#152 Adventures in Cousinland…the Saga Begins!

152.1  Uncle Wiki has a long list of cousin marriages down thru history…well, up thru 2nd cousins anyway. I noted to my surprise that they got the relationships right for the ones I knew of…the Roosevelts, Jerry Lee Louis, Elizabeth II & Philip, and several others. So for the next few weeks (months!?), we launch into Adventures in Cousinland, where I will attempt to verify some of the other more famous and interesting pairings.

152.2  I noticed 5 signers of the Declaration of Independence on the list…2 to 1st cousins, 2 to 2nd cousins, and one to a 1st cousin once removed. Now 5 out of 56 seemed low to me, knowing how they did things in those days…and I can pretty much guarantee that if they took it up to 4th cousins or so, the number would be a good deal higher. Anyway, I thought to start out with those 5…alas…

152.3  …the first 2 I investigated turned out to be pretty tricky, and it became apparent that each merited a blog of its own…which is why this project may take some time! No matter, I got the time. And we begin with Charles Carroll of Carrollton.

cc of cton

152.4  As you can see from his signature, that was his real full name. I counted 5 generations of Charles Carrolls…an interesting name in and of itself, since Charles, Carl, Carlos, Carlo, even the Polish Karol (Pope John Paul II), as well as Caroline, Carol, Carole, and Carla are all derived from the Latin Carolus. Yes, even Carroll, which in the case of Carroll O’Connor now seems more like a surname than a male version of Carol, which I’m sure many people assumed it was.

152.5  But it was the custom in this family to distinguish generations not by numbers, Junior/Senior, or middle names, but by where they lived…either a town or a plantation or estate…altho in some cases the place name was used as a middle name, as in CCC’s father’s 1st cousin, Daniel Marlborough Carroll, aka Daniel Carroll of Marlboro. This tradition got going in earnest when the first Charles Carroll, who arrived in Maryland from Ireland in 1688, had a son…the son was eventually known as Charles Carroll of Annapolis, his father retroactively becoming Charles Carroll the Settler.

152.6  And CCA’s son was CCC…his son, sometimes referred to as Charles Carroll of Homewood or Charles Carroll IV, more commonly styled himself as Charles Carroll Jr. Still, you will then see his son called Charles Carroll V, after which I stopped looking…

152.7  CCC was the only Catholic Signer…not surprising when the population of Catholics in the Colonies barely reached 2%. And according to Uncle Wiki, he married his 2nd cousin…which in those days would have required a dispensation, in the form of a monetary contribution to the Church…no problem, as this was one of the wealthiest families in the New World. His wife was Mary Darnall, also from a very rich family, and known as Molly…but were they 2nd cousins?

chart 523

152.8  Chart 523  will tell the tale…and to limber up our genealogical muscles…and trust me we’re going to need them to be limber…let’s see what other married relatives we can find. CCC’s father CCA and his wife Elizabeth Brooke were half-1st cousins, as his mother and her father were half-siblings from grandmother Eleanor Hatton’s 2 marriages. Likewise, Molly Darnall’s parents were also related…half-2nd cousins again thru Eleanor Hatton, and 3rd cousins thru the Sewells. And it’s a good thing we started with this, because it gives you a taste of what’s to come with these intertwined clans.

152.9  Now as you study Chart 523, I hope one thing becomes apparent…CCC and Molly could not have been 2nd cousins…whatever types of cousins they were, it has to be cousins removed, since they are of different generations…for example, CCC’s grandparents Clement Brooke Sr. and Jane Sewell were Molly’s great grandparents. And how they got together in the first place is an interesting story. Henry Darnall IV abandoned his wife and young daughter…some say he was eventually executed for a capital crime in Canada. Rachel took Molly to live with CCA (Rachel’s Hatton half-1st cousin once removed) and Elizabeth (Rachel’s aunt on the Brooke side.) Rachel cared for Elizabeth until her death, and it was natural that Rachel’s daughter Molly and the son CCC would eventually get together.

152.10  The way to determine how CCC and Molly are related is to trace back to as many common ancestors as there are. Since this tree is especially complicated, I decided to do that by steps…making use of the fact that for 2 people to be related, they must have parents who are related…and those parents must themselves have parents that are related…that’s what tracing back is, after all. Thus, since they are of the same generation, I started with how CCC’s parents were each related to Molly’s grandfathers, Henry Darnall III and Clement Brooke Jr. (Those parents that are unrelated to anyone else I have left off this chart.)

chart 524

152.11  Chart 524 summarizes the results. At the top, you’ll notice that Elizabeth Brooke is related to Henry Darnell III thru both the Sewells and the Hattons…but from what we have already said, that shouldn’t be surprising! Next, CCC, as the son of CCA and Elizabeth, will be related to the 2 grandfathers’ children in the same way, but plus one…1st cousin becomes 2nd cousin, etc…as shown in the middle of the chart. Finally, since Molly is the daughter of the 2 grandfather’s children, she has the same relation to CCC as they do, but once removed. Not so difficult once you break it down, is it?

chart 525

152.12  Chart 525 verifies these 5 connections. I won’t bother to figure the mathematical degree of relationship, but it’s clearly a lot closer than 2nd cousins…double half-2C 1R is equivalent to 2C 1R…and so they are 2C 1R twice, that alone being equivalent to 2nd cousins. But CCC and Molly are even closer on top of that thru the Brooke’s, 1C 1R…with a 3C 1R thrown in for good measure.

152.13  I had one more curious wrinkle to examine and then we’d be done…unfortunately… I happened to notice that another founding father, Daniel Carroll, who among other things signed the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, was described as CCC’s “cousin.” And not for nothing, Daniel’s younger brother John became an Archbishop and founded Georgetown University. Well, this is “Cousinland” after all…no rest for the weary…

chart 526

152.14  So Chart 523 is expanded as Chart 526…new individuals added are colored pink. As you can see, there were a gaggle of Daniels…the one in question is often distinguished by historians as “of Rock Creek.” And yes, the great granddad’s Aghagurty and Litterluna are Irish place names. I also found Daniel Carroll’s wife Eleanor Carroll described as CCC’s “1st cousin,” which suggests, taking it strictly logically, that CCC and Daniel were not 1st cousins…otherwise Eleanor would have been Daniel’s 1st cousin too, not just CCC’s, given all 3 had the same last name.

