Tag Archives: marry

Go ahead, marry your cousin—it’s not that bad for your future kids

This story has been updated. It was originally published on March 5, 2018.

Yaniv Erlich has a soft spot for genealogy. A data scientist at Columbia University and the chief science of officer of the DNA test company MyHeritage, he describes many things in the context of family. Columbia and MyHeritage are “mom and dad” and he’s “got to make both happy.” And his 2018 study on a 13 million-member family tree is best measured in terms of his child’s development. “My son was born when I started the study,” Ehrlich says of the seven-year project. “Now, he is in first grade.”

The paper, published in the journal Science, looks at genetic data from millions of online genealogy profiles. Among other things, the researchers were able to determine at what point in history marrying cousins went out of vogue, and the average degree of relation between married couples today. And hey, since we’re on the subject: Is it wrong to marry your cousin (for a survival perspective)?

[Related: DNA tests can’t tell you your race]

While it’s taboo today, cousins used to get hitched all the time. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor, was his fifth cousin once removed; she didn’t even have to change her name. And scientific geniuses like Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin married their cousins, too. For much of human history, these unions weren’t considered bad or gross. Oftentimes, there weren’t many better options.

From 1650 to 1850, a given person was, on average, fourth cousins with their spouse, according to Erlich’s data. “Many people may have married their first cousin and many people married someone not at all related to them,” he says. But within a century, that had changed. By 1950, married couples were, on average, more like seventh cousins, according to Erlich.

One common sense explanation for this shift is that when transportation methods improved, bachelors and bachelorettes had access to potential partners they had once been denied by geography. This makes sense, given that before 1950, most people stayed in place and ended up marrying someone who lived with in a six-mile radius of where they were born.

Other factors could be at play, however. Erlich says that, according to his data, many continued to marry their cousins even after the Industrial Revolution dramatically improved mobility. While proximity may be one key to romance, it seems consolidating money or power played an important part in family marriages, too. Erlich believes it was changing social norms—and the advent of this cousin marriage taboo—that finally pushed people to look beyond their village and their family. Other factors, including the increasing autonomy of women and shrinking family sizes (which left fewer cousins to marry) could also have been involved.

Whatever the underlying cause, by the end of the Civil War, many states moved to outlaw cousin marriages. Today, 24 states ban marriage between first cousins, while 20 states allow it. The others allow first cousins to couple up, but only under certain circumstances. (“Certain circumstances” include: only if both are over 50, or 55, or 65, depending on the state; only if one or both are permanently infertile; and only if the couple has received genetic counseling.) And, of course, even in states where it is legal, the practice is taboo.

A US map marked by red and blue for first-cousin-marriage legality
Where is it legal to marry your first cousin? Dark blue marks states, like California, where first-cousin marriage is legal. Light blue, like Maine, represents states where cousin marriage is legal with some requirements or exceptions. Light red, like Illinois, is banned with exceptions. Dark red, like Washington state, is a total ban on first-cousin marriage. And blood red, like Texas, means marrying your cousin is a criminal offense. Graphic: Wikimedia Commons

First cousins share 12.5 percent of their DNA. (Siblings, as well as parents and kids, share about 50 percent.) Any child that results from a first cousin union is, therefore, going to have a pretty substantial portion of similar-looking genes. And that can pose a problem.

In biology, genetic diversity is all the rage. If something goes wrong with the genetic material provided to you by your mom, you’re more likely to shake it off if your dad’s genetic material is very different. If dad’s left you hanging when it comes to susceptibility to a certain disease, a mom from a radically different gene pool could confer the protection you require. If mom and dad are genetically similar, however, both versions of a gene are likely to shut down at the same time. It’s estimated that 4 to 7 percent of children born from first-cousin marriages have birth defects, compared to 3 to 4 percent for children born from distantly related marriages.

That’s not nothing, but it’s also not the end of the world—or the family tree. The real issue would arise if the next generation of kids also married their first cousins. Their offspring will have even more DNA in common—and an even greater chance for birth defects.

There are plenty of historical examples of this. Charles II, the last Hapsburg king, had so many intermarried ancestors that his genes seemed more like the product of a union between siblings than the reality of uncle marrying niece. But it’s a contemporary problem, too. In nations with small populations like Iceland, which has just 330,000 people concentrated mostly in the capital city of Reykjavík, many people worry they’ll accidentally marry a close relative. Instead of more traditional dating apps like Tinder, which matches potential partners based on physical attraction, locals use Íslendinga-App, which stops matches between people who have too much genetic material in common.

