consanguinity

comes from two Latin words:

con meaning shared

and

sanguis that means blood.

Consanguinity describes a relationship between two people who share a common ancestor:

a ‘shared blood’ relationship; for example, a relationship between two cousins. The most common form of a consanguineous relationship or marriage is between first cousins and in some societies, can account for a large proportion of relationships.

Traditionally, some cultures have practised and continue to practise marriage between relatives such as cousins as a means of strengthening family ties and retaining property within the family.

Albert Einstein married his first cousin and so did Charles Darwin.

US State Laws Regarding Marriages Between First Cousins

Cousin marriage legal First cousin marriage prohibited Allowed under certain circumstances
AlabamaAlaska

California

Colorado

Connecticut

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Maryland

Massachusetts

New JerseyNew Mexico

New York

North Carolina*

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Tennessee

Texas

Vermont

Virginia

Arkansas

Delaware

Idaho

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

South Dakota

Washington

West Virginia

Wyoming

Arizona

Illinois

Indiana

Maine

Utah

Wisconsin

First cousin marriage is allowed in these states under the following circumstances:

Arizona- if both are 65 or older, or one is unable to reproduce.

Illinois- if both are 50 or older, or one is unable to reproduce.

Indiana- if both are at least 65.

Maine- if couple obtains a physician’s certificate of genetic counseling.

Utah- if both are 65 or older, or if both are 55 or older and one is unable to reproduce.

Wisconsin- if the woman is 55 or older, or one is unable to reproduce.

*North Carolina- First cousin marriage is legal. Double cousin marriage is prohibited

First Cousins – two individuals who have the same grandparents.

Second Cousins – two individuals who have the same great-grandparents

Third Cousins – two individuals who have the same great-great grandparents, and so on down the line..

*paging genetic counselors, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and special child care professionals.

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