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Full or Half Cousins?
Posted by: Bill Smith (ID *****7484) Date: May 10, 2003 at 01:34:29
  of 4315

I have a fairly unusual genealogical situation. The names have been changed to make it simpler (and protect the innocent).

My 5X great grandfather, John Brown, was married to 1) Jean Jones. They had several children, including my ancestor Charles Brown. Jean Jones died, and John then married 2) Lucinda Greene Allen, who was a widow, and brought with her a daughter from her first marriage, to a George Allen. The daughter's name was Mary Allen.

John Brown and Lucinda then had children together. Charles and Mary, stepsiblings, married and had 10 children, including my ancestor Sarah Brown.

Now, my question is: Should the grandchildren of John and Lucinda be considered full cousins to the children of Charles and Mary? The cousins have DNA of the same grandparents, but my genealogy program (Legacy) shows them as half-cousins, with this pattern continuing down to present generations. My direct (female) mitochondrial DNA line is to Lucinda Greene Allen, my 5th g grandmother, through her first marriage, but I am defined only as a "half-cousin" (various times removed) to the descendants of the Lucinda and John marriage - and full cousin (various times removed) to the descendants of John and Lucinda's marriages to their respective first spouses, Jones and Allen (which is correct). I am certain that I entered the data accuratly, and linked the people correctly in the database.

If this isnít enough, Charles and Mary had several cousin relationships themselves due to their mutual New England ancestral ties. Those relationships show up correctly, though, in the relationship calculator feature of Legacy.

I guess it's just a question of opinion, or philosophy. Are all the genealogy programs set to default to half-cousin definitions in cases like this, and can this be defeated and customized?

The arguement for the "half-cousin" definition would stand, since there are genetic differences, due to the first spouses in the equation, but it seems that the grandchildren of John and Lucinda, and the children of Charles and Mary have virtually the same genetic ties as full cousins.

I am relatively new to genealogy, and am not an advanced user of Legacy, or any other programs. I am still very happy with Legacy. These slight compromises are easy to live with.

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