152.15  Sure enough, CCC and Eleanor are 1st cousin since their fathers were brothers. CCC and Daniel were 2nd cousins since their grandfathers Keane and Charles the Settler were brothers. And thru those grandfathers Daniel and his wife Eleanor were 2nd cousins…but also 2nd cousins thru the Darnalls, since grandparents Mary and Henry II were siblings…so that’s double 2nd cousins. And it’s a funny thing…in making Chart 526 from Chart 523, I wanted to eliminate any irrelevant relatives to make it simpler…for some reason, I resisted jettisoning the Sewells. And after a bit of thought, I realized why…because CCC and Daniel were 3rd cousins thru the Sewells, by way of their mothers…is why.

152.16  Say listen, can we get to that curious wrinkle you mentioned and wrap this up? Certainly, let’s do. As before, we start with Chart 523, and new additions are colored pink.

chart 527

152.17  In Chart 527, our focus of interest is Eleanor Brooke, sister of CCC’s grandfather and his wife Molly’s great grandfather Clement Brooke Sr. Eleanor’s first husband was Philip Darnall, son of Col. Henry Darnall. The question is, who was Philip’s mother? Because if it was Eleanor Hatton, then Philip and his wife Eleanor were half-siblingsoops.

152.18  Now no less an authority than the Maryland State Archives Online don’t go that route…they echo the consensus of those that care about this, stating that Eleanor Hatton was Col. Henry’s second wife…his first wife is “unknown”…and of course that would be Philip’s mother, and thus he married his step-sister, not half-sister. This theory is bolstered by the fact that Philip was born in 1671, and Eleanor Hatton didn’t marry Philip’s father until after her first husband Thomas Brooke died in 1676.

152.19  Trouble is…records and dates can be fudged, accidentally or otherwise. And the person who dealt with this at Ancestry.com does an interesting thing…


152.20  …which is to refuse to identify Eleanor Brooke by her first name, instead calling her “Private Brooke.” Now objectively speaking, your family is your family, right? Still, online these days there is a very delicate issue of privacy, and relatives still alive are sometimes called Living or Private instead of their given names…with or without the appropriate surname, depending on whether, I guess, you’re shooting for semi-privacy or deluxe privacy.

152.21  Fine, but…if she married her half-brother, he married his half-sister…where’s his privacy?…and 300 years later, who cares?  Even if chivalry is the reason they did it in this dainty fashion, I can’t concur…sorry, it’s Eleanor! Eleanor! Eleanor!

152.22  At the same time, I have no trouble going along with the step-siblings not half-siblings scenario. But look at it from the point of view of Henry Darnall II. First, his half-brother on his father’s side marries his half-sister on his mother’s side…what some people today are calling “quarter siblings.” Then when Philip dies in 1705 at age 34, Henry II’s step-sister marries his wife’s brother…um, is she stalking me or something?  Ha! Next week, we slash and hack our way into the further depths of Cousinland…please join us, won’t you?

wicked ballsy


Let’s face it…fun means different things to different people…sez me.


Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved


#151: Everywhere a Cousin, Cousin

151.1  As related back in Related How Again #148.15-18, Henry Cabot Lodge…the one who was replaced in the U.S. Senate by JFK in 1954 and lost as Nixon’s VP to Kennedy/Johnson in the 1960 Presidential election…that Henry Cabot Lodge called himself, and signed his name, “Jr.”  That was not his father’s name however, but his grandfather’s…strict attention to tradition would make him a “II” not a “Jr.” but you really are free to do what you like in this area. And to be honest with you, I don’t know what you’d designate the elder HCL in this case…probably “Sr.” since “I”…the first…sounds a bit huffy for everyday consumption, nez pah?

chart 520

151.2  This elder HCL married his 3rd cousin, as shown in Chart 520…but there’s an added twist that makes it especially interesting. We reviewed back in Related How Again? #114  how middle names came into fashion, starting with high-born families wishing to preserve maternal side surnames…and those surnames were given as middle names to both sons and daughters. We see several of them in Chart 520, highlighted in purple. And these middle names eventually became first names as well…the second major source of our present day given names, along with Christian names from saints and the Bible.

151.3  When tracing families back in time, such surnames-as-middle-names are valuable clues that you’re heading in the right direction…most of the time. Because sometimes the surname is not an ancestral family name…rather, it is intended to honor someone who is not in the family pedigreeand that is the case here. Now if all you knew was that Henry Lodge married this 3rd cousin Anna Davis…and both had “Cabot” as a middle name…you would naturally assume they were Cabot 3rd cousins, that is, they were related thru the Cabots. And you’d be wrong!

 151.4  Because they were Blake 3rd cousins…each had a grandmother named Blake, and these grandmothers were 1st cousins…their fathers were brothers…thus Henry and Anna’s closest common ancestor was great great grandfather Joseph Blake. Anna Cabot Mills Davis was named after her mother’s 2nd cousin and closest lifelong friend Anna Sophia Cabot. Bear in mind, in days past families stuck together more than they do today…most people today can’t even name a 2nd cousin, let alone be bosom buddies with one. So word to the wise: watch those middle names!

151.5  Next…we mentioned last time that despite his German surname, Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz identified with his mother’s Norwegian side…and as Chart 521 shows, that was a crowd! To start with, Schulz mother Dena Halverson had 8 siblings…thus 8 sets of 1st cousins for Sparky. His middle name Monroe comes from his uncle John Monroe Halverson, nicknamed “Monte”…and indeed he named his first son Charles Monroe Schulz Jr., also known as Monte. Schulz’ mother was very close to her youngest sister, Aunt Marion…and you might recall from the stage show “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” Lucy’s line re Schroeder: “My Aunt Marion was right…never try to discuss romance  with a musician.”

chart 521

151.6  Aunt Marion’s married name was Swanson, and her daughter Patricia Swanson…marioncousin Patty, both seen right…was indeed the inspiration for the names of the 2 Pattys in the strip, as well as the tomboy character of the Peppermint one. And yes, dear nosey friends, “tomboy” means what you think it means…well, as far as Patty Swanson anyway…that part didn’t carry over to the strip, despite the theorizing you’ll sometimes see from over-anxious revisionists.

