EXAMPLES OF UNUSUAL RELATIONSHIPS AND GENEALOGICAL RARITIES

The following are all examples of legitimate situations. I have excluded any illegal marriages, incest or other close inbreeding to protect the individuals and families concerned. Most, of those included, have previously been published in the press or elsewhere. The published reports all refer to the conditions within the families at the time of publication, and will subsequently have changed in terms of ages, family size and current survivors. Three of the examples of double cousins, whose names have been withheld, come from my own relatives and work colleagues.

Enhanced Half Sib Relationship

1. Simon McGrath from Nottinghamshire (now 44) married Christine Wray in 1982. They had two children, Natalie (now 19) and John (now 14). Christine died in 1996 (aged 34). Christine's sister, Sally (now 28), who had been staying with Simon and Christine because her parents had died, helped to look after the two children. About a year after her sister's death, Sally began living with Simon and they had two further children, Sean (now 6) and Scott (now 4). The couple is shortly to be married. Everyone has remarked on the similarity between the two sets of children, which is not surprising since they are three-quarter sibs. (R = 0.375). Ref:- Daily Mail, July 4th, 2003.

2. Three brothers of the Wyatt family from Tamworth, each had children by the same person, Julie. Chris (brother no. 1) married Julie in 1981 and had two daughters: Emma - now 21 and Claire - now 18. The marriage lasted until 1984, when Julie started living with Danny (brother no. 2) resulting in a son, Daniel - now 16. This relationship also lasted about 3 years. Finally, Julie married Dave (brother no. 3) and had 3 more children: Julian (13), Katie (12) and Brendan (9). Thus, the relationship between the 3 groups of Julie's children is that of 'three-quarter sibs'. Additionally, Dave was previously married to Marie, who sadly died after having a son, Gavin - now 25. Also, after divorcing Julie, Chris married Wendy and had two more children. Therefore, the 9 children of the 3 Wyatt brothers include the following sets of relatives: full sibs (R = 1/2), three-quarter sibs (R = 3/8), half sibs (R = 1/4) and single first cousins (R = 1/8). Ref:- Daily Mail October 2nd, 2003.

Double First Cousins (First Degree) (R = 0.5)

1. Peter and John Collister from Clowne, Chesterfield were identical twins, who married Pat and Pauline Welsh, also identical twins, in a double wedding. They have 5 children who all look like brothers and sisters, regardless of family origin. Ref:- Daily Mail, November 1st, 2000.

2. Two sets of identical twins, Darren and Sean Duffy and Helen and Maxine Chambers were born on the same day at Oldham Hospital in 1977. In 2000, Darren married Helen and Sean married Maxine. Later both women had babies, Molly and Jamie, at the same hospital two weeks apart. Ref:- Daily Mail, January 20th, 2001.

Double First Cousins (R = 0.25)

1. Winston Churchill's American grandfather, Leonard Jerome (1818 - 1891), and his great uncle, Lawrence Jerome (1820 - 1888), who were brothers, married two sisters Clara and Catherine Hall respectively. Clara was the American grandmother of Winston. Thus, Jenny Jerome (1854 - 1921), Winston's mother, was the double first cousin of William Travers Jerome (1859 - 1934), famous New York District Attorney, who was Lawrence Jerome's son. Ref:- Gilbert (2005).

2. Two of my great uncle's sons, who were full brothers, married two sisters from another unrelated local family. Each couple had children, which meant that the relationship between the two family groups was that of double first cousins. Two of my work colleagues shared a similar family history and were also the parents of double first cousins.

Irregular Double Cousins

The two brothers from my great uncle's family, mentioned in the last paragraph, had a third brother who married a first cousin of his two brother's wives. Therefore, in addition to double first cousins, there were also irregular double cousins in the same family. The two relationships in this irregular double were first and second cousins. My great uncle had 10 children and 29 grandchildren. The remaining 7 of his children married unrelated spouses and had further offspring. Therefore, his grand-children (who are my 2nd cousins) include sets of:- full sibs (R = 1/2), double first cousins (R = 1/4), irregular double cousins - first and second (R = 3/16) and single first cousins (R = 1/8).

