Friday, December 13, 2013

Kissin' Cousins

Am I allowed to say OMG in a blog post?

Well, here's what comes from staying up way too late into the night trying to make sure that maternal relations are just as accounted-for as the paternals. Everything I am about to write is still mostly speculation, which is to say there is some suggestive evidence to support my hypothesis, but not nearly as much as I'd like to have. So let me say right up front that research, as always, is ongoing.

Now you can sound the trumpet, but just moderately please. It would appear that my ggg-grandparents, Pierre F. Coquigne and Cecile Huvier, were fourth cousins! To be fourth cousins, two people must have the same ggg-grandparents in common. The following table shows Pierre F. and Cecile in the last row. The blue column shows Pierre's lineage, and the pink column shows Cecile's lineage. Each row moving up from the bottom shows the previous generation and the name of the relation that we are tracing, be it the father or mother, who makes the next level of cousin connection. Looking at Cecile, for example, her mother was Marie Ann Bouquet, whose father was Pierre Bouquet, and his mother was Jeanne Coquigne, and her father was Christophe who was a brother of Jean Coquigne. See?

Unknown Coquigne + ???
gg-grandparent Jean Coquigne Christophe Coquigne
g-grandparent Pierre Coquigne Jeanne Coquigne
grandparent Jean Pierre Coquigne Pierre Bouquet
parent Francois Coquigne Marie Anne Bouquet
husband and wife Pierre Francois Coquigne Cecile Huvier

And what's even crazier is that we can say all this without having any idea who the ggg-grandparents were!

How do we know that Jean and Christophe were brothers?  Well, that's the million-dollar question.  We have the death records for both men - Jean died in 1744 at the age of 74, making his birth about 1670, and Christophe died in 1733 at the age of 65, making his birth about 1668, making the two men close enough in age to be brothers. But now we are really stretching the availability of either marriage records or baptism records that go back so early. I'm still digging, but suffice it to say there are entire stretches of time where the earliest parish registers have torn or damaged pages, making the information either lost or unreadable. I still have some hope of finding these records, but the hope is slim given that my eyesight seems to be suffering from so much strain lately.

However, there are a couple of clues which might allow us to lean in the direction that Jean and Christophe could have been brothers.
  • On Jean's death record, Charles Mauville was listed as a nephew. Christophe Coquigne had a daughter, Marie Francoise, who married a Charles Mauville, and yes, they had a son named Charles.
  • Just for fun, I decided to check the marriage record of Marie Francoise Coquigne and Charles Mauville. Not only was Christophe Coquigne listed as her father, but Jean Coquigne was also listed as her uncle.  Ta da.
So that's my quasi-discovery. Even without the baptism or marriage records of Jean and Christophe Coquigne to explicitly confirm their parentage, it would appear Jean and Christophe were brothers, thus making my ggg-grandparents fourth cousins. And just in case we have any judgments about whether that marriage should be "acceptable", here is a story that suggests cousin marriages might not be such a bad thing.

And if there's still room for poo-poo-ing, let's not forget that FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt were fifth cousins!

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