Remember that old commercial for Certs? Two. Two. Two mints in one. (You youngsters can watch it here.) Well, that’s sort of what happened to Dutch (Harold Seba Taylor, Sr) when it came to cousins. It went something like this…
Once upon a time, there was a man who fell in love with a girl. And the girl had a brother. And the man had a sister. So, after many years of wedded bliss, the girl encouraged her brother to meet her husband’s sister. So he did. And they fell in love. And got married. And everyone lived happily ever after. And had lots of children. Who were all… Double Cousins! Two. Two. Two cousins in one.
Double cousins are the genealogical term for the offspring from sibling sets that marry. In Dutch’s case, these sets were Mary E. Taylor (his aunt) and Robert Taylor (his father) marrying Lorenzo Patterson (his uncle) and Nettie Patterson (his mother), respectively.
Two things make double cousins different from regular cousins. The first: they share both sets of grandparents unlike most of us that have only one set of grandparents in common with any particular cousin. Secondly, they are much closer genetically than normal first cousins are, sharing 25% of their genes (like a grandparent/grandchild or a half-sibling) rather than the standard 12.5% regular cousins share.
Dutch had other cousins that weren’t double cousins. Maternally, all of his mother’s siblings’ children (except those belonging to her brother Lorenzo) were just regular cousins. Ditto for his father’s siblings’ children (except those of his sister Mary). Seventeen cousins on the Taylor side. Thirty-two on the Patterson side, although all but eight of those lived in Iowa, so Dutch probably never met them (the eight that he met belonged to his Uncle Benny and they lived in Jennings where Dutch grew up).
And twelve double cousins—his Uncle Lorenzo’s children, all of whom also lived in the tiny burg of Jennings.
(In case you’re counting, that’s a total of twenty Patterson cousins living in Jennings.)
Turns out, double cousins aren’t that unusual for family trees. In fact, there are some double cousins in the Weddle branch of my family, when my great-grandmother (Binnie) Albinia’s brothers William and Frank Marsh married the Chatt sisters, Mattie and Maude.
And those are just the ones I’ve discovered so far…
Coming in July…
Since I teased the Weddle cousins with this post, I promise more about the Marsh family next month. Stay tuned!