151.7  But along with Sparky’s 4 aunts and 4 uncles on his mother’s side, he had a gang of “sort-of” uncles and aunts…because his mother had 10 double 1st cousins…as closely related to Dena and her siblings as half-siblings would be, 1/4. In Chart 521, a Halverson brother and sister married a Borgen sister and brother. I should mention that sources say Lars Borgen and Gusta Halverson had 16 children, of which 10 survived to adulthood and had families…resulting in double 2nd cousins for Sparky. I could only find 9 of the 10…2 of whom were fraternal twins.

sp151.8  Further…while it appears Lars and Anna Sophia Borgen had no other siblings…Tom and Gusta Halverson had an additional 5 brothers and 1 sister. And to complicate things further, their father was not a Halverson but a Ryssestad…full name Halvor Knutsen Ryssestad. He lived his entire life in Norway, at a time when the traditional Scandinavian pattern of personal names was beginning to change. Ryssestad or Rysstad, also sometimes called Rige, is a Norwegian city, very likely where Halvor was born…and yes, his father was named Knut. Usually, your father’s name became your surname…altho sometimes a place-name was used as a surname instead, while retaining the “patronymic” as a middle name.

151.9   This was changed in Norway in 1923…by law, your family now had to have a hereditary surname passed down thru the father’s side, thus officially coming in line with the rest of the Western world. Iceland* alone retains the older tradition, to the extent that people today are listed there in the phone book by their fist name. But Sparky’s maternal grandfather’s Norwegian siblings had the last names of Halvorsen and Halvorsdatter…sons and daughters of Halvor…Americanized to Halverson.

* …and technically…about 10% of the people in Iceland have a last name that is not in the form of -son or -sdottir, as they spell it. These are in a sense “true” surnames, passed thru the father, but they are of relatively recent origin. Due primarily to Danish influence, they became a fad around the time of World War I, and attempts to outlaw them were not completely successful. Those that remain today are legal, altho no “new” surnames of this type are allowed…if your family doesn’t already have one, you have to go with -son/-sdottir. As an example, the singer Björk…that’s her first name…is properly addressed, casually or even formally, as Björk…her full name is Björk Guðmundsdóttir…but in the White Pages, look under B!

151.10  And to complete the picture, Sparky had 3 sets of 1st cousins on his father’s side…from Carl’s siblings Elsie, Fred, and Alma. Family reunion?…um, we’re gonna need more chairs…

151.11  Finally…next week we formally begin a series I’m calling “Adventures in Cousinland.” You know, dear friends, I believe much of the current public aversion or animosity towards some things is born of sheer ignorance, with no basis in reality. Certainly what we here at Related How Again? refer to as “interbreeding” is a prime example…a couple turns out to be 4th or 5th, or heck, even 10th cousins, and it’s the end of civilization as we know it. Contrast that popular perception with what the experts say: an egghead at Rutgers estimates 80% of marriages down thru human history have been between 2nd cousins or closer…and perhaps 15% worldwide are today.

151.12  In fact, what we’re finding out is that even offspring of 1st cousins are far less prone to inherited defects than had been generally assumed…and unions between 2nd or 3rd cousins turn out to be the most fertile…they think it has to do with some sort of compatibility, along the lines of what we see in organ transplants. But the point is, the extreme stigmatization of cousin marriages rampant today is relatively recent…and you’re going to find some “close” match-ups in your own genealogical research, more likely than not.

151.13  Altho I should point out that all of this doesn’t mean our predecessors had a better grasp of the scientific aspects of human reproduction, because they most certainly did not. For example, while 1st cousin marriages were kosher, it took a very long time…well into the 20th century in England…until a man could legally wed his dead wife’s sister. The objection was that such a woman was now also his sister…obviously the furthest thing from genetic reality.

151.14  So…I found a long list of historical cousin marriages at Wikipedia. Now you must always take Uncle Wiki with a grain of salt…or a bucketful. But as I reviewed the list, I found to my pleasant surprise that they were correct on the ones I knew of…the Roosevelts 5C 1R, Jerry Lee Lewis w/1C 1R, John and Abigail Adams 3C, Honey Fitz w/2C, even Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, 3C thru Victoria and 2C 1R thru Christian IX of Denmark. I was impressed, to give the devil his due…still I thought it might be fun to verify some of the other more notable or complicated examples. And we’ll kick it off with one that sounded right, but I wasn’t sure of the details…that of Albert Einstein and his wife being related on both sides of their families.

chart 522

151.15  Come to find out, they got that one right too…who knew? Referring to Chart 522, Albert and Elsa’s mothers were sisters, so they were Koch 1st cousins…and their grandfathers Abraham and Raphael Einstein were brothers, making them Einstein 2nd cousins. Notice that this was the second marriage for each of them…Elsa’s last name was Lowenthal when she married Albert, but she was born an Einstein…then, as one commentator put it, she got her original surname back…get out the old towels!

151.16  We tend to think of Albert Einstein as that nutty old professor with the crazy white hair…I’ve pictured him on Chart 522  as he and Elsa looked at the start of their marriage. Did Einstein have a sex life? Hard to imagine I suppose, but of course he did…everybody did…OK, well, apparently not Sir Isaac Newton, but you get my point. He and his first wife had 2 sons after all…and they also had a daughter.

151.17  Albert met Mileva Marić when they were students at a Swiss university…she was from Serbia. Their daughter Lieserl was born out of wedlock and there is quite a bit of controversy as to her fate…either she died of scarlet fever in infancy, was raised quietly by Serbian relatives, or was sent to a foundling home. The pair married a year later, and by 1912 the Einstein family consisted of 2 sons…and a girl-friend…that would be Albert’s 1st cousin on one side and second cousin on the other side Elsa. Mileva and Albert separated in 1914 and were formally divorced in 1919…within months he and Elsa were married. He eventually adopted his 2 step-daughters, altho he had little to do with his sons, especially when the family moved to America. All of which is neither here nor there, but does flesh him out as a human being, not just a mad scientist.