[Related: This scientist thought he’d found the source of all sexual energy]

Ultimately, marrying your first cousin carries some risk. But the odds of healthy offspring dramatically improve with each new distance of relation. Second cousins share only 6.25 percent of their genes and third cousins share just over 3 percent. Seventh cousins—the average distance between modern American spouses—have no meaningful genetic relation at all.

Today, you’d be hard pressed to find an advocate of cousin marriages, and there are of course good reasons for that. But looking at Erlich’s family tree, it’s not an “ew” factor one feels, but an “aw” factor. The genetic data, branching off this way and that, reveals just how closely related we all already are. “[All] of us are something like 10th to 12th cousins of each other,” Erlich says softly. “When you think about wars and violence all over the world, it’s all within the family.”

Author: empire
Read more here >>> Science – Popular Science

Britney Spears’ claims she’s not allowed to get pregnant or marry dismissed by conservator

However, just hours after her request to have her dad removed from her conservatorship was rejected, her conservator, Jodi Montgomery, who has been in control of the conservatorship since 2019, has spoken out.

A statement from Montgomery’s lawyer, Lauriann Wright, on behalf of Montgomery read: “As to Britney’s right to marry, that is unaffected by the conservatorship under Probate Code §1900. As to family planning, that is also unaffected by the conservatorship.

“If Britney needs any assistance with either, Ms. Montgomery has and will be there to provide any assistance needed to Britney.”

It went on to add: “Britney’s choice to marry and to start a family have never been impacted by the conservatorship while Ms. Montgomery has been conservator of the person.”

Author: Daniel Bird
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Celebrity News

Kym Marsh ENGAGED: Ex Corrie star to marry Scott Ratcliff after birthday proposal

Kym Marsh, 44, said she is “over the moon” after the 32-year-old Army Major asked her to marry him. She told OK! Magazine: “I can’t believe it. It’s been the best birthday surprise ever. I can’t stop smiling.” The couple have been dating since 2018 after being introduced by mutual friend Antony Cotton.

The ex Coronation Street star teased fans with “exciting news” on her Instagram page ahead of her announcement this evening.

She could be seen beaming for the camera as he husband-to-be took over camera duties.

In view of her 478,000 followers, she commented: “Some really exciting news to tell you, swipe up!”

The actress previously said he believes the pair were “made for each other”.

READ MORE: Catherine Zeta-Jones sparks frenzy with BAFTAs appearance

The Morning Live presenter has three children; David, 26, Emily, 24, and 10-year-old Polly.

Kym sadly lost her fourth child Archie, who she shared with Jamie, in 2009.

The actress became a grandmother for the first time back in 2019 after her daughter Emily gave birth.

At the time, Kym shared a picture of the newborn’s hand touching hers.

She captioned the post: “Last night was a night I will never forget. I became a “Loli” for the first time!!!

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Celebrity News Feed

Dolly Parton anniversary: When did Dolly marry Carl Dean?

Given they married in 1966, May 29, 2021 marks their 55th wedding anniversary, and no doubt Dolly and Carl will be celebrating.

However, according to Dolly, Carl has struggled with his health over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, which could hamper their celebrations.

Speaking to Good Housekeeping, Dolly revealed what she has been doing in lockdown, and why her husband has kept her at home.

She said: “My husband, Carl, has not been in great health for a while, so I’ve been spending a lot of time at home anyway.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

Did Bob Dylan marry Joan Baez? Inside their relationship

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez would seem to be a match made in heaven. Both folk musicians with a keen eye on the political, it was a surprise their relationship did not last as long as one might have thought. But did Bob and Joan ever get married during their 1960s romance?

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez did not marry but were believed to have been in a relationship for some time.

The pair met in 1961 and collaborated for years before their relationship had blossomed into romance over the following years.

In Joan Baez How Sweet the Sound, he spoke of how he felt when he first heard her sing.

Bob said: “She had a very unusual way of playing the guitar, I never heard anybody do it like Joany did.

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Joan felt similarly about Bob, saying he brought something to her which had been ‘missing’ for a long time.She said: “When Dylan and his music entered my life, maybe I didn’t know I’d been looking for music, but I was certainly aware that something was missing, particularly when I heard what it was.

“I thought, ‘Oh my god, this is the link between me and the world and music and politics and all of it.’

“I heard that music and that made it clear that was the direction to go.”

However, Joan admitted she felt a ‘mothering’ instinct for Bob initially, rather than a romantic one, and was slightly starstruck by the ‘legend’ he had become, despite him being only young in his career.She added: “Dylan and I… he was taken with me and my music as I was with his.

