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What’s more, the 0.2 percent estimate is based on studies that were conducted in the United States between 19.To find out whether the share has changed since then, I emailed Alan Bittles, a professor at the Centre for Human Genetics at Edith Cowan University, which, like you, is in Western Australia.A lot of my Monroe County relatives married first cousins.Even more married a bit further "out" - second, first once removed, third, etc.

You must seek a dispensation from your Bishop to marry your first cousin. Where my ancestors came from, Monroe County Virginia (now West Virginia), before 1850 if people wanted to marry someone who wasn't an Indian, they had a choice of a cousin or nothing; it was sparsely populated.

If you do genealogy, and your ancestors were in the USA west of the Atlantic seaboard before the Civil War, odds are you'll find at least one set of first cousins marrying in your tree. There was a brief span of time in the US (1870 - 1930 or so), after doctors started washing their hands and before birth control was popular, when women routinely had 8 - 12 children, most of whom lived to adulthood.

If that happened two generations in a row, one couple could have 8 - 12 children who married and produced 8 - 12 children in turn, giving the original couple 64 - 144 grandchildren.

Anything at or above 0.0156, the coefficient for second cousins, is considered consanguineous; that includes relationships between people and their nephews and nieces. For one thing, 25 states ban marriage between first cousins, and another seven states have restrictions on it (for example, in Arizona first-cousin marriage is allowed only if both people are 65 or older, or if one is unable to reproduce).

Those laws might make some individuals reluctant to say they are in a consanguineous relationship and result in some undercounting of relationships.

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