actually 1st cousins of Ann Skinner herself, meaning they each married a 1st cousin once removed. Now this jolly arrangement comes with a caveat…John Colt was married either 3 or 4 times…to Mary Fitch, Lydia Finch, Hester Edwards, and Ann Skinner….the first 2 possibly being the same person. Sadly, the dates given by various sources do not match up…it seems most likely that all 3 of these Colt siblings were Ann’s children, altho there’s an outside chance 2 of them were Hester’s.

chart 410

113.13  And finally, an amusing change of pace, Chart 410. In the 1800s, they were just entering the era when middle names would become fashionable…more on that next week. Often,  parents chose the mother’s maiden name, or another surname going further back in the families…it was thought of as a way to “preserve” the surname.  And most often, it was a son that got it, but occasionally a daughter did. Now when a woman marries, then and now, she chooses which middle name to use: either her middle name at birth or her maiden surname.

113.14  Thus it seemed harmless enough when Samuel Colt’s brother Christopher and his wife Theodora DeWolf named their daughter Isabella DeWolf Colt in 1840. Who knew she would grow up to marry her 1st cousin on her mother’s side, Francis Eugene “Frank” DeWolf! She died in 1923, and the US Census records for 1900, 1910, and 1920 all list her as “Isabella C. Dewolf”…altho in genealogical records today, she is by convention called  “Isabella DeWolf DeWolf (Colt).” An added complication is that various branches of that family spelled it DeWolf, Dewolf, and De Wolf…but that’s a tangle for another day…a rainy day…a torrential downpour day… 😉 😉

Wicked Ballsychart 411re


We’ll say goodbye to the Colt clan for now…yes, for now, since there are many other connections I’ve yet to investigate…how could there not be! But since this whole thing started with the question of whether nephew “Christopher Colt” and his cousin “Sam Colt Jr.” from the TV show “Colt .45” were real people, I leave you with Chart 411, outlining the various Samuel and Christophers I’ve found, none of which fit the bill, but there you go.

And in the interest of full disclosure, there is yet another Christopher Colt, born in 1829…and he was alive at least in or slightly before 1869 when he had a son. Now that’s the start of the Ulysses S. Grant administration…unfortunately, he would have been 40, a little old to be the character from the show, said to be Grant’s special agent out west. Trouble is, genealogists are not sure exactly where his branch of the Colt family originates…there are at least 4 candidates, a son and 3 grandsons of John Colt, progenitor of the line. Happy hunting, sez me!


Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved


#112: Please Mr. Postman…

112.1  Dear Stolf: My 4 grandparents were immigrants from 3 different countries. Does that make me one-third of each nationality? …from Consuela Wong-Halopowski, Neutral Park, WY

112.2  Dear Consuela: In a word, no. My heritage is quantitatively the same as yours, as shown on the left of Chart 402. Green is Italy, red is Poland, blue is Quebec…and as you can see, I am a half, a quarter, and a quarter respectively. There’s only one basic way to juggle around the grandparents, as shown on the right, and it comes out the same.

chart 402

112.3  Now our pedigrees, yours and mine, while not that unusual, are still not typical of Baby Boomers. Most of our immigrant grandparents tended to marry within their ethnic group, whereas the next generation, our parents, were less likely to do so. Thus we grandchildren are often either completely of one nationality, or half of one and half of another. In my case, my mother’s Polish mother married her French Canadian father, to the general dismay of both camps, but love is love, right? And I daresay our generation is mixing things up even more…all happily melting together in that proverbial pot.

chart 403

112.4  The trouble with thirds is that, due to our having 2 parents each, all fractions have to be powers of 2…½, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, etc. You can get only as close to 1/3 as the powers of 2 can approximate…altho if you check Chart 403, that turns out to be, theoretically anyway, pretty darn close. A fraction of 2731/8192 for example is only 4 hundred-thousands off from 1/3, or 1/25,000. And while I don’t quite know what is means, it’s interesting to note that as you increase the powers of 2, the fraction that’s the closest (marked by a √) alternates between the one slightly under 1/3 and the one slightly over. I reckon a closer mathematically analysis would explain why this happens, but I’m just not up to it…sue me.

chart 404

112.5  The question is, can this happen in real life? I chose a manageable fraction, sixteenths…and the closest you can get to 1/3 is 5/16, or .31250. A moment’s reflection suggests how you would sketch that out…of 16 2G grandparents, you have 3 ethnicities of 5, 5, and 6 individuals each. Sure enough, as shown in Chart 404, it works…you end up 5/16 red, 5/16 green, and 6/16 blue. Not perfect, but as close as you can get…5/16 is 6% off 1/3…6/16 is 12.5% off.

