Monday, November 25, 2013

My Grandma Is My Aunt, And So Is My Other Grandma

Great Grandma Mary Wiggins Lash

      I'm still investigating the supposed cad Jeremiah Garner who left his wife Clarinda Wood and high tailed it to Canada where he remarried, maybe twice--we'll get to that in the next blog. Looking through online sources and my old research, I saw Clarinda had a sister named Anna.  Here is where it gets interesting...Clarinda is a 3rd great grandmother on the Lash side of my family. The line goes from Clarinda Wood/Garner to her daughter Aurilla, to Aurilla's daughter Mary Wiggins who married Irving Lash.  Since Anna is Clarinda's sister, that makes Anna my 4th great aunt.  But wait!

     Aunt Anna married Benjamin Brown and had a daughter named Lydia.  Lydia Brown married Morgan Lash and had a son named Irving Lash, who as we know, married Mary Wiggins.  That makes Anna my 3rd great grandmother as well as my 4th great aunt.  And since Grandma Clarinda is her sister, Clarinda is also my 4th great aunt.  Are you still with me?  That means my great grandparents Irving and Mary were 2nd cousins!

     I found this slightly unsettling, (although it might explain alot).  I wondered how common this sort of thing was back around 1895 when they married?  It appears it was no big deal back then, people even married their first cousins occasionally, Queen Victoria and Charles Darwin being two famous examples. Until after the Civil War it was perfectly legal in the US to marry your first cousin, and  even today 26 states still allow them to marry.  Second cousins are considered far enough apart that they can marry in any state.  Catholics however are a little wary of the whole deal, it wasn't until 1983 the Church lifted it's ban on second cousins marrying.  Mayor Rudy Guiliani  was actually granted an annulment of his first marriage when he discovered his wife was a second cousin. Call me a skeptic, but I don't believe that is why he divorced her.

     This is something to keep in mind before assuming that your ancestors couldn't have married because they were cousins.  I have Bridget Hogan whose mother was Catherine O'Dwyer marrying Andrew Ryan, son of Alice O'Dwyer.  I dismissed the possibility they were first cousins, but now I'm not sure.  Of course if you throw the Catholic ban on cousin marriages into the mix, it seems they probably weren't cousins since they married in a Catholic Church.  This may be my next project after I get the dirt on Jeremiah.

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