Most Siblings to Marry the Siblings of Another family

All five daughters of Narandra Nath and Taramoni Roy married five brothers - the sons of Trarpoda Karmaker and Khani Roy (Bangladesh) between 1977 and 1996. If any children resulted from these 5 marriages (information not available) then each set would have a double first cousin relationship (R = 0.25) with every other set. Ref:- Guiness World Records (2007 edition).

Famous People Whose Parents Were First Cousins

John Ruskin and Toulouse Lautrec.

Famous People Who Married their First Cousin

Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

Longest Interval Between Children

Elizabeth Ann Buttle (UK). Her only daughter, Belinda, was born in 1956 (when she was 19), and her only son was born in 1997 (when she was 60). This is an age gap of 41 years. Ref;- Guiness Book of Records (2002 edition).

Long Generation Intervals Between Living Relatives

1. Florence Mabel Barnett is 101. Her son, Michael, is 55 and her twin grandsons, Samuel Joe Harrison Barnett, and Markham Henry Scott Barnett, are 8. This is an average generation interval of approx. 46.5 years. Ref:- Daily Mail, February 18th, 2002.

2. When Lois Grieve was born in 1935, her father was 50 and her grandfather was 99. Average generation interval = 49.5 years. Ref:- Daily Mail, February 21st, 2002.

Long Generation Intervals

This example has already been mentioned on here. Baroness Elliot of Harwood was born in 1903, her father was born in 1823 and her grandfather in 1786. This gives a mean generation interval of 58.5 years. She died in 1992 aged 89. Ref:- Guiness Book of Records (1991 edition).

Most Generations Still Alive

In a direct line, if most of the relevant individuals are first born and are produced when their parents are young, it can have a dramatic effect on the number of generations alive at the same time.

  1. The youngest person to learn that his or her great-granddaughter had become a grandmother, was
  2. Harriet Holmes (Canada), born 17th January, 1899, who was aged 88 years, 5 days when she became a great-great-great-grandmother (4GM) to Brian Bursey on 8th March,1987 (average generation interval over the 6 generations still alive - 17.6 years). Ref:- Guiness World Records (2007 edition).

  3. In 1998, six generations of Mary Syme's family were still alive, ranging in ages from 0 to 98 years
  4. (average generation interval - 19.6 years.) All the children below were first born except Olive Murphy, who was the second child:

      Age in YearsAge When Child Born
    Mary Symes9821
    Eileen Escudier7720
    Olive Murphy5719
    Debbie Thompson3819
    Danielle Cain1919
    Grace Still 0  

    This group probably qualifies for the greatest number of direct female relatives still alive. Ref:- Weekend Daily Mail, July 11th, 1998.

  5. The record for the youngest great-great-great-great-grandmother (5GM) was set by Augusta Bunge (USA, born 13th October 1879) on 21st January 1989 at the age of 109 years 97 days when her great-great-great-granddaughter gave birth to a son, Christopher John Bollig (average generation interval over the 7 generations still alive - 18.2 years). Ref:- Guiness World Records (2008 edition).
  6. The most recent example of 6 surviving generations is the family of Hilda Hanson from Bradford: Hilda Hanson (103), Jean Cottam (83), Sue Godward (62), Melissa Mellor (37), Aimee Mellor (18) and Finlay Mellor (0). Finlay was born on December 25th, 2016. Average generation interval over the 6 generations is 20.6 years. Ref: - Daily Mail. 20th January, 2016.

