president married his fifth cousin, once removed, Eleanor Roosevelt.The two met as children but become close at a party at the White House hosted by the president at the time, and shared relative, Teddy Roosevelt. The author of the eerie “The Island of Dr Moreau”—a science fiction novel about a doctor who creates human-like beings out of animals—did some dangerous mixing of genes in his own life and married his first cousin, Isabel Mary Wells.Or, put another way, your great-grandparents were siblings. Assuming you’re between twenty and thirty years old, the common ancestor between you and your date was born sometime after the Civil War but before the turn of the 20th century. According to this article, you might have more genetic material in common with people whom you form relationships than those you are born into: After analyzing almost 1.5 million markers of gene variations, the researchers found that pairs of friends had the same level of genetic relation as people did with a fourth cousin, or a great-great-great grandfather, which translates to about 1 percent of the human genome.Or, to make it blunt, you and your date have a great-great-grandparent in common. And while time itself does not dilute the gene-pool, basic mating does. So all those best-friends-turned-lovers relationships just got weird. If you and a close relative had both decided not to have children, society would not smile on your union just because it won’t produce an X-child.In modern western society, marrying your cousin is not well accepted, particularly in the United States.Through a combination of old prejudices and present-day conventional wisdom about inherited birth defects, first cousin marriage is seen by many as a little too close for comfort, as well as a bad idea if you want children.However, first cousin marriage is far more common, and far less dangerous, than many of us have been led to believe, as you’ll soon see.
Think ’s episode “The Head and The Hair.” You know, the episode where Liz is dating the incredibly hot, successful TV personality, but they have to immediately break up upon finding out that Liz’s Great-Aunt Dolly is The Hair’s Grandmother’s Cousin?
Banning Cousin Marriages While there have been instances of the banning of marriage between cousins at various points through history, such as the Roman Catholics banning the practice for a time starting with the Council of Agde in 506 AD, for the most part marriage among cousins has been popular as long as people have been getting married.
In fact, it is estimated that as many as 80% of the marriages in human history have been between first or second cousins.
The famous outlaw Jesse James broke more laws than we know (well, at least it would have been illegal today)—James married his first cousin, Zerelda Mimms, with whom he had two children. Einstein held a lot of knowledge, but no knowledge of the dangers of procreating with a close relative.
Einstein married Elsa Lowenthal (she had her last name from a previous marriage) who was Einstein’s first cousin on his mother’s side and second cousin on his father’s side.