151.18  Another mystery concerns Albert and Elsa’s maternal grandfather Julius, who changed his name around 1842 from Doerzbacher (German: Dörzbacher) to Koch…their mothers were born Pauline and Fanny Koch more than a decade later. And while many websites note this fact, others, copying from Uncle Wiki, state it in an odd way: “[he] had accepted the family name Koch in 1842.” Now at first I thought “family name” meant an older family surname…but checking his pedigree, I found Rosenthaler, Arnold, Lachheimer, Sontheimer, Nordstetten, Josef…but no Koch, the German word for “cook.”

151.19  So “family name” must simply mean “surname”…but then “accepted” seemed kochstrange…adopting a new name is one thing, but accepting a new name certainly sounds like it was given to you. And now the picture becomes clearer, because these families were Jewish, and in Eastern Europe, as elsewhere, Jews did not have surnames in the usual sense. If Jacob’s father was named Abram, he would be Jacob Abram or Jacob ben Abram…then Jacob’s son Simon would be Simon ben Jacob…there was no surname as such to be passed down thru the generations. And really, this is no different from what we saw with traditional Scandinavian names when discussing the Norwegian Halversons…and such had been the early custom from Scotland to Russia.

151.20  Now up until the 18th century, Eastern European Jews tended to live apart from the rest of society and had few civil rights. As this situation changed for the better, and they began to assimilate and exercise their newly granted liberties, it was at the same time decreed that they should take up Germanic names, both Christian names and surnames. This happened at different times in different regions, and the methods varied…sometimes they were free to choose, either completely on their own or from an approved list…other times names were chosen for them.

151.21  Julius Doerzbacher was born in 1816 in the city of Jebenhausen, in the German state of Württemberg. His father was named Zakok Loeb Doerzbacher, and had indeed been born in the Württemberg city of Dörzbach. Altho the renaming of Jews in this region did not begin officially until 1828, this family had been doing it for several generations. Still, the whole enterprise was a bureaucratic nightmare…who could keep what name?…and who had to change, and to what?

151.22  What we are left with is this: by 1842 both Julius and his brother Heinrich were named Koch, not Doerzbacher. And that this was not entirely their choice…remember the word “accepted”…might explain why their father is sometimes called Zakok Loeb Doerzacher Koch, or simply Zakok Loeb Koch…to minimize confusion, the whole family apparently “got” the new surname.

151.23  In any event, it turned out that there was a lot more going on here than first met the eye…we’ll see what tangles we can untangle next week as we launch into “Adventures in Cousinland”…ciao for nao…


Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

#150: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Charlie Brown!


150.1  Genealogically, there isn’t much going on in Peanutsland. There are mothers, fathers, and grandparents…but they are never mentioned by name, and of course never seen. Some of the kids have last names…Lucy, Linus, and Rerun Van Pelt, Charlie and Sally Brown, Violet Gray, Peppermint Patty Reichardt, José Peterson, Joe Agate. The number children 3, 4, and 5 are surnamed 95472, which was the zip code of Sebastopol, California…north of San Francisco…where the Schulz family was living in the mid-60s, and the strongest clue we have as to where the strip takes place. I’ve seen it said that their father was 1 and mother was 2…plausible, but no far no definite confirmation on that.

150.2  Other children do not have last names…Patty, Frieda, Marcy, Shermy, Franklin, Roy, and a whole lot of others in the later years…but see 150.12-13.  Schroeder is his last name…Schulz said he was named after a caddy whom everyone called by his last name only, and he liked the sound of it…he never knew the boy’s first name. But what was Sparky was thinking with Pigpen is beyond me…check out his first appearance…hasn’t got a name?…huh?

1 inset

150.3  Violet’s last name really is Gray…even tho it’s only mentioned once…and wouldn’t you know it, it’s there merely to set up a gag. Otherwise, it could very well have been Jablonski.

2 inset

But it works as part of my mnemonic device…because for some reason I never really internalized which is Patty and which is Violet. So my rule is: Patty is Plaid…her dress and her hair bow. And Violet’s hair is Black…Gray…like that.

3 inset150.4  Relatives beyond the siblings I mentioned? Virtually none…the only one I come up with is Marcy’s condescending cousin Maynard who tutored Peppermint Patty for a week in July 1986 (“Are you the dumb one?”) and was never seen again. I did find 2 other alleged relationships, but they are definitely erroneous. What’s more, they’re not from strips but from TV shows, which if you view as non-canonical…then they’re right out!

4 inset150.5  But worth refuting nonetheless, sez me. “Why, Charlie Brown, Why?” aired on March 16 1990 and was a departure for the series in that it dealt with a very serious subject…a little girl named Janice Emmons who has leukemia. Not a show that gets repeated every year…altho in our current anti-bullying climate, it couldn’t hurt…and it takes place at Christmastime to boot. In this show, Linus meets 2 of Janice’s sisters…they are unnamed…but…

5 inset

150.6  …Uncle Wiki says they “resemble”  and “most liklely are” Frieda and Patty…and  several other pages repeat this speculation…which is nonsense for 2 reasons. First,  never in the hundreds of times that Frieda and/or Patty appeared in the strip was it even remotely suggested that they were sisters. And second, in a strip with such simple drawings as Peanuts, the identity of a character depends on its specific and constant appearance…true, these can change over time, but so gradually that the continuity remains…as with Snoopy for instance.

6 inset

150.7  And as you can see, the curly-haired sister has the wrong shaped nose, hence she’s not Frieda…and the other sister has her bow in the wrong place, plus is not wearing plaid, hence she’s not Patty. Yes, dear friends, the Fan Logic Game can be taken too far, and this is a prime example. Oooo! Oooo! I just discovered something that nobody else knows!  Um, no, you didn’t…sorry…better luck next time.