Unusual Sets of Twins and Multiple Births

  1. Colin and Karen Rodger of Langbank, Renfrewshire had three sets of fraternal twins. Having previously had two sets of non-identical twin boys , now aged 12 and 14, they had a further set of twin girls in May,2013. Ref: - Daily Mail, June 3rd, 2013.
  2. Julian and Sharon Turner of Upper Lambourne, Berkshire had quadruplets which included one set of identical twin boys and another set of identical twin girls. Ref:- Daily Mail, June 1st , 2013.
  3. Mrs Kelly of Billingham, Cleveland also had quadruplets made up of two sets of identical twins (both girls) Ref:- Daily Mail, December 24th, 2011.
  4. Jose and Julia Carles of Biggleswade, Bedfordshire had identical quadruplet girls, Ref:- Daily Mail, September 9th, 2009.
  5. Charlene Medlicott and Mark Connaughton from Telford in Shropshire also had identical quadruplet girls. Ref Daily Mail, March 11th 2014.
  6. Juan and Catherine Delgado had two single girls in 2001 and 2003, twin girls in 2004 and triplets (two boys and a girl) in 2007, all in Singleton Hospital, Swansea. Ref:- Daily Mail, March 31st, 2007.
  7. The first parents to produce septuplets that survived were Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey of Iowa, USA on 10th November, 1997. Ref:- Cooper, (2004).
  8. Octuplets were born alive to Nkem Chukwu from Houston, Texas in 1998, but only seven survived. Ref:- Daily Mail, 28th January, 2009.
  9. The highest recorded multiple birth was nontuplets (9) to Mrs Brodick of Sydney, Australia in June 1971, but they only lived a few days, Ref:- Cooper (2004).

The following five sets of mixed race parents each had fraternal twins which included one black and one white child. The dates refer to issues of the Daily Mail newspaper where they were reported.

  1. Remi Horder and Kylie Hodgson from Nottingham - twin girls. (February 21st 2006)
  2. Michael Singeri and Natasha Knight from Burpengary, Brisbane, Australia - twin girls. (October 23rd, 2006)
  3. Kerry Richardson and partner from Middlesbrough - twin boys. (October 26th, 2006)
  4. Michael and Amanda Biggs from Birmingham - twin girls. (September 14th. 2010)
  5. Philip Bradley and Sonia Harris also from Birmingham - twin boys. (October 6th, 2010)

Overlapping Generations

Sophina Raja (aged 5) started primary school at Fort William, Inverness-shire in August, 2008. Already attending the same school were her three nieces: Emily McLennan (6), Amy Hobbes (8) and Natasha Hobbes (10). This was possible because Emily's, Amy's and Natasha's grandmother, at the age of 45, had a further child of her own (Sophina) after her last grandchild (Emily) was born.
Ref: Daily Mail (Scottish Edition) August 22nd, 2008.

Oldest and Largest Living Group of Full Sibs

Rowland and Emma Cleaver from Leicester had 15 children. Their first child, Jack, died in 2000 aged 80. The remainder (14) are all still alive and their combined ages total 1,092 years.

Michael68Pauline79
Wendy70Sylvia80
Sandra71Barbara82
Valerie72Rowland83
Gillian74Joan85
Jennifer76Betty86
Shirley77Margaret89

Ref:- Daily Mail, March 8th 2014.

Longest Recorded Direct Line

In Great Britain the longest is probably that of the Royal family. There appear to be three principal direct lines between King Alfred the Great (born 849) and Queen Elizabeth II (born 1926), each of 36 generations. Therefore, the coded relationship (see here in the previous monograph) of Alfred to Elizabeth is: 35GF. Since they are separated by 36 generations and their birth dates by 1077 years, the average generation interval for the Royal line is 1077/36 = 29.9 years. If we extend the line back two generations to Alfred's grandfather, Egbert (born c. 775) - first local king (Wessex) to have an influence over the whole of England; and forward three generations to Prince George (born 2013), we can stretch it to 41 generations and 1238 years (average generation interval = 30.2 years).

Oldest Person

The greatest fully authenticated age to which a human being has lived is 122 years 164 days by Jeanne Louise Calment (France). She was born on 21st February, 1875 and died on 4th August, 1997. Ref:- Guiness World Records (2007 edition).