“I was crazy about him. We were an item and we were having wonderful fun.”

However, it did not last long, and by Bob’s UK tour in 1965, however, it is said to have fizzled out somewhat, though the pair still collaborated for years after.

Bob said: “I always liked singing and playing with her, I thought our voices blended really well.“We could sing just about anything and it would make sense, to me it always sounded good and it might have sounded good to her too.

“…She asked me if I wanted to play some shows with her, just like that.

“I was just trying to deal with the madness which had become my career and unfortunately she got swept along and I felt very bad about it. I was sorry to see that relationship end.”

Bob rarely speaks about their relationship, making this apology a surprising admission from him.However, Joan admitted she may have also added to their break up, saying: “I was trying to shove him into a mould.”

One of the songs Bob mentioned particularly enjoying was Diamonds and Rust, which he said ‘still impresses me’ even years later.

One of the lyrics to the song is believed to reference Bob, saying: “Well, you burst on the scene already a legend / the unwashed phenomenon, the original vagabond…”

Despite the clear reference to Bob, who Joan called ‘scruffy’ in the documentary about her, she later explained in her memoir about how she told Bob the song was about her ex-husband, David Harris.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

Elvis cried before his wedding 'I have no choice' – Why did Elvis Presley marry Priscilla?

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

There were rumours that Priscilla’s father, angry after so many years living with his daughter, threatened to prosecute Elvis for taking a minor across state lines.

He had been travelling with Priscilla to Los Angeles and Las Vegas when she was 15, which was contrary to the agreement made with her parents when they permitted her to leave Germany aged 16 to move to the US.

Elvis had assured them that their daughter would remain in Memphis, chaperoned by the star’s grandmother Minnie Mae, living in a separate house and attending school.

Instead, Priscilla even wrote fake postcards which were mailed from Memphis by staff whle she was travelling with Elvis.

However, other claims suggested Priscilla herself had pressured Elvis into marriage, threatening to go to the press with the details about their relationship, especially when she was 14 and 15.

Elvis wanted to marry Blue Hawaii star during 'passionate affair' but she turned him down

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

One glance at Joan Blackman in 1961 and you could be forgiven for thinking you were looking at Priscilla. Both share sharp elfin features and raven hair. Elvis was apparently so smitten when he met her in Hollywood just before he started his military service in 1958 that he repeatedly pursued her and “begged” her to appear in his movies. In the end she did, playing his girlfriend in Blue Hawaii. Their chemistry was so strong, she was brought back for Kid Galahad the following year. Off screen, Joan said they shared a “magical connection” and The King was planning to make her his wife.

In Blue Hawaii, Elvis sings one of his most iconic ballads to Joan, Can’t Help Falling In Love With You – and the actress later revealed that is exactly what he did.

Joan said: When we first set eyes on each other (in 1957), there was a spark, a magic in the air… There was just that special something between us, sometimes so warm and wonderful you could almost reach out and touch it.”

She maintained she refused his repeated offers to help with her career: “I wanted parts because of my ability, not because I was dating Elvis.”

Joan had worked constantly on television since 1954 and in 1960 starred on the big screen opposite Tony Curtis in military drama The Big Imposter.

She was then cast as local island girl Maile Duval in Blue Hawaii. Life imitated art as Elvis played a GI returning home from the army. Hollywood legend Angela Landsbury played his mother.

In a senational 1977 interview, Joan later described how the long-standing attraction with The King ignited on set.

She said: “We had rooms next to each other in the hotel, and for weeks we just lived together.

“He really wanted me as his wife.”

She played Rose Grogan, the sister of a slippery boxing promoter who spots potential in Elvis’ character, Walter Gulick, an amiable small-town wannabe mechanic.

In the film, as always, Elvis gets the girl but off screen he had failed to persuade Joan.

She said: “I was in love with another actor, Hampton Fancher III. Elvis knew about it. When he would ask me about Hampton, I would answer, ‘I love him, El. I love him like a woman loves a man she wants to share her life with.’

“I never lied to Elvis about Hampton, or about anything else.”

To make it all even more complicated, Blackman was actually married to another actor, Joby Baker from May 1959 to November 1961.

Despite her declared love for Fancher, she actually married yet another actor Rockne Tarkingington from 1968-1970 and they had two children.

Her acting career fizzled out after the mid 1970’s, with her last notable role in the 1975 James Mitchum vie Moonrunners.

In 1990 she made one last return to the small screen in the TV series The Castle of Adventure, based on the Enid Blyton book.  The show also starred Brian Blessed and Susan George and Blackman played a school teacher.