150.8  Now “It’s Spring Training, Charlie Brown” is a special you may have never seen…because it is one of 3 shows that went straight to home video in the 1990s.* The diminutive Leland joins the ball team, and he’s thought by some to be Frieda’s brother. Nope, not possible…this is a retcon just as silly, if not as culturally significant, as the Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader mess. And without even seeing the show, we know Leland can’t be Frieda’s brother for the simple reason that he lives in a different neighborhood.

* It has a copyright date of 1992…it was available on video tape in 1996 and eventually debuted on Nickelodeon in 1998. The other 2 were “It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown” 1997, and “It’s the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown” 2000.

7 inset

150.9  In a series of strips beginning in February of 1977, Charlie Brown bites the kite-eating tree and becomes convinced the EPA is after him. He runs away from home, and ends up in another neighborhood where he mentors a pee wee nine called the Goose Eggs…including Austin, Ruby, Leland, and Milo. Has Frieda and her “little brother” moved to a new address? No evidence of that. But hey, go to the source…watch “It’s Spring Training, Charlie Brown”…and you see what?

inset x

150.10  One thing you see is that the diminutive tyke they call Leland lives in Charlie Brown’s neighborhood, and Charlie Brown knows him by name. In the top row above, left, we see  this “new” Leland…before and after the puts on his oversized batting helmet, which he wears thru out the show…compare him to the “original” Leland in the bottom row…completely different characters. Then we have his big sister, top right…compared with Frieda, bottom right…similar hair but wrong nose, thus different characters. Now this big sister has a speaking part, and a child actor is credited, altho on the show, the names of the actors are not matched to their parts.

150.11 Uncle Wiki calls the character “Frieda”…at the Internet Movie Data Base, she’s called “Ruby”…and yes, that’s the same name as one of the other Goose Eggs, but as you can see, the real Ruby bears no resemblance to the big sister…none. BTW, this dark-haired Ruby is from the TV show “It’s an Adventure Charlie Brown,” where she and the “real,” big-nosed Leland appear.

snoopyson150.12  But speaking of the TV shows, Charles Schulz himself stated they “don’t count”…which is to say, they are non-canonical…what happens in them isn’t really part of the Peanuts universe. Why would this even have to be an issue? Because while the “party line” has always been that Sparky wrote and closely oversaw the shows until his death in 2000, how close is closely? Others say the animators and producers took creative liberties with characters and back-stories, and this was realistically beyond Schulz’ control.

150.13  The whole issue surfaced in 1977 when the little red-haired girl was actually shown in “It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown” and named Heather…neither of which ever appeared in the strip, before or since. So in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that the 1994 show “You’re in the Superbowl, Charlie Brown” gives 2 last names never mentioned anywhere else on TV or in the strip: Marcie Johnson and Franklin Armstrong. Me, I go strictly by the strip only…otherwise, as you can see, Snoopy has a son…and here I thought he was fixed!

150.14  But anyway…the family trees in Peanuts are mighty bare…the real reason I’m doing this is to celebrate 10 examples of weirdness. I was reading thru “The Complete Peanuts Vol. 1″…reprinting all the strips from the first 2 years, Oct 1950 thru Dec 1952. I noticed some oddities that stuck out like sore thumbs, compared to the comfortable groove the strip would eventually settle into. And here’s my Top Ten…


#10  The Very First Time…Well, here’s some trivia for you…Charlie Brown’s “first” was Violet…and not Lucy, who wouldn’t debut in the strip for another 4 months. Notice that in those days, Schulz hadn’t decided her hair style…eventually it would be a ponytail, but here it’s pigtails.


#9  Li’l Specks…Schulz didn’t tend to draw his strips this way, so this one stands out as peculiar, with the tiny faraway figures. Could he have laid it out another way? Sure, but he didn’t…and no do-overs.


#8  Breaking the 4th Wall…Literally, it means speaking directly to the audience, like George Burns used to do on his old TV show. It happened occasionally in Peanuts…more often a look or a reaction rather than a comment…but it is a bit jarring. Breaking the 4th Wall can also refer to a more esoteric phenomenon…in the case of a comic strip, a character knowing that they’re in a comic strip…see today’s wicked ballsy.


#7  Who Again?…Charles Schulz once said: “I’ve always regarded myself really as being Norwegian and not German.” Altho his father Carl was born in Germany, it was seldom mentioned, and he spoke English without the trace of an accent. On the other hand…if the topic were delicate enough, his mother and her family would jabber among themselves in Norwegian. And Schulz also said he got his sense of humor from his mother’s side. But apart from that, I have no idea what this means. Olsen, son of Ols? Knowing Spakry’s love of ice hockey, I did check the roster of goalies for the 1951-52 NHL season…Turk Broda, Emile Francis, Terry Sawchuk…heck, even I’ve heard of them…but no Olsens.


#6  Dog vs. Dog…You see this sort of thing all the time in the Disney universe…”cartoon” dogs side by side with “real” dogs…or even “human” dogs, like Goofy. Then there was the time Gumby’s horse pal Pokey was riding in a wagon pulled by…um…a horse. But this is unusual for Peanuts, I think you’ll agree.


#5 The Eyes Have It…During those first formative years, Schroeder, Lucy, and Linus were all introduced as infants…and each “grew up” practically over night. In the case of Lucy’s eyeballs, they became more typical Peanuts dots within 3 months or so. The other interesting thing here is that Sparky has signed the strip “A DADDY” instead of his usual name (below). His first son Monte was born Feb. 1 1952.


#4  Crisscross…Sparky’s dilemma was this: he wanted a back-and-forth dialogue where Charlie Brown and Patty each have 4 lines…but had only 3 panels to do it in. His syndication insisted on exactly 4 panels, so a strip could be displayed 1×4, 2×2, or 4×1. Thus, “swords” are crossed…awkward to say the least, but it does get the job done.


#3 The Incredible Shrinking Blockhead…There are certain universally accepted cartoon art conventions…like “speed lines” to indicate motion. Getting littler when you’re embarrassed isn’t one that’s caught on really…altho we do get the message of “feeling small,” don’t we?


