Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: When Cousins Marry

Side by Side: Mary & Benjamin Rice

In the past, it was not so unusual for cousins to marry, especially when several brothers or sisters came early to America and then moved to neighboring towns in later generations. Arranged marriages may have been about land alliances or who was going to take care of aged family members.

Benjamin and Mary's gravestones are side by side in the old Common Cemetery and this is where I first noticed the differences in the height of the gravestones. It may not look like much but if one gravestone is going to be larger, it is usually the husband. When I took a close look at these gravestones, I was surprised that she died first.

That's the thing about old gravestones, it is not always easy to tell if they are replica/replacements or when they were placed there.

Most folks cringe when I mention that first cousins did marry. Did you?


Karen Howes said...

Hi Midge-- it's nice to come across a blog about NH genealogy (many of my ancestors on my mom's side of the family were from NH, specifically Rockingham County).

In my own family tree, I've come across several instances of second cousin marriages, but only one or two instances of first cousins, so I wonder if it was actually ever a common thing for first cousins to marry in colonial New England.

Today it's still legal in most U.S. states to marry your first cousin... I suppose that as long as you don't have generations of inbreeding-- i.e., products of first cousins marrying THEIR first cousins, and their kids marrying THEIR first cousins, you don't have to worry about dueling banjos...

Suzanne Guinn said...

We may be related. I am a descendant of a Rice/Dix combo. So we could connect on either line. I don't have the info. stored in memory, but I can look it up later. It would be interesting to find out. I've got my Rice line back about 4-5 generations, and Dix maybe less than that. I'll have to check. Your names sound familiar.

Midge Frazel said...

My husband is the Rice! Karen: I am a MA blog.