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It’s no big deal, but I married my cousin

4 mins read

A few years ago, I wrote an article regarding whether I might have married my cousin. This had not really been a concern because we were never going to procreate together, but I was interested in finding the answer.

This subject had come up while researching my family. I knew my great-great grandfather was Robert Scott and my husband is a Scott. Hence the deepening search within the Scott ancestors. 

But having gone through several years of research and getting my DNA tested through Ancestry.com, I was having no luck in finding any common relatives. Surely, the name Scott 150 years ago could not have been that common in Scotland. 

It actually was very common.

Regardless of my work, my quest was fruitless. Then my spouse agreed to have his DNA tested. Eureka! We waited anxiously for the test and it came back this week. We are cousins. 

Here is the snag. We are fifth to eighth cousins, with our common DNA around 14 centiMorgans. Which is not that much. However it does put us in the cousins range. 

Yet, as much as I thought it was our Scottish background that brought us together, it appears that it is through our British families. We also have Irish blood, but there does not seem to be a connection there. 

The funny part about this cousin relationship is that there are 56,000 fifth to eighth  cousins in my DNA family. And these are only the people who have taken the test. 

What is of particular interest is the fact that 150 years ago, there was a lot of animosity between the Irish and the British and yet now, cousins are marrying cousins. As the years have gone by and the pool has been diluted enough, the animosity is ancient history. 

Who is to say what our American gene pool will look like in the next 150 years? 

Also, the irony in this is that our five children and 12 grandchildren are actually related to one another through common ancestors. Which means our gene pool is even more diluted. 

In addition to our genes, our children have French, Italian, Greek, Norwegian, and Swedish. Then when you look at our grandchildren you add many more countries. 

It has changed the complexion of our family now because when my husband and I were married 15 years, we brought together two separate families. The Scotts and the Smiths. Now this new common bond will connect both families forever.

As for me, the timing of this discovery is perfect. When people ask me how I am keeping myself busy during this period I tell them about the cousin I have found amongst my 56,000 cousins, and my search for our common ancestors.  


Lee Scott, a writer and recent retiree, shares her everyday observations about life after career. A former commercial banker responsible for helping her clients to reach their business objectives, Scott now translates those analytical skills to her writings. She lives on St. Helena Island and enjoys boating, traveling and reading.

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