• Step Seven ~ Sorting Out Those Relationships ...

    As you research your family you will not only find your direct line ancestors, but also their brothers and sisters as well. The siblings of your grandparents are your great aunts and uncles, and of your great grandparents your great great aunts and uncles, and so on.

    You may wish to research these branches of your family to discover their descendants who are your cousins. Those who share your grandparents are your first cousins and those who share the same great grandparents as you are your second cousins, and again this continues. The children of your first cousins are your first cousins once removed. Their grandchildren will be your first cousin twice removed and so on. The same will apply to your second, third etc. cousins.

    Most family tree software packages will work out these relationships for you. To read more, go to Degrees of Kinship.

    A list of Forbidden Marriages was drawn up by the Church in 1560 and these rules applied right up until the 20th century when various Acts of Parliament provided more flexibility.

    As you start to research the branches of your family you will no doubt find cousins marrying, which was acceptable. This was particularly common in close knit communities. You may also find incidences of marriages on the forbidden list. These may not have been blood relationships such as brother and sister, but say of a man and his wife’s niece. It was common for them to go to another county to marry and return as man and wife to the same community, with nothing more said. It does appear that the church chose to turn a blind eye in these incidences.

    When you discover these multiple connections within your tree you’ll be glad that you invested in a family tree software package to make sense of it all!