#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


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