“Everything is relative except relatives, and they are absolute”*…
Thanksgiving is upon us, so many American readers will be gathering as clans. Thankfully, our friends at Flowing Data have come up with a handy graphic reference to help us place and navigate those confusing familial ties. As they note (quoting Wikipedia), there is an underlying mathematical logic to it all…
There is a mathematical way to identify the degree of cousinship shared by two individuals. In the description of each individual’s relationship to the most recent common ancestor, each “great” or “grand” has a numerical value of 1. The following examples demonstrate how this is applied.
Example: If person one’s great-great-great-grandfather is person two’s grandfather, then person one’s “number” is 4 (great + great + great + grand = 4) and person two’s “number” is 1 (grand = 1). The smaller of the two numbers is the degree of cousinship. The two people in this example are first cousins. The difference between the two people’s “numbers” is the degree of removal. In this case, the two people are thrice (4 — 1 = 3) removed, making them first cousins three times removed.
More at “Chart of Cousins.”
* Alfred Stieglitz
As we pass the gravy, we might recall that it was on this date in 1912 that successful businessman Sherwood Anderson, then 36, left wife, family, and job in Elyria, Ohio, to become a writer. A novelist and short story writer, he’s best-known for the short story sequence Winesburg, Ohio, which launched his career, and for the novel Dark Laughter, his only bestseller. But his biggest impact was probably his formative influence on the next generation of American writers– William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and Thomas Wolfe, among others– who cited Anderson as an important inspiration and model. (Indeed, Anderson was instrumental in gaining publication for Faulkner and Hemingway.)