#2 Fried Snoopy!…2 things always bothered Charles Schulz…first, he never liked the name they gave the strip…and second, he really did intend it to be for adults, not children. And the image of Snoopy undergoing electrocution…hmmmm. Now granted, back in the day, children were viewed in a much less infantile light than they are today…back then you had B-B guns, candy cigarettes, murder and gore in comic books, playing “doctor”…all kinds of “grown-up” things that nobody gave a second thought. But this is beyond the pale…unless of course your father worked at a prison…or you just had a very fertile imagination…in which case maybe you did play “electric chair” with your cohorts…and that weird little kid who kept yelling: Do me again!


#1 Role Reversal…As time went on, Snoopy became more anthropomorphized…it started with his thinking human thoughts, then walking upright…eventually he would even wear human clothing if his “Joe Whatever” persona called for it. But at this early stage, it just looks totally wrong…because it is totally wrong. I guess we should be glad this type of “dream sequence” didn’t become a running gag, nez pah?

OK…50 years, nigh on 18,000 strips…certainly there were many other queer & quirky moments along the way. Hope you enjoyed these examples from the earliest years…next time, some frolicsome follow-ups to some recent topics and a preview of Adventures in Cousinland…but before we go, as promised, from the “How Can He Possibly Know This?”  File…

wicked ballsy

wicked ballsy

Can’t get enough? No problemo…check these outstanding links:

The Peanutsiest!: The Music of “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Charlie Brown Stocking Stuffers

What a Boner, Charlie Brown!


Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

#149: Munster Mash!

149.1  Dear Stolf: I read in a list of “maiden names” that Lily Munster’s was “Dracula”…can that be right?  …from Dusty Caraway, Grand Canyon

149.2  Dear Dust:  Maiden names…Edith Baines Bunker, Sue Ellen Shepard Ewing, Alice Gibson Kramden, Wilma Slaghoople Flintstone, June Bronson Cleaver, Morticia Frump Addams, Lucille McGillicuddy Ricardo, Carol Tyler Martin Brady…and if I might play the Fan Logic Game for just a moment with Laura Meeker/Meehan Petrie…it was Meeker during the first season of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and that was Mary Tyler Moore’s husband’s name at the time. By the second season they were divorced, and her maiden name was changed to Meehan for the duration.

149.3  Fans consider this an irreconcilable inconsistency, but it occurred to me there is a way out: she is only a Meeker once in the first season, and that’s in the first flash-back episode when they meet at Camp Crowder, where Rob’s a sergeant and she’s a USO dancer…just 17 years old, we (and he) find out much later. But since she’s in show business, at least nominally, couldn’t Meeker be a stage name, perhaps in her mind easier to spell and pronounce than Meehan? Just a thought…

149.4  As to the Munsters…I’d love to do a “box set treatment” on them…that is, watch every episode, taking copious notes. Lacking that, I have gleaned quite a bit from the internet…and what kinship ties I can find are basically as silly as the show itself. I should tell you, I have always preferred the Addams Family, from that day to this, altho in all fairness their genealogy is pretty darn messy too.

149.5  But while the Addamses were a very strange and macabre clan of presumed human beings, the Munsters were supposed to be the Famous Monsters of Filmland literally in the flesh. Al Lewis as Grandpa was the Dracula…albeit, for contemporary purposes, called “Sam Dracula.” Lily, his daughter, was born in 1827…she met and married Herman in Transylvania…his “father” was the Victor Frankenstein…”He made me what I am today!”

149.6  Marilyn? Faggetaboutit…bearing in mind that the Munsters have had numerous incarnations beyond their initial 2 seasons in 1964-66, her parents either died in an explosion or are still alive in Transylvania. She is either the daughter of Lily’s sister or Herman’s sister…her father may in fact be Mr. Hyde. And that brings us to the other genealogical conceit of the show…

mun rel

149.7  …that all of the Hollywood monsters are “related” to each other. Thus above, top row, we see Uncle Gilbert = Gillman, the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Bottom left is Herman’s “twin” brother Charlie the con man…and right, Lily’s brother Lester…whom little Eddie takes after obviously…get the picture? But you asked about her maiden name.

149.8  Given Lily’s pedigree, “Dracula” certain works as her maiden surname…did she ever actually use it as such? There was a 100th wedding anniversary episode in the 2nd season, but no flash-backs as far as I know. But I would go so far as to argue that she didn’t really have a last name, since technically, her father didn’t have one either.


149.9  In Bram Stoker’s original Dracula novel, Van Helsing believes, based on the Count’s reminiscences of the old country, that he is in reality Vlad III, Voivode of Wallachia, also known as Vlad Tepes (the Impaler) and Vlad Dracula (son of Dracul, the dragon.) This was a real life historical figure, born in Transylvania in 1431… but his father Vlad II was of Wallachian nobility, and would eventually regain his homeland from the Turks, with Vlad III ruling after him. The year Vlad III was born, his father joined a fraternity dedicated to opposing the incursion of the Ottoman Empire into the Slavic regions…the order of the Dragon.

 149.10  But in those times, Romanians didn’t have surnames in the modern sense…Dracul and Dracula were honorary titles or nicknames along the lines of the Great, the Elder, the Lion-Hearted, or even Robin [who wears a] Hood. So I guess my final answer is: Dracula was sort of Lily’s maiden name, but not really…how’s that for some monster quibbling?

149.11  Dear Stolf: I enjoyed your series on the Kennedys but it got me thinking: Wasn’t JFK somehow distantly related to Gore Vidal?  …from Aunt Astigmia Addams, Salem MA

149.12  My dear Madame: Short answer, they were connected, but they weren’t related. It all boils down to how permanent step-relations are…for example, if Mike and Carol Brady divorced, would the boys and the girls still be step-siblings? I suppose, based on the relationships they’ve built over the years, they very well could still be step-siblings…or even consider themselves siblings, period. But there are no hard and fast rules in this area…it would depend on the family…and in our case…

chart 519

149.13  …it’s reasonably complicated. Taking it step by step, we’ll start with Hugh Dudley Auchincloss Jr. …and BTW, it always seemed to me Auchincloss was German or Slavic or something…turns out it’s actually Scottish, who knew? Nevertheless, his first marriage is to a Russian Countess and they have one son. They are divorced and he marries Nina Gore Vidal…they have 2 children, added to Nina’s son from her first marriage, the man we’d come to know as Gore Vidal.