112.6  Dear Stolf: In perusing genealogies, I sometimes come across people named “NN”…huh?  …from Huffer McGee, Sri Lanka

chart 405112.7   Dear Huffer: Huh yourself!  “NN” or “N.N.” is Latin for Nomen Nescio. It means “I do not know the name” and is an internationally recognized genealogical notation. I like it for its reasonableness…after all, just because I don’t know the name, doesn’t mean nobody does…and certainly they knew it back in the day. You might also spy NN in college catalogs, where it indicates the lecturer of a course is not yet known…altho supposedly in that case it stands for Nomen Nominandum…or “the name is to be announced.”

112.8  Dear Stolf: I was thinking about that one-child-per-couple law they have in China…that must be simplifying genealogies a good deal…or no?  …from Boris Martinez, Oslo, Norway

112.9  Dear Boris: To a certain degree, you’re right. But as always, the devil is in the details…and the regulations over there are complicated…to the extent that only about a third of the some 1.3 billion Chinese are subject to strictly one child only. Bottom line: the number of children per couple in China currently stands at 1.8…compared to 1.6 for the UK and 2.1 for the US. By further comparison, in the 1950s (Boom!) in the US it was 3.8…and there are several regions in Africa today where it’s over 6!

112.10  The policy was instituted in 1979…and was originally intended to last one generation. Since those individuals are now mostly beyond their child-bearing years, speculation was it would soon be rescinded. But no…they announced in January of 2013 that it will continue indefinitely. But what is the policy exactly? As the 1.8 indicates, it clearly isn’t one couple/one child, period, end of story.

112.11  Indeed, “one only” applies only to urban areas, affecting some 36% of the population. If you have a second child, you must pay an annual tax, and there is a small number of families that can afford to do so. And it’s said that hundreds of government officials get away with it without paying anything…don’t act so surprised. Then there are the exemptions…if you have twins, no tax…and with fertility drugs, the number of twins born in China has doubled over the past decade. In addition, if a couple marries, and one of them already has a child, a second half-sibling is permitted.

112.12  In the realm of unintended consequences, we have what they call the “4-2-1 Problem,” which relates directly to genealogy. In China, adult children traditionally provide for their elderly parents and, if they are still living, grandparents. In a “perfect storm” scenario, that would result in 1 adult being responsible for 6 individuals…2 parents and 4 grandparents. Thus, in the middle of the last decade, it was decided that if 2 individuals are themselves only children, they are allowed to have 2 children…thus splitting those potential obligations in half. And on top of that, ethnic minorities, even in an urban setting, are allowed 2 children.

112.13   As we leave the big cities and move to the rural regions, it’s equally complicated. This amounts to some 62% of the population, and most are allowed to have a second child if their first child was a daughter…yup, you can try for a son! Others are allowed 2 children regardless of gender…and some ethnic minorities, who make out better in the city, also do so in the country, where they’re allowed 3 or 4 children. Then there are the Tibetans, about 2% of the population, who are subject to no restrictions at all. There are also no formal restrictions in Hong Kong, altho there exists a very strong campaign of official propaganda: “Two is Enough.”

