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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Relatively Confusing Family

From the Doylestown (Pa.) Daily Intelligencer of Aug. 31, 1932:

Media, Pa., Aug. 30 (INS)—John V. Murray, Deputy Register of Wills here, decided to trace his family tree.

He soon discovered, somewhat to his amazement, that:

He was first and second cousin to the same person.

His grandparents were grandparents to him twice.

He had an aunt and an uncle who were half-brother and half-sister [sic] respectively to both his father and mother.

In addition to all this, he learned that he has an uncle that is a grandfather and uncle to the same children and an aunt who is their aunt and grandmother also.

The whole thing started during the Civil War when the grandfather of John Bryson, in his mother's branch of the family, died in Libby prison. Shortly afterwards, the wife of John Murray, his grandmother on his father's side of the family, died.

The puzzling relationships ensued when the two remaining grandparents, John Murray and Susan Bryson, decided to marry. They had two children, Milton and Nancy, who then became aunt and uncle in both sides of Murray's family.

Murray had four aunts and uncle on his father's side of the family, exclusive of the two mentioned, and one these aunts, Rebecca, married Christopher Mellinger, who had been previously married and had a daughter, Anna. Through this marriage Murray became the first cousin of Anna Mellinger. Later, three children were born to this union, Charles, Alfred and Vernon Mellinger, who became first cousins to Murray and also step-brothers to Anna.

Later, Anna Mellinger married George Murray, a full brother to Murray's father and also to Rebecca Murray Mellinger. Through this marriage Anna Mellinger Murray became an aunt to Murray as well as his first cousin. To this last marriage, three children were born, William, Harry and Vernon, and they became both first and second cousins to John V. Murray, the Deputy Register of Wills.

In addition to all that, (if you are still with us) Christopher Mellinger became an uncle and grandfather to these latest children, and Rebecca, his wife, became a grandmother and aunt to them. George Murray, husband of Anna Mellinger, also became an uncle and stepbrother to the children of Rebecca Murray and Christopher Mellinger.

And so on, down the line, until Murray doesn't hardly know what to call his relatives when he meets them. Any particular one might be his uncle, cousin, or grandfather.

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