149.14  You know, it’s funny when someone is dissatisfied with their birth name, but they keep it because they think they have no choice. They have plenty of choice…they can call themselves whatever they want, any combination of the names they were given, or other names…legally changed or not. True, their birth certificate is their birth certificate…and Gore Vidal’s reads Eugene Louis Vidal…Uncle Wiki says the Louis is the result of his father incorrectly remembering his own middle name…and that’s a story too good to check, as they say!

149.15  At some point it was corrected to Eugene Luther Vidal Jr. He wasn’t formally baptized until he was 13 years old, at which time a Gore was inserted between Eugene Luther and Vidal. A year later, this precocious lad decided he wanted a moniker that was short and snappy, thus was born Gore Vidal.

149.16  Next, Hugh D. Auchincloss Jr. divorces Nina…at this point I would assume Yusha Auchincloss is no longer Gore Vidal’s step-brother, altho Nina and Thomas Auchincloss are of course still Vidal’s half-siblings. Jackie and Caroline Bouvier’s mother divorces their father and marries Hugh, whom the girls call Uncle Hudie. He brings them 3 step-siblings from 2 different ex-wives, and in the fullness of time, 2 half-siblings as well.

149.17  All this is sketched out in Chart 519but to attempt an answer to your question, I would say Gore Vidal was the half-brother of 2 of JFK’s wife’s step-siblings…you could say Vidal was the half-brother of 2 of JFK’s step-siblings-in-law, altho I wouldn’t. Well, and Vidal was also the ex-step-brother of another of JFK’s step-siblings-in-law. After Hugh’s death Janet married for a 3rd time, a childhood friend, investment broker Bingham “Booch” Morris…they separated 2 years later but remained married until her death in 1989. Shoot, you could even say…no, wait, you couldn’t…sorry…

wicked ballsy

wicked ballsy

Big Peanuts special next week…woo hoo, Charlie Brown. And to get you warmed up, here are the first 3 strips where Schulz drew birds…Woodstock’s 20G grandparents or something?

extra, extra!


Even tho the internet is a huge place, it’s easy to get caught up in your own microscopic corner of it. I’m happy to announce that Related How Again? is now part of the largest collection of genealogical sites, Cyndi’s List. Good luck finding it there…but it’s there..


Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

#148: The Kennedys, Part 3

148.1  Today, some genealogical tidbits I came across while researching the Kennedys. For several of these I don’t have nearly the whole story…but as I have mentioned several times over the past 3 years on this blog, that’s OK. That’s the difference between a book and a blog….or any “dead-tree media” for that matter…newspapers, journals, magazines. You’ve pretty much got to get it right the first time…which is not to say that some writers don’t pad their prose with silly  surmises and half-baked speculation. But the beauty of blogging is it can be instantly corrected, revised, expanded…or deep-sixed. So I don’t mind throwing out a few mysteries to see what if anything will turn up…for example…

148.2  The Legend of Ding Dong Jack…This stems from a passage I found in the book “Sins of the Father: Joseph P. Kennedy and the Dynasty He Founded” by Robert Kessler. In 1938, JFK’s father Joe Kennedy was named Ambassador to England…he moved much of the family to London, altho not Jack and his older brother Joe Jr. who were both at Harvard, 2 years apart. And of course, he assembled his posse…

1 ding dong

148.3   Ding Dong Jack Kennedy…that was bound to happen…there were and still are scads of Kennedys around, a healthy portion of them named John. Now Eddie Moore is of course Edward Moore, Joe’s long-time sidekick and factotum…the man after whom Joe’s youngest son Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy was named. In the 1920s, Joe had made a ton of money after purchasing RKO studios in Hollywood, hence these fine gentlemen. Even so, there is very little out there about the elusive Edward Moore…and given that, good luck finding out anything about Ding Dong Jack. 

148.4  The brief description of “rough looking” and the nickname itself might suggest a cigar-chomping Moon Mullins character with bulging forearms…but I think that would be wrong. The Kennedys ran in the highest of high society circles…and after all, these were the men running the U.S. Embassy in London…one would expect a certain amount of polish, at least on the surface. I doubt Ding Dong’s job was moving furniture.

2 book148.5  But there is absolutely nothing to be found about him, at least not on the internet…altho I did stumble across a couple of tantalizing morsels, and one has to do with the nickname itself. An American author named Richard English wrote a series of stories about the world of Big Band music for Collier’s Magazine, and one of them, published in October of 1939, was called “Ding Dong Gives”…about a fictional clarinetist named Ding Dong Williams and his efforts to make a movie. These were published in book form in 1941 as “Strictly Ding-Dong and Other Swing Stories.”

148.6  The first of a projected series of movie musicals came out in 1946, “Ding Dong Williams”…alas, the first and also last…and the studio…well, it was RKO. Meaning what? Who knows? Joe had sold off his Tinseltown holdings by 1931…I’m just passing this along. But more intriguing is this page from a Palm Beach guest book, no date given, part of a recent exhibit on the history of that famed oceanside resort.

3 palm beach

148.7  Joe bought a home in Palm Beach in 1933…it would eventually become the Winter White House in the Camelot years, and above we see both Rose Kennedy and Jack, who, according to the compiler of the exhibit, signed in somewhat whimsically as “Ding Dong” “London” Jack Kennedy.  Or did he? Wasn’t there an actual Ding Dong Jack Kennedy in London at some point? And I know signatures can change over time…this could have been Jack as a very young man…but still, when you compare…I dunno…

4 real thing

148.8  Thank You, Mr. President…Next, this is from a Feb. 2 1961 news conference…

5 news conf148.9  The fact that the Auchinclosses are on Jackie’s side, not Jack’s, calls “second cousin,” step- or otherwise, into question. Fortunately, we know who asked the question…see Comments below. And what Ed Koterba said was “step-second-cousin-in-law”…the “-in-law” is missing from the transcript, likely lost in the laughter. Can we confirm this?

