Friday, March 30, 2012

Cousins Are Never Removed

My Mama was telling me about someone in our family who was a first cousin second removed. I always wondered about this "removed" bit. I started doing research (I'll spare you the details) but basically it is how many generations someone is to your closet ancestor. Given that some southern family trees don't branch,  it is best to use the term "cousin" and stop at that.

Then it got interesting. The text started talking about Double First Cousins (two siblings of one family reproduce with two siblings of another family). And, Half Cousins (the children of two half-siblings and their respective partners).Down here a Half Cousin is anyone who shows up with the same last name, in your generation, and has questionable heritage. As long as they are articulate, clean, don't wear anything velvet or shiny we welcome them in. 

They tried to throw in "Cousin-in-law". Well, let me tell you, if you are in the south and your spouse's cousins refer to you as a "Cousin in Law" you may as well take a hint - they don't like you, probably never have, and no chance in Hell they ever will. It would be best for you to find a divorce lawyer now because it's not good now and not going to get any better.

Then we get real technical with "Parallel" or "Cross Cousins" which are by definition half siblings and who can marry and who cannot. This memo didn't get to everybody. But, they're none the worst for it. Hey, some folks can use six toes on one foot. And, there's something to said about everyone in the family having the same last name. 

Basically in the south, a cousin is someone you are kin to in some fashion. You may know, you may not (and you may not want to know.) It doesn't matter if they are a first, a removed, or a kissin' cousin, out on a limb or on your branch, you're stuck with 'em cause they're kin. And, down here that means a lot. 

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