Steve Hayes (
Wed, 18 Jan 1995 11:56:59 GMT

In article <3fen5o$> (Chris Colby) writes:

>: Yes, he is right. I am an avid geneologist. THe further back I go the more
>: cousins and other relatives I find married to each other. That is true
>: of most family lines. It wasn't so much a taboo generations ago, in fact
>: it was encouraged in many families and cultures (though sibling marriage
>: has been generally taboo through cultures and time). So, in other words,
>: those lines converge.
>Yes, but even in populations that preferentially outbreed, the lines
>intertwine. This is especially true of small populations (either
>geographically or socially isolated). Even if you go out of your
>way not to mate with a relative, but you live in what has been a
>small population for many generations, your mate will have _some_
>amount of relatedness to you.

The number of avid genealogists is quite small, and in many societies people
have no idea who they are related to beyond their great grandparents and
their descendants. Even those societies that do keep track of ancestry
usually keep track of one line only - direct patrilineal or matrilineal
descent. So there are many fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh cousins who
intermarry, and have no idea at all that they are related. Perhaps the
increasing popularity of genealogy will make it possible for people to
calculate an average of marriages to cousins at each generation.

Steve Hayes, Editorial Department, University of South Africa
P.O. Box 392, Pretoria, 0001 South Africa
Internet: Fidonet: 5:7106/20.1