112.15   Add to all of that the phenomenon of “fake husbands,” where a couple wanting a second child will get divorced, then pay a single man to…well, you can take it from there. And has all of this helped? Hard to say…the official number of births prevented since 1979 is given as 400 million…altho some experts say it could be as low as 100 million. Current population is 1.3 billion, so on the short end it would have been 1.4 billion, an increase of about 8%. Using the official statistics, the law prevented an increase of about 30%…which to me sounds significant, if true.  BTW,  the party line is that about 75% of the population approves of this arrangement…OK, fine…

Wicked Ballsy

inset 1

He’s largely forgotten today, but Fred Allen was a comedic genius with few rivals…a mainstay on radio in the 1940s, and to a much lesser extent on TV in the 1950s, mostly on panel game shows. A regular feature was his discussion of  current events with the denizens of Allen’s Alley, pictured above…missing from the group photo is Parker Fennelly as down-Mainer Titus Moody, inset top left. He’s the one who, when asked what he thought about radio, said he didn’t like furniture that talks.

On one post-WWII broadcast, they’re bemoaning the housing shortage plaguing New York City. Mrs Nussbaum (German for nut-tree) says her apartment has been overrun with “blood relatives, relatives without blood…” and all of them bedding down catch as catch can…

insert 2

Oh, indeed… 😉 😉


Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

#111: Up the Ladder

111.1  There is a procedure I use virtually every time I’m evaluating a kinship relationship, so I thought it was time I give it a formal name: “Cousin Ladder.”  It starts with the “Cousin Line,” which Chart 395 demonstrates for your 3rd cousin and your 4th cousin.

chart 395

111.2  A Cousin Line is simply how the direct ancestors of your cousin are related to you, step by step, back to your mutual common ancestor. At first you might memorize it by rote, as I did…but you’ll deal with it so often, it’ll become second nature, and it really is one of the keys to fully understanding the workings and connections of a family tree. As you can see, whichever numbered cousin you start with, that number guides you all the way up. For 4th cousins for example, the key number is 4…quite logically, wouldn’t you say? Numbered cousins removed must add up to 4…when you run out of numbered cousins, you have an uncle with 4 words…then a grandfather with 4 words…and that’s all there is to it.

111.3  And one thing you’ll notice about the Cousin Line…it puts the concept of “cousin removed” in it’s proper perspective. What I mean is, a cousin once removed…be it 2nd cousin, father of your 3rd cousin…or 3rd cousin, father of your 4th cousin…is of your father’s generation, so is to you more like an uncle. Twice removed, more like a grand uncle…3 times removed, great grand uncle, etc. Saying “1st cousin twice removed” sounds like you’re talking about a numbered cousin of yours, but you’re not…it’s somebody else’s numbered cousin, and the “removed” tells you whose. In Spanish, they deal with this so much more logically than in English…a 1st cousin once removed is called a “2nd uncle”…2nd cousin once removed, “3rd uncle,” etc. Then going up to your grandfather’s generation, a 1st cousin twice removed is your “2nd grand uncle”…2nd cousin twice removed, your “3rd grand uncle,” etc. But if you check Chart 395, you’ll see that in English the great grandfather of your 3rd cousin is a kind of “uncle”…whereas the great grandfather of your 4th cousin is still a kind of “cousin”…a confusing inconsistency that doesn’t exist in the Spanish system.

111.4  At any rate, to get to the Cousin Ladder, you compare a Cousin Line with your own direct line, again going back to the common ancestor of you and your cousin…and the Cousin Ladder is how each pair of ancestors in each generation is related to each other. The Cousin Ladder is in red and yellow in Chart 396…and it ties together several very important kinship truths.

chart 396

111.5  First…You can’t have numbered cousins without first having a pair of siblings, who are the offspring of that common ancestor. So anywhere in a family tree where you suspect there are cousins, you first go back and look for siblings.

111.6  Second…Just as 1st cousins are the offspring of siblings, 2nd cousins are the offspring of 1st cousins…3rd cousins are the offspring of 2nd cousins, etc. In general, Xth cousins give birth to (X+1)th cousins…conversely, the parents of Xth cousins are (X-1)th cousins. With this crucial fact you can match up numbered cousins, no matter how complicated the family tree. Even if 2 individuals are, say, 2nd cousins on one side, and 3rd cousins on the other side, the trail back to a pair of siblings and the siblings’ parent will be there…in this case, 2 trails, thru 2 parental lines.

