In many cultures around the world, it’s frowned upon to marry a cousin (and in some countries it’s even illegal), but that hasn’t stopped people from doing it throughout history.
From presidents like martin van buren and john adams to royals like queen victoria and prince albert, historical figures have often engaged in this practice. but there are even some more modern (and some legendary) examples where couples have chosen to marry within their own family lines. maybe your own family tree has some cousins kissing on its branches!
rudy giuliani. The former mayor of New York City married Regina Peruggi in 1968. Regina was the daughter of her father’s first cousin, making her her second cousin once removed from her. Giuliani filed for an annulment in 1982 to end his marriage after 14 years.
Edgar Allan Poe. For his second marriage, the famous poet and author of “The Raven” married his first cousin Virginia Eliza Clemm. The two married when he was 27 and she was 13. There is some speculation that their marriage was more like a sibling relationship than husband and wife.
h.g. wells author of “island of dr. Moreau” and “The War of the Worlds,” Wells married his first cousin in 1891. But their union was short-lived, and he and Isabel Mary Wells divorced just three years later when he began a relationship with one of the students of his
saddam hussein. The former Iraqi dictator had several wives, but his first wife was his first cousin, Sajida Talfah, whom he married in 1963. His partnership was an arranged marriage, planned since they were both children.
charles darwin. the naturalist who wrote “on the origin of species” and introduced the theory of evolution to the world, married his first cousin emma wedgwood. The couple had 10 children together, and because of his research on inbreeding and evolution, he was concerned that their relationship was the cause of three of his children dying at young ages.
albert einstein. The famous physicist Albert Einstein married his second wife, Elsa Lowenthal, in 1919 in one of the strangest pairs of cousins in history. They were first cousins on his mother’s side, as well as second cousins on his father’s side! And stranger still, he was actually born Elsa Einstein; The Lowenthal surname was one that he got from his first marriage.
jerry lee lewis. The rocker best known for his hit song “Great Balls of Fire” married his first cousin Myra Williams when she was just 13 years old. The union, which was her third marriage and her first, sparked a huge backlash from Lewis fans, and the couple lasted just four years. he would marry four more times.
greta scacchi. The actress known for her leading role in “Presumed Innocent” was once married to Vincent D’Onofrio. they were not related and have since divorced; Now, Scacchi is in a long-term relationship with Ella Mantegazza’s cousin Carlo, and the two have a son together.
kevin bacon. a lot of people claim to have connections to kevin bacon (there’s this whole “six degrees of kevin bacon” game), but his wife, kyra sedgwick, is actually related to him… albeit quite distant. the two are ninth cousins once removed, a fact they learned on the pbs genealogy series “Finding Your Roots”.
jesse james. the famous outlaw fell in love with and married his first cousin zerelda “zee” mimms. In reality, she was named after Jesse’s mother, and the two eventually married after a nine-year engagement and had two surviving children.
Are there married cousins on a branch of your family tree?Start investigating today with a free ancestry trial.
— Angel Cohn