#155 Adventures in Cousinland: Quills Down

155.1  When I first surveyed this list of “coupled cousins” from Uncle Wiki…the inspiration for the Adventures in Cousinland mini-series…I noticed 5 gentlemen designated as Signers of the Declaration of Independence. I thought 5 seemed a low number, given the 56 signatories. And in researching those 5, wouldn’t you know…I found 4 more.


155.2   3 of them were on the list, just not as Signers…a pair were more famous as POTUS’s, and one was the great grandfather of one…so let’s have a whack at ’em…

155.3 …but before I do that, a couple of thoughts about the list itself. First, I am only considering the first part of it, labeled “Commoners”…yeah, like you and me…peasants. The other parts on Royalty and Aristocracy are another thing entirely. They’re primarily European, and these families are ridiculously tangled. The cousin relationships they give are just the tip of the iceberg. For example, they correctly give Elizabeth II and Philip as 3rd cousins and 2nd cousins once removed…I found 3 more relationships further back, and that certainly can’t be the end of it!

155.4  Second…with the “commoners,” they don’t go much deeper than 2nd cousins…75 couples are listed, among them only 3 are said to be 3rd cousins, and one, the Roosevelts, are 5th cousins once removed. Many of these are American “Founding Families,” and these clans are also copiously intertwined. As an example, they gave Charles Carroll of Carrollton as marrying his 2nd cousin…this turned out not to be the case, altho I found no fewer than 5 ways he and his wife were related…here. What happened was, I noticed many “duplicate” surnames in the various pedigrees, and decided to go for it. Among the other couples listed, there are undoubtedly more distant relationships in addition to the ones given…my mission is just to check Uncle Wiki’s accuracy…well, try to stick with that, anyway.

155.5  And third…so far, Uncle Wiki is proving to be surprisingly accurate. Still, I have no intention of trying to correct those that are wrong. Just try it yourself…the gatekeepers will change it right back…and maybe accuse you of “original research” to boot. So I say screw ’em, with all due respect. (I might humbly add that if you peruse the “Talk” page associated with the Coupled Cousins list, the arguing is all about what should be included, not the accuracy of what finally makes the cut. Sheesh.)

155.6  That off my chest…John Adams, POTUS #2, was a Signer. They say he married his 3rd cousin…and he did. We covered this way back in Related How Again #11 and I have used the chart I used then, in a simplified version…which is why all the charts this time will have those fancier boxes…

chart 538

155.7  While I’m thinking of it…in those days they would jokingly call John and Samuel Adams “the Adams Brothers”…they weren’t…but if you wondered what they were, check Related How Again #10.

155.8  Next, another gent you’ve heard of…Thomas Jefferson, who also married his 3rd cousin. Check!

chart 539

155.9  Benjamin Harrison signed? No, not that one (POTUS #23)…but that one’s great grandfather, the father of William Henry Harrison (POTUS #9). And this BH was the 5th in a row named BH. I first found him to be Elizabeth Bassett’s 3rd cousin thru the Churchills…but Uncle Wiki said 2nd cousin…could that be true too?…it was, thru the Burwells.

chart 540

155.10  Finally, a Signer not on the list at all, Francis Lightfoot Lee of Virginia. We looked at him in our series on middle names back in Related How Again? #115…and as I noted…


…the main FLL wikipage says he married his 2nd cousin once removed. As you can see, I didn’t believe it, but…in the fullness of time, we do get around to checking it…and he surely did…no boo-boo this time. In Chart 541 I have included a third Corbin sister, as it was her husband…and not a surname from a direct ancestor…that was the source of his middle name “Lightfoot.”

chart 541

155.11  One other thing…last week I introduced a handy chart to help ferret out married cousins, based on siblings in the parents’, grandparents’, and great grandparents’ generation. It works for removed cousins as well, only on different levels…P for parent, GP for grandparent, GGP for great grandparent…as outlined in Chart 542

chart 542

Next week, Adventures in Cousinland takes a break for a very special Report from the New Rochelle Genealogical Society…I trust you won’t find it “dopey-stupid”…and don’t forget the Potato Poopies…


Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved


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