111.7   And third…a Cousin Ladder is yet another illustration of the meaning of cousins removed. For example, in Chart 396, take your father…and the father of your 4th cousin, who is your 3C 1R. Those 2 fathers, according to the Cousin Ladder, are 3rd cousins…and sure enough, your 3C 1R is “once removed” from you exactly because he is of your father’s generation…i.e. your father’s 3rd cousin. And as you can see, that works for all your removed cousins, all the way back to the common ancestor. Next,  a look at the Cousin Ladder in action…


111.8  We’ll go back to #28: French Canadians. I like to use personal examples for 2 reasons: they are real-life examples, typical of what you’re likely to find researching your own family. And it’s also a shout-out to my distant relatives, who might recognize part of their tree, and have information to help me flesh out mine…since it truly remains a work in progress, no matter how detailed I can get it. Now in #28, I was looking at 5 individuals…my maternal grandfather Henry Berube…2 brothers Lorenzo and Alfred Berube, altho not Henry’s brothers… and 2 sisters Imelda and Claire Roy, all from Salem, Massachusetts. The brothers married the sisters, and one of the children of Alfred and Claire was Rodrigue “Rudy” Berube, the founder of the Berube & Sons Funeral Home, still in operation in the Witch City today.

111.9  And as it turns out, my grandfather was related to the brothers, and related to the sisters…and the brothers and sisters were related to each other! When I was growing up, I was aware that there were other Berube families in Salem…(my mother grew up in Salem, but she and my father moved to the town “next-door” when they were married.) Apart from my grandfather’s brothers and 1st cousins, we were always told we “weren’t related” to the other Berubes. Indeed, Henry was 5th cousin to Lorenzo and Alfred…and in a culture where 2nd cousins are considered distant, “not related” is a common simplification. I should mention that in the opinion of L’Association des familles Bérubé, all North American Berubes can trace their lines back to the founder Damien Berube, who arrived in Quebec from Normandy in 1671.

old chart 98

111.10  So after diagramming the connections between these 5 individuals, I ended with a larger chart showing additional connections between the Berube and Roy families…Chart 98. Males are in blue boxes, females in red. The Roy family members are written in black, Berube in red, and the connecting Miville and Lizotte clans in green. (Double-left click to see the chart larger.)  The Berubes surrounded by yellow are where I had to duplicate a part of the tree in 2 different places…thus despite being on opposite ends, Pierre Berube who married Elizabeth Lizotte and Charles Berube who married Celeste Roy are brothers, the sons of Louis Berube, himself son of Louis, son of Mathurin, son of Damien.

111.11  But that was the least of my difficulties…as you can see at the bottom, Pascal Berube married Henriette Roy, and had I placed them horizontally in their own generations, how could they be connected as married with a double line? Not to mention their sons Lorenzo and Alfred, who had to be connected up with Imelda and Claire Roy. So it was there that I stopped. This is a good example of why a tree diagram isn’t suited to outlining an entire family genealogy…it gets impossibly complicated…here, most of my relatives have been left out…Chart 98 shows only those relevant to Berube/Roy connections. For example, my great grandfather Joseph Berube, Henry’s father, was the youngest of 14 children, and had a twin brother to boot! 

111.12  But now I was bound and determined to pick up where I left off, and include Lorenzo and Alfred…and it turns out that with a thought, that process was fairly straightforward, as seen in Chart 397. The obvious way to do it was to put Pascal Berube and Henriette Roy “next to each other,” and on the same horizontal line as the rest of their generation. To do that…on her side, we flip the positions of her father Pierre-Antoine Roy and her uncle Clement Roy. On his side, we exchange the positions of the 2 lines coming from Mathurin Berube…son Joseph who leads to Pascal, and son Louis who leads to my grandfather Henry. But when we do this, the Roy/Miville/Lizotte line also gets flipped to the other side, and there is now an overlap of lines drawn from first generation ancestors Pierre Roy to Marie-Anne Roy…and between Damien Berube and Mathurin Berube.

chart 397

111.13  This can’t be helped…the overlap is drawn with a red line as opposed to all the other black lines…but it’s a small price to pay indeed, because now Lorenzo and Alfred fit exactly where they should be, hooked up to their wives Imelda and Claire Roy. So let’s check their relationships with the Cousin Ladder.

111.14  Henry to the brothers Alfred and Lorenzo (Chart 398)…First, identify the siblings, offspring of the common ancestor…then apply the Cousin Ladder down…confirming they are 5th cousins. And to me?…My grandfather’s 5th cousins?…5th cousins twice removed?…oh, so you were paying attention…splendid.

chart 398

111.15  Henry to the sisters Imelda and Claire Roy (Chart 399)…Apply the Cousin Ladder and we get 6th cousins, thanks to the Miville/Lizotte interlude… 😉 😉

chart 399

111.16  The brothers to the sisters (Chart 400)…Starting with brothers Pierre-Antoine and Clement Roy, sons of Clement, and we get 3rd cousins. Are we done? Ah, not exactly!

chart 400

111.17  Look at the direct ancestors (parents, grandparents, etc…) of the Roy sisters: all Roys. Now look at the direct ancestors of the Berube brothers: both Berubes and Roys, since their paternal grandmother was Henriette Roy. And Henry Berube’s direct ancestors? Again, Berubes and Roys (thru the Mivilles and Lizottes.) Meaning what? Well, in Chart 398, we figured how Henry and the brothers were Berube cousins…but since they are both descended from Roys, so they are Roy cousins as well!

chart 401

111.18  Thus by Chart 401, we see that Henry and the brothers are 6th Roy cousins…as well as 5th Berube cousins. Why different numbers for the double numbered cousin relationship? Because the common Roy ancestor is one generation earlier than the common Berube ancestor. And if you’re a stickler, we should also mention before we go that even before they were married, the Berube brothers and the Roy sisters were already related by marriage: the boys’ 2C 3R  (Pierre Berube) having married the girls’ 3C 3R  (Elizabeth Lizotte). Of course, Lizotte is also the boys’ 3C 3R…but you should have expected that, since hers  is one of the 2 marriages that unite the Roy and Berube lines, making Henry and the brothers cousins in 2 different ways in the first place…whew!…and now we can go…see you next week!


Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

#110: You Want to Know…I Want to Tell You

110.1  Dear Stolf: “If Abner is my X, then I am related to everyone that Abner is related to.” How does one correctly fill in the “X”?   …from Xerxes Heidlfritz, Barracuda Beach, FL

chart 388

110.2  Dear Zerk: Please consult Chart 388. You are a blood relation to everybody in this chart, and your specific kinship is noted for each. Those shown in the dark blue ovals are the X’s…everybody related to an X is related to you. This is not true for the others…and it brings up the very significant asymmetry between your direct ancestors and your direct descendants…the former are all X’s, the latter are not. For example, you are related to everyone your father is related to, but not to everyone your son is related to…namely…

chart 389

110.3  …his mother! And of course all her blood relatives. Bringing “new blood” into a family line is called “out-breeding” (the opposite of the i-word) and is shown in Chart 389. The solid red mothers who are your direct ancestors are of course your blood relatives, as are their blood relatives…exactly the same as the solid blue fathers. But the white circle mothers are the “new blood” and are not related to you…thus their offspring and their descendants are not in the X category. And needless to say, half-relations do not fall into the X category either, since they have by definition a side of their family not related to you…in that sense a half-sibling resembles a full 1st cousin. For ease of discussion we can call X relatives “co-relations”…not to be confused with correlations, altho I can see how that could happen.

chart 390

110.4  But wait, sez you! What if my co-relation does marry somebody he is related to…what then? Well, it can go either way. Let’s assume your uncle marries somebody he’s related to. On the left side of Chart 390, your uncle marries A. And A is related to you, since A is related to a co-relation of yours, your uncle. But we will also assume that A is also a co-relation of yours. This makes their son, your 1st cousin, also your co-relation…there is no side of his family to which you are not related…you are related to both sides. The trouble with this scenario is that, as seen in Chart 389, your co-relations are very close relations…either your direct ancestors or their siblings. So A would have to be…well, the gentlest way I can do it is to make her your uncle’s aunt, your grand aunt…right side of Chart 390. Not something we do much these days, but not unheard of down thru history, as we have seen.

chart 391

110.5  But even tho that 1st cousin is now your co-relation, that’s where it would end…if he marries outside your family, as is shown in Chart 390…his son, your 1st cousin once removed, is not your co-relation. On the other hand, suppose your uncle marries somebody related to you, but not your co-relation, as shown in Chart 391…in this case he marries his 1st cousin, your 1st cousin once removed. Now their son…your 1st cousin thru his father, and your 2nd cousin thru his mother…is not your co-relation, because as you can see, he has a maternal grandmother B not related to you. Pretty simple when you think about it…it’s just not something people who don’t read G4BB would think about, I daresay. But it leads very nicely into our next question…

110.6  Dear Stolf: If somebody related to me marries somebody related to them, how does that effect me exactly?  …from Me, Identity City, VT

110.7  Dear You: I dunno…are you the type of person who tends to take things to heart? Seriously tho…it’s reasonably straightforward…say Abner is related to you and he marries Zoë, who’s related to him. The question is, is Zoë related to you? If she is, then you will have a double relationship with the offspring and further descendants of Abner and Zoë…if not, then it doesn’t effect you at all. Mind you, if Abner is your co-relation, then Zoë is automatically related to you…that’s what co-relation means. If Abner is your relation, but not your co-relation, then Zoë may or may not be related to you.

chart 392

110.8  Let’s continue with the examples we’ve been using. In Chart 392, your uncle Abner marries his aunt Zoë, who is also your father’s aunt and your grand aunt. You are related to their son Buck in 2 ways…1st cousins thru your father and Abner (left)…and 1st cousins once removed thru your father and Zoë (right), since your father and Buck are 1st cousins. That’s how it effects you…a double relationship with the offspring…when Abner married your co-relation.

chart 393

110.9  In Chart 393, Abner marries his 1st cousin Zoë, who is also your father’s 1st cousin and your 1st cousin once removed…thus your relation, but not your co-relation. You are again 1st cousins with Buck thru your father and Abner (left)…but now you are also 2nd cousins with Buck thru your father and Zoë (right). So in either case, your uncle marrying a relative of his, and by definition a relative of yours too, resulted in 2 lines of ascent between you and Abner’s son Buck.

 chart 394

110.10  Instead of your uncle marrying his 1st cousin, suppose it’s your 1st cousin Abner marrying his 1st cousin Zoë. You are related to everyone your uncle is related to, but not so your 1st cousin. If Zoë is also related to you, she must be your 1st cousin too, so there will be 2 lines of ascent between you and their son Buck…in this case, you and Buck will be double 1st cousins once removed…and your son will be Buck’s double 2nd cousin. But if Zoë is Abner’s cousin only on the other side…thus not related to you…there will still be a double relationship, as seen in Chart 394…only now, it’s Buck and his sister Brenda who are double 2nd cousins to each other.

110.11  You might think this means there is some kind of double relationship between you and those siblings…but there isn’t…you are 1st cousin once removed to each…and your son is 2nd cousin to each…but in this case neither you nor your son are double anything to anybody. Honest…I wouldn’t kid you about something like this…so hope to see you back here next week, deal?


Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved


#109: Mail Call, Check It…

109.1  Dear Stolf: I was thinking about how people in everyday life tend to “simplify” kinship relations…like the example you always use, how on “The Andy Griffith Show,” Aunt Bee calls both Andy and his son Opie her “nephews.” But couldn’t they be? Like you also always say, there are 2 sides to every family…and can’t you be a 1st cousin to somebody, and also a 1st cousin to that person’s father?  …Just Wondering (real name), Androsquattamagansett, MA 

109.2  Dear Just: Sure, you’re right about 1st cousins…and yes, you could be an uncle to both a father and his son…except in that case, you couldn’t do it in a “nice way,” if you get my drift and I think you do. I’ll show you in detail, but the gist of it is this: 1st cousins come from the siblings of your parents, and since you have 2 parents, you have 2 sides of the family, 2 sets of parental siblings, and 2 unrelated (usually) sets of 1st cousins. But nephews come from your siblings, and you only have one set of siblings…well, full siblings anyway…with half-siblings, it would be half-nephews, and that’s another matter. With nephews, thru your only set of siblings, there is no “other side” to have additional nephews on, see?