148.10  Indeed we can…and as you can see in Chart 516, this crowd was big on family surnames as middle names, for both boys and girls. Jackie’s mother Janet Lee got Norton from her paternal grandmother…Janet’s mother’s maiden name was Merritt. Both Jackie and her sister Caroline, whom we would come to know as Princess Lee Radziwiłł, had the middle name Lee. Now Janet divorced the hard-drinking, womanizing “Black Jack” when Jackie was 11 years old, and married Hugh D. Auchincloss Jr., resulting eventually in various step-siblings and half-siblings.

148.11  But for our purposes, Jackie’s step-father’s 1st cousin would be her step-1st cousin once removed, and his son, her step-2nd cousin…making Bayard Jack’s step-2nd cousin-in-law…a very slim connection for sure, but the reporter did get it right, which at least shows that in 1961 it wasn’t a completely lost art.

148.12  Who’s Your Grandmama?…You’d better believe this one’s on my to-do list…why does Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy have 2 different paternal grandmothers? Now most, but unfortunately not all, sources say that her father Honey Fitz’ mother was one Rosanna Cox. Why then does Rose in her autobiography (written by whom?) “Times to Remember” say her paternal grandfather Thomas Fitzgerald married Rose Mary Murray? A few other authors also say Murray, but the consensus is Cox…and in at least one instance, they confirm it is Cox, and relegate Murray to “older sources,” presumably since proven erroneous. But erroneous how…and why?

148.13  And in case you’re wondering, the Fitzgerald Family Bible has Thomas marrying “Rosy Fitzgerald”, with “Rosana”  [sic] written over in a different hand…where her death is recorded, she is “Mother Rosanna.” And this from the net gives it both ways on the same page, just for good measure…

6 grandmama

148.14  Here Comes the Bogey-Man!!…Or the bogey-relatives. It’s a guilty pleasure, I know, but I love freaking out the younger generations, many of whom have a super-sensitive aversion to the i-word…or what they perceive as such. 2nd cousins getting hitched? OMG, run for the hills! But it used to be no big deal, in families high born and low…and even JFK’s brother-in-law’s folks were 2nd cousins. True story…and a rare case of a bride and groom with the same surname.

chart 517

148.15  Family Trifecta…At the polls, the Lodges fell 3 times to the Kennedys. Jack earned his Senate seat by defeating the incumbent Henry Cabot Lodge in 1952. 8 years later, Jack headed the Democratic presidential ticket that narrowly beat the Republicans, Richard Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge. Then in 1962, in the race to fill Jack’s Senate seat, it was younger brother Ted Kennedy over Henry Cabot Lodge’s son George Cabot Lodge.

148.16  Still and all, we shouldn’t forget that this same seat was held for 29 years by Henry Cabot Lodge’s grandfather, also named Henry Cabot Lodge…and he won his 5th term in 1916 by defeating JFK’s grandfather John Francis “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald. And yes, the original Henry Cabot Lodge’s mother was a Cabot, hence the Cabot. But our question today is of a more nitpicky nature: what exactly was the younger Henry Cabot Lodge…was he considered a II or a Jr. ?

chart 518

148.17  Because checking Chart 518, the younger HCL was not the son but the grandson of the elder HCL. Now the usual custom is to reserve “Junior” for a son…what’s more, a son with the exact same names as his father…first, middle, and last. But families can do what they like…as a child Bush 43 was called Junior even tho his father Bush 41 had an “extra” middle name. Here, the press used both Jr. and II at the whim of the editor…but what was the preference of the man himself? Can’t get more definitive than a signature, I’d say…and the winner is…

7 sig

148.18  BTW, you may have noticed that in Chart 518 I included both of his sons…and for the record, the younger George Cabot Lodge is always referred to as “II,” in this case adhering to the unwritten rule, since the older GCL was his grandfather, not his father. I included their wives…and there’s a reason for that…in today’s Wicked Ballsy…next week, we got mail.

148.19   P.S. Related How Again? is a spinoff of another of my blogs, Deep Fried Hoodsie Cups. That one started as a daily blog for North Shore Baby Boomers…that’s the area of Massachusetts north of Boston. After a while, it expanded to cover Baby Boomer topics in general, became weekly, and still exists here, appearing whenever I have something to write about. I called the bonus bit at the end Wicked Ballsy because that’s what we used to say to describe something very cool. “Wicked” is still current slang in the region…”ballsy” not so much, but there you go…

wicked ballsy

8 cath lties

Look at the puss on that nudnik…is he gorgeous or what? I did a little poking around, and turns out “Mel Cooley” there was a pretty prominent journalist in Florida back in the day…even described as “award-winning.” I daresay he didn’t win any awards for this piece, appearing the first week in October, in anticipation of the 1960 election. I can’t believe any fair-minded reader would agree that having a son with a Catholic wife qualifies as “Catholic ties,” at least as it applies to being qualified to serve as Vice President…and sure enough, the rest of the article touches on other topics, never explaining precisely why his daughter-in-law’s religion has any bearing on anything.

But here’s the interesting thing: back several years ago when I was first researching the Kennedys, I made this note…one that sadly I have not been able to confirm or even trace back to its original source: One of Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.’s sons married the cousin of one of JFK’s sisters’ husbands. So that would be either Eunice’s Sargent Shriver, Pat’s Peter Lawford, or Jean’s Stephen Edward Smith. Brick wall so far…a wild guess would be the Shrivers, since they’re German…Ziegler?…Kunhardt?

9 bunnyThe only scraps I’ve got…Shriver was from Maryland, Smith born and raised in Brooklyn, Lawford of course from the UK…and Elenita Ziegler was originally from Utica, Nancy Kunhardt from New Jersey…also, her mother Dorothy was a famous children’s author…Pat the Bunny…so there’s more rainy day fun for lovable old me. But…wait for it…come to find out, Peter Lawford’s mother was named Mary Sommerville Bunny…seriously…you can’t make this stuff up…


Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved