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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: May ::
Representing Incest in Genealogy
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1142  Friday, 28 May 2004

From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Thursday, 27 May 2004 07:32:53 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 15.1128 Representing Incest in Genealogy
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1128 Representing Incest in Genealogy

Gabriel Egan writes, "Emboldened by past success in asking SHAKSPERians
questions that were hard to get quick answers to elsewhere, I wonder if
anyone can tell me how incest gets represented in the family trees that
genealogists draw.  I've trawled through a few of the easily available
guides to making family trees, and although illegitimacy is
acknowledged, incest isn't. I may have been looking at the wrong guides,
of course. It seems to me that where horizontal lines represent mates
and vertical lines represent offspring from mating, there's bound to be
a problem representing offspring who subsequently become mates with one
of their parents."

Genealogy is one of my interests, having done work back several hundred
years on family records, so I can tell you that in America back several
generations there were less codified marriage restrictions than now.

Particularly in rural areas of America, where there were limited numbers
of families, and there was desire for families to hold lands in common
in families, there was marriage among cousins that would be frowned upon
today.  In other words, the question you raise has no easy answer.
Professional genealogists tend to let the chips fall where they may, and
often there are bloodlines which cross what you call *incest* lines.  If
records indicate, either by direct evidence, or by conclusion from
facts, then ancestral lines will so indicate the correct mating partners
and their descendants.  Obviously, some descendants and commentators on
more famous families will deny certain conclusions and direct evidence
even if it speaks the Truth.  In America one might consult back issues
of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, headquartered in
Washington, DC.  The society's website is: http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

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