#201: Stuffstockings

201.1  I’ve been a collector of verb-nouns after stumbling years ago upon this quote from James Thurber: “Why should a shattermyth have to be a crumplehope and a dampenglee?”  Why indeed. We don’t have that many of this type of word in English, but we have some: scarecrow, tattletale, slingshot, rotgut, wardrobe, killjoy, sawbones, pickpocket, spoilsport, spitfire, breakfast, skinflint, and worrywart…instead of crow scarer, tale tattler, shot slinger, gut rotter, robe warder, joy killer, bone sawer, pocket picker, sport spoiler, fire spitter, fast breaker, flint skinner and wart worrier….and that’s worry in the older sense of bothering or irritating…this is the dog that worried the cat, remember?

201.2  French has a lot more of these verb-nouns…2 of the more titillating being cache-sexe and pisse-vinaigre…look them up! Otherwise we’d have blowsnow, washdish, sitbaby, killpain, brokestock, beatbrow, stopgob, tendgoal, hopclod, setpace, countbean, holdplace, stormbarn, liftshop, warmbench, breakwind, browseweb, and yes, stuffstocking.

chart 723

201.3  Sooooo…let’s see what Santa has crammed down in there…first is a chart I found in my Futures File. Wasn’t sure what it was supposed to be for at first…then it occurred to me…except I had gone too far…don’t need double half-first cousins…love you guys, but not in this case, sorry!

chart 724

201.4  That’s better…this is a chart to counter the oft made claim that a “first cousin” is somebody with whom you share one grandparent. As you can see, you do indeed share grandparent G with your first cousin…but you also share one grandparent with your brother, your half-brother, and your half-first cousin….coefficients of relationship ranging from ½ to 1/16. The better definition of first cousin is 2 people who have siblings for parents. Now obviously, this does not mean the siblings married each other…but even if they did, their offspring would still be first cousins, along with being siblings…which we don’t see that much…which is a mercy, anyway.

201.5  Next, perhaps you miss my answers to questions posed at this website wiseGeek Cousins. I give everyone an answer there…and an answer here, with diagram, which I think makes it a world clearer. Can’t link to this site over there so they probably never see “their” chart, but a few very inquisitive and enterprising ones just might…and these are good examples of the kind of real-life questions people have about kinship and relations.

201.6  There just that the steady stream of questions has dried up…there was one recently, and the one before that win in April of this year…in which Harriet asks…

inset 1

201.7  First thing is to correct where she says: “So new hubby has a marriage relation to old hubby.”  Actually, Old and New are blood relatives, specifically second cousins once removed, as per Chart 725A. I suppose Harriet can then call Old her second-cousin-once-removed-in-law, but I wouldn’t, and I would beg her not to as well, altho she’s perfectly free to.

chart 725

201.8  Otherwise, she had it narrowed down pretty well, just couldn’t pull the trigger. The fact that an ancestor is a great grand to Old and a grand to New tells us we’re dealing with some relationship that’s once removed, since there’s a difference of one generation. Question is, did she get the number of the cousin right…and Chart 725B confirms that she did. Thus we can say that her old children and new children are third cousins once removed…at the very least.

201.9  Because half-siblings have one parent they share, and one they don’t. Normally those 2 unshared parents are not related to each other, but sometimes they are, as in this case. The old and new children are thus half-siblings (1/4) and 3rd cousins once removed (1/256)…total degree of relationship 25.4%, compared to 25% for half-siblings only. Not a big difference, but a difference nonetheless…genealogists call them “enhanced half-siblings.

201.10  I said that Old and New are 2C 1R…to round out the happy new blend, new children and old husband are 3C…and old children and new husband are 2C 2R…all of it owing to the fact that New is second cousin to Old’s father.

201.11  The more recent question is less tangled but no less worthy of attention. What it boils down to is how you define “related.”

chart 726

201.12  I am assuming that the questioner and best friend are females. The word “related” I take to be short for “related by blood”…to be related to Joe, you and Joe must have a common ancestor…at least one, could be more. The other main type of relationship is “by marriage”…somebody in your family marries somebody in Joe’s family. There are 2 special categories…steps and in-law…and I limit these to your immediate family, that is parents/children/siblings. Anything beyond that, I would just say “related by marriage” and spell it out specifically if somebody is interested.

201.13  So here, the answer is: you are your friend’s sister-in-law’s niece…looked at the other way, your friend is your aunt’s sister-in-law. This is certainly a “connection”…personally I wouldn’t call it a “relation,” but you can if you wish…it’s a free country.

201.14  Moving right along…the British Royal Family. Before getting into genealogy, I never thought about them much…now, can’t get enough. At the present time, the line of succession to the British Throne is straightforward enough…Uncle Wiki’s list, with a little tidying up, works for me…

inset 2

201.15  As you can see, when Elizabeth II dies, Prince Charles (1)  becomes King…when he goes, it’s his son Prince William (2), and when he kicks off, his son Prince George (3), Charles’ grandson. Anybody who is born in the future is listed under their parent, and the rank is adjusted accordingly. And if somebody dies, as the Queen’s younger sister Princess Margaret did in 2002, nobody below them loses their place…the numbers are simply moved up one.

201.16  Now there was recently a very important change…the abolition of primogeniture…which meant sons were jumped ahead of their sisters in line. This starts with Prince William and is not retroactive. If it were retroactive, then Elizabeth and Philip’s second child, Princess Anne, would jump ahead of her younger brothers Princes Andrew and Edward…she’d go from 11th to 5th, taking her children and grandchildren with her. But it isn’t so she won’t.

201.17  As things stand, Anne is considered the “fourth” child…and the chances of her or any of her offspring ascending to the throne are remote. Such was not the case when Victoria became Queen on June 20, 1837.

inset 2.5

201.18  For my own reference, I took Uncle Wiki’s list of George III’s first 4 children and fleshed it out, above…let me recast it in the form of the current list.

inset 3

201.19  Notice that when Victoria was born in 1819, her grandfather George III was still King…and it was hardly thought credible that the offspring of the 4th son would ascend to the throne, since Victoria’s father and his 3 older brothers were still alive. But die they would, 2 after becoming King, 2 before. In fact, not only was Victoria the heir when 3rd son William IV died in 1837, she had been the heir since 1830 when first son George IV died. The only question was, would William IV live past Victoria’s 18th birthday…if not, she would have needed a Regent. But he did…by a mere 27 days.

201.20  Recall the difference between heir apparent and heir presumptive. An heir apparent is first in line, and cannot be displaced…the only way they will not become monarch is if they die before the current monarch does. An heir presumptive is first in line, but can be bumped if someone closer is born. In 1930, 11-year-old Victoria was the heir presumptive…King William IV and Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen (yes, the Australian city is named after her) had no living children…any subsequent child would have become the heir apparent and moved Victoria down the list. But at that point the Queen was 38 years old, and given her difficulty in bearing children in the past, an heir apparent was considered unlikely. Endlessly fascinating, sez me…and whose blog is it again?

wicked ballsy


Above are the most common names of the fingers, along with some alternates…the ancient Romans called the 4th finger digitus medicinalis…they got that from the Greeks…nobody today knows what it meant. Then you have the kiddie rhymes…


On the left is the way I learned it…but there’s another way, on the right…starting on the other side, with the pinky. And before you jump to the conclusion that lame one got renamed lean one out of sensitivity to the crippled…I seriously doubt it. I trace it back at least a century and it’s more likely just a shift in pronunciation…after all, we still have lamebrain, right? And calling the index finger the licking finger also goes back to antiquity…thus the inspiration for the title of today’s blog…and full circle.


Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved



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