chart 384

109.3  First, we’ll look at it with cousins. In Chart 384, Zeke on the right is 1st cousin to Junior thru their mothers. Zeke is also 1st cousin to Junior’s father Pop…since Pop’s father Gramps and Zeke’s father Bubba are brothers. Zeke and Junior are Able cousins…Zeke and Pop are Baker cousins…thus Zeke is a 1st cousin to both a son (Junior) and his father (Pop). This comes about because you have 2 sides of your family to have cousins on. You might call Zeke and Junior double cousins, which is to say irregular double cousins, since the 2 ways they are related to each other are different: they are 1st cousins on the Able side and 1st cousins once removed on the Baker side. Me, I wouldn’t call them any kind of double cousins, since cousins removed aren’t really cousins…I’d just say they’re related in 2 different ways and leave it at that.

chart 385

109.4  But there is no interbreeding in this case…simply 2 sisters who married a man and his nephew. Now could Zeke be both a Baker cousin to Junior and a Baker cousin to Pop? Yes, as shown in Chart 385, but now we need interbreeding…in this case Bubba has married his niece. This used to be popular centuries ago among European royal families…and presumably it trickled down to the common folk as well back then…today, not so much. On the one hand, Pop and Zoë are siblings, so their children Junior and Zeke are 1st cousins. And on the other hand, Zeke and Pop are also 1st cousins, since Pop’s father Gramps and Zeke’s father Bubba are brothers. So Zeke is a Baker cousin to both a son and his father. And if you noticed that Zeke is also a 1st cousin to his own mother Zoë…gold star for you.

109.5  As to the Taylors of Mayberry, there is no way Bee could be both Andy’s aunt and Opie’s aunt…without interbreeding. Bear in mind, Bee is not in fact Andy’s aunt in any case…they are 1st cousins once removed, Andy’s father being Bee’s 1st cousin. You can read about this shocking revelation here:  #41. But here’s the skinny: there is an episode where Andy refers to Bee’s niece Martha as his second cousin…and that cinches it.

109.6  Mind you, not once in 249 episodes is it ever stated or even implied that Bee and Andy’s father were siblings. On one occasion she does mention she had a brother who was so fond of spirits that they had to hide the rum-cake…but it is clear she is not talking about Andy’s father. Over the course of 8 seasons we do learn that Bee has 3 sisters…we only meet one of them, the youngest of the brood, Nora, who has 2 sons Opie’s age. The other 2 are mentioned but never seen, Ellen and Florence…and which is the mother of Martha we don’t know. But for the sake of argument…

chart 386

109.7  …let’s say Andy married one or the other, and they are in fact his aunts. BTW, this would be completely illegal, since an aunt and nephew are as closely related as half-siblings, CR = 1/4…and the cutoff point is 1st cousins or 1/8…about half the states allow that or anything more distant…the other half, it has to be more distant. But checking Chart 386, we find a situation similar to what we had in Chart 387…there is interbreeding, and cross-generationally to boot. But now at least we got what we wanted…Bee is Andy’s aunt thru her brother Andy’s Pa…and Bee is also Opie’s aunt thru her sister Ellen or Florence. And as before, Andy and Opie are also 1st cousins to each other.

109.8  Well, at least that might explain why we’re told absolutely nothing about Andy’s dead wife…not even her name. 😉 😉  And just to gild the lily, if Bee had a daughter Xenobia (don’t ask about the father…I tell no tales)…she would be 1st cousin to a father and his son. Are you happy? Sure hope so…and you’re a bird in this world, you know that?

109.9  Dear Stolf: Anything new from the wiseGeek “cousins” page?  …from Alicia McAffine, Stepfathersville, SC

109.10  Dear Alicia: Uh-huh. Couple a’ posts…the first one really didn’t need a chart, it’s so basic…


109.11  And this next one, again relating to the definition and correct usage of “cousins removed”…see yez in 7…

chart 387


Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved