mating patterns in medieval/early modern scotland

this is just a preliminary look at the mating patterns of the medieval and early modern scots. ok, here we go…

first of all, there are three regions of scotland that need to be taken into account (i’m ignoring the northern isles for now): the gàidhealtachd or scottish gaelic-speaking area of the country — i.e. the “highlands and the islands“; the lowlands; and the scottish borders (where america’s scots irish mostly came from). here’s a map of the highlands and lowlands — the borders are tucked down here. keep in mind that in the medieval period, the gaelic-speaking regions extended further south to somewhere around where i’ve drawn a nifty red line (total approximation):

the broad, general pattern wrt historic mating patterns in scotland appears to be: greater amounts of cousin/endogamous marriage for a longer period of time (i.e. into the early modern period) the farther north you go in scotland; lesser amounts of cousin/endogamous marriage for a longer period of time (i.e. extending back into the medieval period) the farther south you go in scotland — with the notable exception of the border areas (see also here).

let’s start with the clans up north ’cause they’re a lot of fun! here from Finding the Family in Medieval and Early Modern Scotland [pgs. 131, 134 – link added by me]:

“[A]s early as 1336 John MacDonald of Islay applied for papal dispensation to marry his cousin Amy Macruari. According to canon law this marriage was within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity and any children born of the union would not have been regarded as legitimate. The existence of close ties of consanguinity or affinity between married persons was common in the Highlands but MacDonald was aware of the wider context and the need for his son to be regarded as legitimate by the Scottish crown.

“Clan marriages were directed towards various ends, whether political, military or economic. Prioritisation of these considerations depended on the size, standing and policy of a particular clan. A study of the marriage patterns of the chiefly family of the Mackintoshes reveals both an internal and external agenda. During the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries it was common for the children of successive chiefs to be married into local families while at least one child was married into a satellite clan of the Clan Chattan, thereby reinforcing clan solidarity. By the sixteenth century, however, a clear shift in policy is evident. Internal marriage still took place regularly although in instances where a chief had fewer children it was unusual for endogamous marriage to take place. Instead it was more important to use marriage as a means of establishing and reinforcing external alliances. However, if during a period of political instability a particular chief felt the need to reinforce clan cohesion a greater number of marriages were contracted internally.”

so, cousin marriage was common in the scottish highlands in the medieval period, but there was a shift from endogamous to more exogamous marriages sometime around the 1500s. the late medieval period, or possibly a bit earlier, was also the time when the importance of clans in scotland began to wane [pgs. 127-128].

how much cousin/endogamous marriage was there amongst the medieval highland clans? difficult to know. the partial geneaology of one clan, the macpherson clan [opens pdf], which has been well-researched, offers some clues. there are three branches of the macpherson clan — the sliochd choinnich, the sliochd iain and the sliochd ghill-iosa — and the genealogy runs from the middle of the fourteenth through the seventeenth centuries [pgs. 10-11]:

“The genealogy contains almost a thousand Macphersons, men and women, besides some two hundred non-Macpherson marriage partners…. Of the total number of Macphersons about 750 are males, just over 200 are females; and over 300 marriages are recorded. These figures reflect two peculiar features of the document: daughters were ignored or forgotten unless they made a politically useful marriage; and younger sons and their male descendants do not have their marriages recorded if they were not established on separate farms of their own. This shows the relationship between patrilineal descent, marriage, and property as seen by the genealogist. Thus the genealogy contains sections liberally sprinkled with daughters and wives, while other sections consist solely of men. This partiality in the amount of information offered by the genealogy must be borne in mind in examining the marriages within the clan. The figures are given in the following table:

the total marriages for the entire clan are the the last column, highlighted in red. more from the article [pgs. 11-12]:

Rather more than one-third of the recorded marriages were endogamous, that is, they took place within the clan, both parties being Macphersons. More surprising perhaps, the geneaology reveals that marriage within the sliochd [i.e. one patriline] was permissible. Of the 119 endogamous marriages recorded in the clan, no fewer than 40 took place within one or other of the three major sliochdan. Geographical propinquity was doubtless a factor in the occurrence of some of these marriages, but a more potent force was probably the desire to prevent rights in moveable property, especially stock, and right in land from passing out of the sliochd. The same argument is probably true for inter-sliochd marriages in the clan. One curious consequence of this, perhaps, was the existence of a custom of concubinage where the rules of the Church forbade marriage. The genealogy provides one possible example of this in the case of John Macpherson of Knappach who took the widow of his deceased uncle Thomas as ‘his concubine’. The woman involved was Connie Macpherson, daughter of Donald Dow Macpherson of Pitchirn and Connie Macpherson of Essich. She was, perhaps, following the example of her father, who, after the death of her mother, ‘took as his concubine’ Eneir Cameron of Glennevis from whom the Macphersons of Clune descended. At any rate it is quite clear that the Highland clans and their major patrilineal divisions entertained no rules enforcing exogamy….

One curious result of repeated marriage within the clan was that cousin-ship was not a simple matter of two lines of patrilineal descent from a common forebear, but was exceedingly intricate. So complex, indeed, were the relationships established within the clan that many clansmen of the tenth and subsequent generations were able to trace their descent back to, not one, but all three of the original brothers, and often to one of them more than once….

“The exogamous marriages were formed with influential families, almost exclusively of the Highlands….”

so, one-third of the macpherson clan marriages were within the clan (compare this to 25% in cumbria, one of the border counties in northern england, in the early modern period), many times within one of the patrilines. the macphersons, like john macdonald we heard about above, got around the church’s bans on marriage to certain individuals (cousins, for one) simply by shacking up instead of marrying (john macdonald paid the dispensation fee ’cause he wanted his heir to be legitimate). one of the results of all this inbreeding was that macpherson cousins were more related to one another than cousins in a more outbreeding society would be.
_____

that’s all i’ve got so far for the highland scots. now for the lowland scots — slightly later in time in the early modern period. here are some excerpts from Scottish Society, 1500-1800 related to the mobility and marriage ages of the lowland scots. both sound pretty standard for societies found behind the hajnal line [pgs. 52-53]:

Lowland Scotland was similar to England in that a high proportion of young, single men and women in rural areas left home in their teens to work as farm and domestic servants in other households. Until more detailed local studies are undertaken it is unclear whether Scottish servants left home at similar ages to their English counterparts or were younger. The origins of this system in England go back to late medieval times at least. In Scotland farm servants were too numerous in the sixteenth century for this group not to have existed at an earlier date…. Farm servants were common in Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides in the seventeenth century and presumably must have existed in other parts of the Highlands but it is not clear whether systems of hiring and mobility in these areas were comparable with the Lowlands. They were more frequent in lowland arable areas than in the pastoral uplands of southern Scotland. In Lowland Scotland, farm servants normally hired themselves out for a year, as in England and, as Houston has shown, they commonly moved from one master to another, though usually over limited distances….”

and pg. 127:

During the eighteenth century just over 20 per cent of women in a sample of Lowland parishes had never been married by the time they reached the end of their childbearing span. Those who married did so on average in their mid-20s, like most women in north-western Europe before the nineteenth century. There is some impressionistic evidence that in the Highlands and the Islands a marriage pattern closer to eastern or Mediterranean Europe prevailed with women marrying for the first time in their late teens. These estimates, based on literary sources, are not entirely reliable, though they are lent credence by the high birth rate in the region during the eighteenth century.”
_____

finally, one note from “In all gudly haste”: The Formation of Marriage in Scotland, c. 1350-­‐1600 — when the reformation came to scotland, the marriage laws were changed so that cousin marriage was permitted (similar changes were made in other protestant nations like germany). i don’t know if this led to an actual increase of cousin marriage in scotland or not. it may have, but then again it may not have. nowadays, it is rather ironic that protestant nations in europe, which generally do not forbid cousin marriage, have very low rates of consanguineous marriage, while roman catholic countries, where cousin marriage is banned at least by the church, generally have comparatively high rates (sometimes very high). here from “In all gudly haste” [pg. 112]:

[R]eformers altered the rules about incest and consanguinity to better reflect the values of their countrymen. The Marriage Act and the Incest Act were passed in 1567. The acts provided increased leniency to distant consanguinity by legalising first-cousin marriage in Scotland. However, they made close incest punishable by death for ‘the abhominabill, vile and fylthie lust of incest’ in relationships within the first degree. Although these were major changes in law, they did not represent significant changes in the attitudes and actions of the lairdly and noble classes, who had demonstrated similar feelings for a long time.”

previously: more on consanguinity in england (and scotland) and “culture” of honor and hatfields and mccoys

(note: comments do not require an email. moo.)

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72 Comments

  1. I would think as transportation methods became more advanced (just even animal paths), more people would out breed, especially in more difficult terrain. It’s a long hike over a hill or two. Much easier in low lands to hike five flat miles.

    From: https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/inbreeding-in-italy/

    (edit: i forgot to mention that i believe that the type of cousin marriage that is most common in sicily is cross-cousin marriage — that is either father’s sister’s daughter [fzd] …..

    You called it FZD?

    Reply

  2. @rjp – “I would think as transportation methods became more advanced (just even animal paths), more people would out breed….”

    yeah. might help in some instances. but think of the arabs today who all drive around in mercedes benzs and yet have cousin marrying rates of 50%+.

    people often have economic reasons for inbreeding (i.e. keeping the wealth in the family or not having to pay out so much of a dowry/brideprice) like the scottish clans above seem to have had. also, i think there’s often simply an element of custom: this is the way we’ve always done it so we’ll just keep on doing it this way.

    i think the lowland scottish areas were influenced by the situation in england. maybe ’cause some of those areas of scotland had been part of the anglo kingdom of northumbria. maybe just through having more contact with medieval england which had a very different socio-economic structure from clannish scotland. prolly they could also move away from the clan system, too, because they were in the lowlands and so could adopt the “new” medieval agricultural practices. maybe there were even manors in lowland scotland which operated like those in england — i don’t actually know.

    @rjp – “You called it FZD?”

    no, not me. (^_^) that’s the standard anthropology abbreviation for it. they abbreviate “sister” to “z” so as not to confuse it with “s” which stands for “son.” what can you do? (^_^)

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  3. @rjp
    “Much easier in low lands to hike five flat miles.”

    Yes, and generally higher population density also so there’s more potential mates within a five mile radius also. Then on top of that if the physical geography creates cultures which suit that environment the culture can then become a factor in itself even if the environment changes.

    @hubchik
    (Back to normal :) )

    Purely based on that map i think the Saxon terriotory may have been more of an enclave (centred around the Firth of Forth?) than a horizontal band as Stirling and Edinburgh are Saxon place names while Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen are Gaelic.

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  4. @g.w. – “Back to normal :)”

    well, i don’t know that i’d call myself normal, but the blog’s definitely back on track. (~_^)

    @g.w. – “[I]f the physical geography creates cultures which suit that environment the culture can then become a factor in itself even if the environment changes.”

    yeah, that’s it right there!

    @g.w. – “Purely based on that map i think the Saxon terriotory may have been more of an enclave (centred around the Firth of Forth?) than a horizontal band as Stirling and Edinburgh are Saxon place names while Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen are Gaelic.”

    you could very well be right. my red line there is very much an approximation of what i read on wikipedia, i.e. that the gàidhealtachd extended further south in the medieval period than today — although now that i look at the entry again, i shouldn’t have included galloway as part of the medieval gàidhealtachd (my border line should be a bit farther north). oops!

    edit: or maybe it is right. i dunno!

    it’s not fully clear to me where the anglo-saxons were in scotland. they definitely seem to have been on the south side of the firth of forth, but were they to the north of it as well?

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  5. I’ve pointed out the errors in this line of thinking before. You cannot assume that because somebody named “Smith” married somebody named “Cooper” in England circa 1400AD that this reflects less endogamous mating than two people named “MacPherson” marrying one another in Scotland in the same year. It merely reflects different ways of using surnames.

    There is zero evidence that people in England married people from a greater physical or genetic distance than did people in Scotland.

    The underlying assumption – that endogamous mating leads to lesser fitness/intelligence – is also highly dubious.

    Reply

  6. so, cousin marriage was common in the scottish highlands in the medieval period

    The passage you cite as support for this refers to the marriage practices among “chiefs”, aka aristocrats. The English aristocracy was also notably more inbred than the population of England at large, and for the same reason – they made marriages to make and reinforce alliances. The same is true aristocratic and royal families all over Europe. (And, I suspect, the world, though I don’t have any specific knowledge of that)

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  7. @hbd chick “let’s start with the clans up north ’cause they’re a lot of fun! ” I agree completely. All the nostalgic and intriguing things for me in Scotalnd come from the highlands. Some days I think that it would be nice to be a highlander or French or German or an islander or just about anything but Scotch Irish. We don’t have any “totems,” no tribal points or idendity, at least none that seem attractive to me. The Scottiss thistle, Enlish bulldog, Welch dragon, Irish harp, but we don’t have an icon. Even our name has been taken away. Other days I don’t care. Scotch Irish generally don’t.

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  8. @frank – “You cannot assume that because somebody named ‘Smith’ married somebody named ‘Cooper’ in England circa 1400AD that this reflects less endogamous mating than two people named ‘MacPherson’ marrying one another in Scotland in the same year. It merely reflects different ways of using surnames.”

    isonymy is obviously not as ideal as getting genetic samples from everybody in the population when you want to check for inbreeding, but it is a fairly good gauge and has been utilized successfully by researchers for quite some time now:

    Use of surname models in human population biology: a review of recent developments
    The estimation of inbreeding from isonymy

    re. surnames in england:

    What’s in a name? Y chromosomes, surnames and the genetic genealogy revolution
    Surnames and the Y Chromosome

    and there’s also this.

    @frank – “The underlying assumption – that endogamous mating leads to lesser fitness/intelligence – is also highly dubious.”

    that’s not my underlying assumption.

    @frank – “The passage you cite as support for this refers to the marriage practices among ‘chiefs’, aka aristocrats.”

    read the macpherson genealogy article that i linked to.

    @frank – “The English aristocracy was also notably more inbred than the population of England at large….”

    they were, indeed, more inbred than the population at large (according to g. darwin who came to that conclusion via an isonymy study!), but not enormously so. twice as much, yes — but the difference wasn’t an order of magnitude or anything like that.

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  9. @frank – also, i think you’re not considering the long-term mating histories of these two populations. a very large portion of the english — but not all (mainly the south and central) — had not been marrying their cousins since the 800-900s. during some centuries (1000-1100, iirc) they couldn’t marry anyone closer than their sixth cousins. not only were there church regulations banning cousin marriages, there were civil laws as well:

    “[M]arriage to any close kin was forbidden by the Church and its proscriptions were given legal sanction by Christian monarchs. In Anglo-Saxon England the punishment for breaking these rules was very heavy, namely slavery, with the man passing into the ownership of the king and the woman into that of the bishop.”

    this sort of outbreeding didn’t reach the highlands of scotland until, as we saw above, some time in the late medieval or early modern period.

    so the central/southern english had several hundred years of a head start on outbreeding compared to the highland scots. therefore, scottish cousins would’ve been, on average, more closely related genetically to one another than english cousins in 1400 a.d.

    Reply

  10. isonymy is obviously not as ideal as getting genetic samples from everybody in the population when you want to check for inbreeding, but it is a fairly good gauge and has been utilized successfully by researchers for quite some time now:

    I don’t think that simply restating your claims is terribly persuasive. It is an indisputable fact that surnames were (and still are) handled differently in different parts of the world. In England from the 13th century on people often took the names of the their occupation – Farmer, Baker, Smith, Cook, Miller etc. This was not the custom in Scotland or Ireland, where the total number of surnames in use remained much smaller and where in parts of the country just about every person you encountered might belong to one of four of five clans i.e. have one of four of five surnames. You cannot conclude on this basis that there was much more genetic intermixing occurring in England.

    If you rephrase that to “within a place with a common surname convention isonmy is a fairly good gauge of the degree of surname-based endogamy” then I’ll agree wholeheartedly.

    But attempting to compare the surname-based endogamy between places where surnames are derived in in different ways is impossible.

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  11. [M]arriage to any close kin was forbidden by the Church and its proscriptions were given legal sanction by Christian monarchs.

    Are you under the impression that Ireland and Scotland were populated by pagans at this time? The exact details of the civic law governing marriage varied somewhat between countries (as it still does today) and Ireland and Scotland did not adapt English civic law until their conquests by England. This conquest occurred much earlier in Ireland than in Scotland. But pre-conquest Ireland and Scotland had Christian monarchs and the Christian church, just as England did. Nobody was marrying “close kin”.

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  12. @frank – “Nobody was marrying ‘close kin’.”

    i’m sorry, frank, but you’re just wrong.

    please, read all the references i’ve given you — the ones above and the books i’ve referred you to by goody, mitterauer, macfarlane and others.

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  13. @frank – “It is an indisputable fact that surnames were (and still are) handled differently in different parts of the world. In England from the 13th century on people often took the names of the their occupation – Farmer, Baker, Smith, Cook, Miller etc.”

    the reason behind this is because the english (the anglo-saxons) were no longer clannish because they had quit inbreeding a few hundred years before. thus the switch of naming patterns. the clan name was no longer relevant. has happened elsewhere, too, like scandinavia where a switch happened in the later medieval period from clan names to adopting the name of the place where one lived.

    Reply

    1. @luke – “Were the Ulster Scots who settled the plantation (as they called it) recruited mostly from the border?” Yes, that’s what has always been said. When as a child (many a long year ago)I mentioned that our ancestors had obviously come from England, my mother gave me a look of withering scorn she almost never used. We were Rievers, although she didn’t use the word much. Robert Lee said he thought the best soldiers were those who “came from Scotland to Ireland and then to America. They have the verve of the Irish in taking a position and the stubbornness of the Scots in defending it.” Of course he, like most folk, was thinking we were some sort of mixture. My own reading of the genetic texts suggests more that we are a stone age remnant. Of course we made America happen. There were excellent scholars in New England (Congregationalists, East Anglia, some Viking blood) and brilliant officers and administrators in Virginia (Episcopalian, Wessex, some (just some) Saxon, the the honest, patient, non violent Quakers. But the drive was the Reivers. (“Hey. No king for thousands of miles. Let’s make that permanent.”) Yes, there were Blacks, too, but their contribution is almost never mentioned. Of the lot of them, the descendants of the Reivers and Blacks alone remain in substantial numbers.
      At least that’s what we used to say back in the olden days. And Albion’s Seed does not seem to contradict it.

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  14. @luke – “Were the Ulster Scots who settled the plantation (as they called it) recruited mostly from the border?”

    yup. if wikipedia is to be believed:

    “Their ancestors were Lowland Scottish and Northern English people, many being from the ‘Border Reivers’ culture…. Ulster-Scots were largely descended from colonists from Galloway, Ayrshire, and the Scottish Borders Country, although some descend from people further north in the Scottish Lowlands and the Highlands.”

    i think hackett fischer talked about this in Albion’s Seed, too, iirc.

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  15. ‘During the eighteenth century just over 20 per cent of women in a sample of Lowland parishes had never been married by the time they reached the end of their childbearing span.’

    Wow, one out of five, that really seems high. I’ve heard 10-20% average never married rate inside the Hajnal line, this seems to be the upper edge of that. I wonder what roles existed for all these unattached women at that time? Religious orders? Spinster aunts living with family? Working in unrelated people’s homes all their lives?

    Wiki says:

    The Western European pattern of late and non-universal marriage restricted fertility massively, especially when it was coupled with very low levels of childbirth out of wedlock.

    Many historians have wondered whether this unique conjugal regime might explain, in part, why capitalism first took root in Northwestern Europe, contributing to the region’s relatively low mortality rates, hastening the fragmentation of the peasantry and the precocious formation of a mobile class of landless wage-earners. Others have highlighted the significance of the late marriage pattern for gender relations, for the relative strength of women’s position within marriage, the “conjugal” dowry system of Northwestern Europe in which the dowry merged with the husband’s wealth and would thus grow or shrink depending on circumstances (perhaps an incentive for many women to work)…

    The Hajnal marriage pattern was so unusual (planetarily speaking) you really have to wonder from whence it sprang, and how much it shaped who NW Euros are today.

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  16. “it’s not fully clear to me where the anglo-saxons were in scotland. they definitely seem to have been on the south side of the firth of forth, but were they to the north of it as well?”

    Dunno, i just go by place-names, especially the simplest kind with an “ing” ending (which means “clan of” or “folk of”) attached to a personal name which i read were the oldest. I always assumed it was a sea-based invasion e.g. the firth of forth, separated from England by the mountains further south so they developed into a separate nation but speaking their own dialect of English – but it’s been 30+ years since i read a lot of dark age history so could be wrong. Either way i assume place-names will be a rough guide to the spread.

    Reply

    1. @Greying wanderer. “Either way i assume place-names will be a rough guide to the spread.” Maybe it’s true. But my experience in the South is that English names are a poor guide to English ancestry. They are a better guide to African ancestry.

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  17. @Frank
    “It is an indisputable fact that surnames were (and still are) handled differently in different parts of the world.”

    Yes, but WHY? hubchik has amassed a lot of evidence from all over the world that the root of the “why” relates to marriage customs – who could marry who.

    There’s a clear analogy between this and the changes in vocabulary defining different types of cousin.

    .
    @M.G
    “The Hajnal marriage pattern was so unusual (planetarily speaking) you really have to wonder from whence it sprang, and how much it shaped who NW Euros are today.”

    Yes, simply huge. It makes so much sense when you think of it. If genetics are a large part of the root of things then marriage customs must be a large part of the root of those genetics.

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  18. Wikipedia – “Ulster-Scots were largely descended from colonists from Galloway, Ayrshire, and the Scottish Borders Country”

    Hmm. I wonder the proportions. Galloway and Ayrshire are closest to Ireland. Do they count as border? I have Scots-Irish blood on mother’s side, though 3/4ths English all told (with a touch of German from the Rhineland and a few other traces) but somehow, growing up in the South it was always the Scots-Irish part that got the attention because the stories were wilder and more colorful.

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    1. @ Luke Lea “growing up in the South it was always the Scots-Irish part that got the attention because the stories were wilder and more colorful.” That sounds right to me. and I have never been very clear on where the border stopped and the Lowlands began. HBD chick’s map shows the border between lowlands and highlands sweeping right across Scotland over time, sort of the way the Scotch Irish moved into Indian territory.

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  19. 3 of my grandparents were from the Highlands. There were devout Presbyterians (one of my great uncles was a missionary in China for 20 years). In my family tree no one was marring their cousins during the 19th century. They tended to marry late (mid to late twenties) and to have large families.

    I think the Highlands must have started to get quite crowded in the 19th century, since improvements in health increased life-expectancy. My grandfather headed to Canada along with 3 brothers. Others in the family went to New Zealand. Canada was largely populated by Scots. The first Canadian prime Minister was a (drunk) Scot – John A. MacDonald (though he was from Glasgow, not the Highlands).

    Places in Canada are named for explorers of Highland extractions (the Mackenzie River named for Alexander Mackenzie, the Fraser River named for Simon Fraser) Here is a list of Scottish place names in Canada:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_place_names_in_Canada

    Even the Douglas Fir tree was named after a Scottish botanist.

    American HBDers tend to talk a lot about Scots populating the Appalachians. But they are much much more wide spread than that.

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    1. @melykin “American HBDers tend to talk a lot about Scots populating the Appalachians. But they are much much more wide spread than that” Lotta border Scots up them hills, too, and in the back country up north. The English kind up pushed us toward Indian country to we could be the one’s that gott massacred. There was no problem though. We got along fine until eventually we overran them, just like we’d overrun Scotland. Sorry about that. By rights the lowlands are yours. Buy you have to put your children somewhere, and we’ve had a lot of them.
      It’s the freckles. If people with freckles begin to move in, hunker down.

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    1. @ Greying Wanderer ” we’re talking about place-names in Scotland not personal names in the American south” Quite true. And we aren’t talking about Indian place names in Florida either, which aren’t much of a guide to the ancestry of people living in those places.

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  20. (This is not important to the post’s main point so apols for the distraction)

    Taking that map as a reference and briefly skimming the place-names (so maybe not 100% accurate) i’d say the probably saxon counties were
    – Roxburgh
    – Berwick
    – Haddington
    – Edingburgh
    – Stirling
    so a strip along the eastern coast turning west and following the south bank of the firth of forth up to Stirling, a bit like a reversed letter “r”.

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  21. apols again but i think these geographical distinctions between parts of Britain will prove to be fundamental to the thesis because of the earlier collection of data.

    This physical map

    shows the division of Scotland into three main zones : the southern uplands which create the geographical boundary with England, the northern highlands and the lowland belt mostly in the middle stretching up the firth of forth.

    (With the southern uplands of Scotland combined with the northern hill country of England collectively making “the Borders.”)

    The reason for making the distinction is if the theory is correct you would see the marriage pattern transitioning as you move through the zones north to south i.e. scottish highland clannish to scottish lowland non-clannish to scottish/english borders clannish again to central england non-clannish again.

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  22. “And we aren’t talking about Indian place names in Florida either, which aren’t much of a guide to the ancestry of people living in those places.”

    “And we aren’t talking Roman names in Briatain, where I understand there are few Romans.”

    Err…yes, the distribution of Saxon place-names in Scotland has nothing to do with the ancestry of the people living there now. No-one said it did.

    Place-names give a clue as to who lived there at the time the place-names were set so Indian place-names in Florida were set by the Indians when the Indians lived there and the Roman place-names were set by the Romans when they lived there and the Saxon place-names in Scotland were set when the Saxons lived there therefore they can be used to give a clue to their distribution at the time the names were set…not today.

    In itself it’s not important unless the distribution maps onto a different marriage pattern (which i think it will).

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  23. Hmm. Looks like the Beans originated in the highlands of Scotland. Got Keith lineage too on my father’s side. I didn’t realize I had those highland strains. My wife, who is Irish, has some pretty wild tribal ancestors too, the O’Donnells, who were among the last clans to be conquered by the English — and who, at one point, claimed to be “rulers of the world” (which, back then, just meant the county you lived in :). Parochiality. Ain’t it grand.

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  24. @linton – “When as a child (many a long year ago) I mentioned that our ancestors had obviously come from England, my mother gave me a look of withering scorn she almost never used.”

    (^_^)

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  25. @m.g. – “I wonder what roles existed for all these unattached women at that time? Religious orders? Spinster aunts living with family? Working in unrelated people’s homes all their lives?”

    i’ll have to go back and look at the book. there was a lot of talk about weaving in it, but now i don’t remember if that was the men or the women doing that (mind like a sieve!).

    @m.g. – “The Hajnal marriage pattern was so unusual (planetarily speaking) you really have to wonder from whence it sprang, and how much it shaped who NW Euros are today.”

    it really is totally unique, i think, and if the mating patterns behind the hajnal line don’t go a long way to explaining why nw europeans are so unique socially/culturally/politically in so many ways i’ll eat my hat! (^_^)

    i think it’s very much connected to the medieval manor system. where the manor system was introduced early enough — and lasted for the longest time — the clan systems were simply broken down and individuals just could not get married without a place on a manor. and that was controlled by someone else — someone unrelated to them, i.e. without an interest in seeing that everyone mated (your clan, otoh, is likely going to want to make sure that everyone gets a mate or two).

    the interesting question is how much of this hajnal line behavior got selected for? how innately reluctant to mate early are northern europeans?

    Reply

  26. @g.w. – “I always assumed it was a sea-based invasion e.g. the firth of forth, separated from England by the mountains further south….”

    ah, yes! that does make sense. forgot/didn’t think about the mountains. (^_^)

    @g.w. – “Either way i assume place-names will be a rough guide to the spread.”

    absolutely!

    Reply

  27. @luke – “Galloway and Ayrshire are closest to Ireland. Do they count as border?”

    i think that they do, yes. galloway, iirc, had a lot of norse settlement, too. dunno about ayrshire.

    Reply

  28. @melykin – “3 of my grandparents were from the Highlands…. In my family tree no one was marring their cousins during the 19th century.”

    that could very well be what the general pattern looked like, too, although i don’t know for sure at this point. the sources i referenced in the post talk about how the clans started to fade already in the late medieval/early modern period — even in the highlands. i wouldn’t be at all surprised if cousin marriage was largely gone in scotland by the 1800s. (funny how the law was changed in 1567 to allow cousin marriage, though — and i think that law is still standing on the books in scotland!)

    @melykin – “American HBDers tend to talk a lot about Scots populating the Appalachians. But they are much much more wide spread than that.”

    yes, you’re right. we ought to keep that in mind! maybe the scots/scots-irish in appalachia just stick in everyone’s minds ’cause the cousin marriage and unique clannish culture continued there for so long.

    Reply

  29. @g.w. – “i’d say the probably saxon counties were
    – Roxburgh
    – Berwick
    – Haddington
    – Edingburgh
    – Stirling
    so a strip along the eastern coast turning west and following the south bank of the firth of forth up to Stirling, a bit like a reversed letter ‘r’.”

    cool! thanks. (^_^)

    that pretty much fits with northumbria — although you’re stretched it a bit further into stirling maybe. -?- seems like the anglo-saxon northumbrians may have been in stirling, though:

    “It is supposed that Stirling is the fortress of Iuddeu or Urbs Giudi where Oswiu of Northumbria was besieged by Penda of Mercia in 655, as recorded in Bede and contemporary annals.”

    Reply

  30. @g.w. – “The reason for making the distinction is if the theory is correct you would see the marriage pattern transitioning as you move through the zones north to south i.e. scottish highland clannish to scottish lowland non-clannish to scottish/english borders clannish again to central england non-clannish again.”

    yeah, absolutely! i think that is what you see. or, rather, what i think we’re seeing is that, once the idea of outbreeding is introduced (by the church/princes), it takes hold first in the lowlands. eventually, because the political and economic systems just changed sooo much (by say the 1700-1800s), even the highlanders become outbreeders. just much later than way down south in southern england — and later than in the lowlands of scotland.

    in other words, there’s a general shift from inbreeding to outbreeding starting in the south of the island of britain and moving northwards, but certain upland areas (like the southern upland border areas of scotland-england) stuck to inbreeding for longer.

    edit: hmmmm. but maybe the anglo-saxons in scotland also started outbreeding early, too — like in the early medieval period. dunno.

    Reply

  31. “the interesting question is how much of this hajnal line behavior got selected for? how innately reluctant to mate early are northern europeans?”

    Yes, i’m wondering (based entirely on a couple of lines in Tacitus though so…) if the late marriage was quite an old thing which then later got reinforced by the church cousin marriage ban which then later got reinforced again by manorialism and which then later again got reinforced by the great urbanization brought on by industrialization (itself a consequence of the the earlier stages?)

    .
    “that pretty much fits with northumbria — although you’re stretched it a bit further into stirling maybe. -?-”

    Ah yes you’re right. For some reason i had a mental picture of them being more of a a separate enclave cut off from Northumbria – not sure where i got that idea from.

    Reply

  32. @melykin – “American HBDers tend to talk a lot about Scots populating the Appalachians. But they are much much more wide spread than that.”

    yes, you’re right. we ought to keep that in mind! maybe the scots/scots-irish in appalachia just stick in everyone’s minds ’cause the cousin marriage and unique clannish culture continued there for so long.

    ——————————————————————————-

    Maybe the Scots who went to Appalachia arrived much earlier than most of the Scots who came to Canada, before the highlanders were tamed by the Presbyterians. If they were isolated in Appalachia they may have been sort of stuck in the past, while the people who were still in the highlands got modernized before coming to Canada, New Zealand, etc.

    Reply

  33. About Scots in the Americas:

    Scottish Americans

    “American” Americans

    Scotch-Irish Americans

    Map of ethnicities in Canada (which includes a category “Canadian” to parallel the “American” ethnicity)

    From Scots – The Canadian Encyclopedia:

    Between 1770 and 1815 some 15 000 Highland Scots came to Canada, settling mainly in PEI, Nova Scotia (see HECTOR) and Upper Canada. Most of these immigrants came from the western Highlands and the islands of Scotland. They were almost exclusively Gaelic speaking and many were Roman Catholics. They congregated in agrarian communities in the new land and, in the early years of the 19th century, Gaelic was the third most common European language spoken in Canada. A few Highlanders were brought to the RED RIVER COLONY by the earl of SELKIRK, and other Scots from the fur trade moved with their Indian families to Red River after 1821. In all these communities Highland traditions were preserved and for many years they remained distinctive ethnic enclaves.

    After 1815 Scottish immigration increased in numbers, and the pattern altered. Scots from the Lowlands area, encouraged by the British government, joined Highlanders in coming to Canada. Some 170 000 Scots crossed the Atlantic between 1815 and 1870, roughly 14% of the total British migration of this period. By the 1850s most of the newcomers were settling in the PROVINCE OF CANADA rather than in the Maritime colonies. According to the 1871 census, 157 of every 1000 Canadians were of Scottish origin, ranging from 4.1% in Québec to 33.7% in NS.

    Reply

  34. “the interesting question is how much of this hajnal line behavior got selected for? how innately reluctant to mate early are northern europeans?”

    One has to wonder how the late marriage pattern and eventually the outbreeding got started in the first place. Was it just an accident of history in Western Europe, or was there something unique to the Germans that made them particularly inclined to embrace this system. There is no question that this process made NW Europeans distinct from all other peoples, but was there something about them to begin with that pushed them in this direction. For example, this is something I’ve found interesting, from M.G.’s blog:

    Tacitus’ ‘Germania’ (1st century AD) comes to mind:

    It is well known that the nations of Germany have not cities, and that they do not even tolerate closely contiguous dwellings. They live scattered and apart, just as a spring, a meadow, or a wood has attracted them. Their village they do not arrange in our fashion, with the buildings connected and joined together, but every person surrounds his dwelling with an open space, either as a precaution against the disasters of fire, or because they do not know how to build.

    Gehring again:

    […] the opposite tendencies among the Græco-Latins would serve to explain their abhorrence of solitude, their early building of cities, the social habits of their philosophers, and, as mentioned, their congregation in gymnasiums and salons.

    Which, oddly, coincides with Steve Sailer’s observation:
    …this guy was a hippie. He and the dozen or so other robe-wearing proto-hippies who hung around a German couple’s health-food store in Laurel Canyon called themselves “Nature Boys.” Hence the song’s odd title.

    Trying to figure out the story behind this weird anomaly led me to a 2003 article entitled “Hippie Roots & The Perennial Subculture” by Gordon Kennedy and Kody Ryan. They make the case for the origins of the hippie phenomenon in late-19th-century Germany: nudism, hiking (Wandervogel), health food, and the whole back to nature “life reform” business. It’s all more or less German.

    This helps explain an odd phenomenon I noticed while hiking with my father in the Hollywood Hills above Laurel Canyon in the 1960s-1980s: About one out of four people we’d pass on the trails would reply to “Good day” with “Guten tag” or a Nordic equivalent.

    And then there’s your own post on the origin of the German tribes who would become the English.

    One can’t escape the suspicion that there was something about these people that predisposed them to the path they took.

    Reply

  35. @melykin – “Maybe the Scots who went to Appalachia arrived much earlier than most of the Scots who came to Canada, before the highlanders were tamed by the Presbyterians. If they were isolated in Appalachia they may have been sort of stuck in the past, while the people who were still in the highlands got modernized before coming to Canada, New Zealand, etc.”

    could be! i don’t know the timings of these migrations. must check wikipedia…. (^_^)

    Reply

  36. @g.w. – “Yes, i’m wondering (based entirely on a couple of lines in Tacitus though so…) if the late marriage was quite an old thing….”

    tacitus said: “Sera iuuenum uenus, eoque inexhausta pubertas. Nec uirgines festinantur; eadem iuuenta, similis proceritas….” [rough google translation: “Late youths rigorous, and compared puberty. Not virgins hurried into marriage, the young man, and a similar stature….”]

    there’s been lots of debate about this very passage ever since hajnal noticed this late marriage pattern. the archaeological evidence, which is admittedly kinda scant at this point, suggests that early, not late, marriage was probably the thing for pre-christian germanic females (males might’ve been a different story):

    “The evidence from the Anglo-Saxon cemetaries shows that teenage girls were often buried in forms of dress that made them indistinguishable from adult women from about the age of twelve onwards. That would fit with a predictable, marriageable age from the very young teens onwards, which we know of from comparable societies.”

    i’m inclined to believe that the late marriage thing didn’t take hold in europe until the early medieval period. it’s so … weird. i have a hard time believing that basically pastoral tribes in pre-christian northern europe would’ve held off on mating when every year really counted fertility-wise back then.

    Reply

  37. @jayman – “Was it just an accident of history in Western Europe, or was there something unique to the Germans that made them particularly inclined to embrace this system.”

    yes. i agree with you and g.w. and m.g. who have all suggested at some point or another that there was “something” about the germans. (^_^) the question (for me anyway) just is: what was that something?

    g.w. said a long time ago (in a comments thread far, far away…) something about women having quite a lot of rights in pre-christian germanic society. i wonder if there’s something there. specifically, lines of descent in pre-christian germanic society were reckoned from both the paternal and maternal side. you weren’t just a member of your father’s clan (or sippe) — you were also a member of your mother’s clan as well. (unlike the arabs or even the chinese.) very familiar reckoning for those of us who follow nw european/english traditions today, no?

    i think there’s something there, but i haven’t been able to quite put my finger on it. need to read more about pre-christian germanic society! (^_^) but i do think that the germans were “predisposed” to adopting things like bans on cousin marriage and late marriage — or at least that their social system was not so rigid that those practices couldn’t be readily adopted. don’t know if there are any other societies so “loosely” structured that would compare. bushmen? dunno.

    Reply

  38. Jayman
    “Was it just an accident of history in Western Europe, or was there something unique to the Germans that made them particularly inclined to embrace this system.”

    It’s hard to think of a plausible sequence because of the evidence from graves hubchik has pointed out but otherwise i’d wonder if it was something to do with more recently being hunter-gatherers?

    Hunter-gatherers often seem to have quite exogamous marriage systems – which i assume developed to minimize inbreeding from their relatively low population densities? – and also methods of managing their population size e.g. late weaning. On the other hand pastoralist societies seem to be mostly the opposite and particularly strong examples of the endogamy-for-inheritance pattern.

    It’s easy to imagine a culture transitioning from hunter-gatherer to pastoralist and retaining elements of their recent hunter-gather past but it’s hard to imagine that gradually changing to the point of early marriage (according to the grave evidence) and then reversing back to late marriage again. If it wasn’t for that i’d be inclined to think it was somehow connected to the late arrival of (successful) agriculture in northern europe.

    It might still be something to do with that if an element of the earlier culture survived – attitude to women? – which provided a tendency which eventually overtook the endogamy-for-inheritance drive but it’s hard to imagine how.

    dunno

    The other thing i wonder about is specifically female infanticide as a form of population control (as opposed to general infanticide for physical disabilities). If female infanticide did develop for that purpose – and i don’t know what the academic view is on that – then the relatively late arrival of agriculture in northern europe might have something to do with late marriage developing as an alternative to female infanticide?

    If so you might expect it to have developed at a time of a population explosion which could be either the early hunter-gather to pastoralist population explosion (if that happened) or the relatively late heavy plow / manorialism population explosion?

    .
    hubchik
    “i’m inclined to believe that the late marriage thing didn’t take hold in europe until the early medieval period.”

    I have a general bias towards wanting the ancient writers to be proved correct which i have to fight a bit so yes the heavy plow population explosion – maybe in combination with a rejection of female infanticide as a population control mechanism (if that is what it is?) – does seem the simplest. If so the Germanic element would just be a correlation with the parts of Europe that got the most benefit from the heavy plow population explosion (which i think was the strip along the north european plain from eastern england to western poland centred around denmark / northern Germany).

    (mostly thinking aloud)

    Reply

  39. Another jumbled thought which might be related to this: apparently humans used to be taller and with larger brains (or at least skulls) on average before agriculture.

    I’d guess the standard explanation is diet – more protein etc – although nowadays i’d personally add different selective pressure including cultural ones like marriage systems.

    Anyway if pre-agricultural humans used to be a certain way and have changed over time partly due to diet and partly due to agriculture as a *process* then those populations who adopted agriculture the latest would have undergone that process for less time.

    Reply

  40. “It is an indisputable fact that surnames were (and still are) handled differently in different parts of the world.”

    i>Yes, but WHY? hubchik has amassed a lot of evidence from all over the world that the root of the “why” relates to marriage customs – who could marry who.I

    You seem to be claiming that marriage customs and surnames are tightly intertwined. I’m aware of no evidence for this. There’s a handy over-view of cousin marriage on wikipedia.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consanguineous_marriage

    Cousin marriage was legal in all States [in the United States] before the Civil War

    They seem not to have received the memo about the supposedly innate Anglo-Saxon revulsion towards cousin marriage.

    In Roman Catholicism, all marriages more distant than first-cousin marriages are allowed,[158] and first-cousin marriages can be contracted with a dispensation.[159] This was not always the case, however: the Catholic Church has gone through several phases in kinship prohibitions. At the dawn of Christianity in Roman times, marriages between first cousins were allowed. For example, Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor, married his children to the children of his half-brother. First and second cousin marriages were then banned at the Council of Agde in AD 506, though dispensations sometimes continued to be granted. By the 11th century, with the adoption of the so-called canon-law method of computing consanguinity, these proscriptions had been extended even to sixth cousins, including by marriage. But due to the many resulting difficulties in reckoning who was related who, they were relaxed back to third cousins at the Fourth Lateran Council in AD 1215. Pope Benedict XV reduced this to second cousins in 1917,[21] and finally, the current law was enacted in 1983.[159] In Catholicism, close relatives who have married unwittingly without a dispensation can receive an annulment.

    It is not the case that marriage law came from the individual kingdoms. Up until the Reformation it was set by the Church in Rome and was the same for all Christians, whether they lived in England or Scotland.

    Reply

  41. @Frank
    “They seem not to have received the memo about the supposedly innate Anglo-Saxon revulsion towards cousin marriage.”

    It’s straw men like this which make me think there’s no point discussing this with you. No one said there was an innate A-S revulsion towards cousin marriage. If you’d read the blog posts you’d know that the Catholic Church’s cousin marriage ban (along both the male and female line) has always been the prime candidate for what caused the relatively high level of outbreeding in western europe as a whole.

    The quibble is that there is a north-south or perhaps more accurately a core-periphery division in the degree of this outbreeding over time which suggests at least one other contributing factor. The current discussion is about what that second factor might be.

    .
    “You seem to be claiming that marriage customs and surnames are tightly intertwined. I’m aware of no evidence for this.”

    Well then you haven’t been reading all the blog posts about marriage customs based on surnames.

    Reply

  42. i’m sorry, frank, but you’re just wrong.

    No, I’m sorry but it is YOU who are wrong. If we use your definition of inbreeding which covers marriage between fourth cousins, then all of the US, England, and Europe engages in “inbreeding” today, and has done do for a very long time.

    The “no marriage between people closer than seventh cousins” rule was not an Anglo-Saxon innovation – it came from the Pope in the 11th century and applied to all Christians. And it was a rule of very short duration. Henry VIII made cousin marriage legal in England once he established the Church of England in 1534, and it has remained legal there ever since.

    Your claims about some special Anglo-Saxon opposition to cousin marriage cannot withstand even a casual examination of the historical record.

    Reply

  43. No one said there was an innate A-S revulsion towards cousin marriage.

    The quibble is that there is a north-south or perhaps more accurately a core-periphery division in the degree of this outbreeding
    .

    Ah. So its not an Anglo-Saxon thing at all and nobody is saying that it is. It’s a “north-south” thing, or a “core-periphery” thing, where “core” and “south” just coincidentally happen to line up with Anglo-Saxon England. Glad we cleared that up.

    “You seem to be claiming that marriage customs and surnames are tightly intertwined. I’m aware of no evidence for this.”

    Well then you haven’t been reading all the blog posts about marriage customs based on surnames.

    I have pointed out repeatedly the errors of fact and logic in the blog posts about marriage customs based on surnames, and nobody has even attempted to refute my points. It is a logical error to claim that people marrying other people with the same surname are inbreeding.

    the “why” relates to marriage customs – who could marry who.

    The “why” in “why surnames are handled differently” has nothing to do with cousin marriage. If they were connected in the fashion you are suggesting then we might expect a sharp increase in surnames when marriage out to the sixth cousin was prohibited, and a corresponding decrease in surnames when the cousin marriage rules were relaxed again. But we do NOT find that. In many countries we do not see a lot of surnames even after cousin marriage was restricted. And in countries like England which have allowed cousin marriage for the last five hundred years, we still see a very large number of surnames.

    The theory simply does not fit the facts.

    A number of people here seem to have contracted “Unz-itis” – the need to sledgehammer the data into the shape it needs to take to fit some preconceived theory.

    Reply

  44. @frank – “The ‘no marriage between people closer than seventh cousins’ rule was not an Anglo-Saxon innovation…..”

    i never said it was.

    @frank – “And it was a rule of very short duration.”

    ca. 200 years.

    Reply

  45. @frank – “So its not an Anglo-Saxon thing at all and nobody is saying that it is. It’s a ‘north-south’ thing, or a ‘core-periphery’ thing, where ‘core’ and ‘south’ just coincidentally happen to line up with Anglo-Saxon England.”

    no. no one is saying it’s “an anglo-saxon thing” except you, frank. when i refer to “core europe” around here, i’m referring to nw europe including: france (esp. northern), belgium, the netherlands, germany (esp. northern), northern italy and parts of england. possibly also scandinavia — or parts of it — like denmark and sweden.

    Reply

  46. @frank – “And in countries like England which have allowed cousin marriage for the last five hundred years….”

    allowed it, yes, but it didn’t happen with any great frequency (see g. darwin). there is a difference.

    @frank – “In many countries we do not see a lot of surnames even after cousin marriage was restricted.”

    it can’t be just restricted. it has to (mostly) stop — for long enough for clans to break down. you can’t have a case like southern italy where cousin marriage was technically restricted for hundreds of years but, nevertheless, 25%+ of the population married their cousins. then the extended family — and family names — are still going to be important to people.

    Reply

  47. @frank – “The theory simply does not fit the facts.”

    no, you’re simply not aware of the facts. again, please, please, please read the references i’ve given you: goody, mitterauer, macfarlane, ausenda, etc.

    (it is still a theory, though, with a small “t”. it might be wrong. “failure is always an option!”)

    Reply

  48. @frank – “If we use your definition of inbreeding which covers marriage between fourth cousins, then all of the US, England, and Europe engages in ‘inbreeding’ today, and has done do for a very long time.”

    all of the u.s. engages in inbreeding (marriage between fourth cousins) today? hardly! i don’t know what part of the u.s. you live in, but that’s not been my experience (having lived most of my life in a major metropolis).

    if we take england as an example, though — yes, perhaps many of them are marrying fourth cousins today if they marry the girl next door. but the point is, because there has been a general pattern of greater outbreeding for many hundreds of years now in england, those fourth cousins are much less related to one another than fourth cousins in a place where inbreeding has occurred for much longer — like saudi arabia. or the mountain populations of albania. or even the highlands of scotland.

    Reply

  49. @Frank

    hubchik was pointing to the Catholic Church cousin ban as at least one of the main reasons for the relatively low levels of consanquinity in Europe from the beginning. However the levels of consanquinity in those parts of Europe covered by the same ban aren’t the same so there would have to be at least one other factor. The late marriage system would fit the bill if the system wasn’t universally practised to the same extent behind the hajnal line but instead varied from place to place according to some pattern.

    “where “core” and “north” just coincidentally happen to line up with Anglo-Saxon England”

    Except they don’t and no one has said they did. Visually the area of difference is closer to being (with some exceptions) a set of concentric circles radiating out from the north european plain (where those circles also overlap with the area covered by the Catholic Church.)

    As that region more or less maps onto the ground zero for the heavy plow / manorialism that’s one candidate for what started the late marriage system. As that region also more or less maps onto the “Germanics” it’s possible there was some kind of distinctive cultural aspect to it instead of or as well as.

    In either case England is an outlier of the core region except there’s potential a third overlay which does highlight England (and those Dutch cities with their backs to the sea) which is relative security.

    .
    “I have pointed out repeatedly the errors of fact and logic in the blog posts about marriage customs based on surnames, and nobody has even attempted to refute my points.”

    Your original point was

    “You seem to be claiming that marriage customs and surnames are tightly intertwined. I’m aware of no evidence for this.”

    Then you haven’t been reading the blog posts which show how common a system it is around the world for populations to divide themselves into clans with their own surname and a simple rule that you don’t marry the same surname. It’s effectively a cousin ban but only calculated along the male line of descent i.e. a halfway house between actively seeking cousin-marriage and actively seeking to prevent cousin-marriage.

    .
    “It is a logical error to claim that people marrying other people with the same surname are inbreeding.”

    No it isn’t. It would depend on population density (which would generally be low in the times and places when these systems were most in use).

    .
    “If they were connected in the fashion you are suggesting then we might expect a sharp increase in surnames when marriage out to the sixth cousin was prohibited, and a corresponding decrease in surnames when the cousin marriage rules were relaxed again. But we do NOT find that.”

    You wouldn’t expect that among populations that had already adopted a non-clan based marriage system. Surnames in that case – even those which were originally clan surnames – would just be a label.

    Reply

  50. @g.w. – “As that region more or less maps onto the ground zero for the heavy plow / manorialism that’s one candidate for what started the late marriage system. As that region also more or less maps onto the ‘Germanics’ it’s possible there was some kind of distinctive cultural aspect to it instead of or as well as.”

    cool map! (^_^)

    there’s a connection between manorialism, that north european plain and the germanics, you know: the ostsiedlung, i.e. the spread eastwards of the manor system and the germans right across that plain.

    i’ve got a hunch that the ostsiedlung was for the germans what the medieval money-lending niche was for ashkenazi jews — really formative centuries in which a lot of interesting selection happened.

    Reply

  51. @hubchik

    yes, i’d prefer an earlier (tacitus time) cultural explanation as mobs of guys in chariots with spiky hair and tattoos is more fun :) but i think you’re right that the manorialism process is much more likely.

    Reply

  52. hubchik was pointing to the Catholic Church cousin ban as at least one of the main reasons for the relatively low levels of consanquinity in Europe from the beginning. However the levels of consanquinity in those parts of Europe covered by the same ban aren’t the same so there would have to be at least one other factor.

    Can you provided any evidence to support your contention that “the levels of consanquinity in those parts of Europe covered by the same ban aren’t the same”?

    And do NOT tell me “read hbd chicks posts on the matter”. That sort of mobius strip thinking is getting tiresome.

    The late marriage system would fit the bill

    There is no “late marriage system”. The age at which people marry varies with a large number of socioeconomic variables. Proximity to central Europe is not one of those variables. In 1960 the average American woman had her first marriage at 20. Today that has increased to 26.

    you haven’t been reading the blog posts which show how common a system it is around the world for populations to divide themselves into clans with their own surname and a simple rule that you don’t marry the same surname

    Perhaps such a rule existed in Ireland and Scotland 2000 years ago. But it did not exist in Ireland or Scotland after Christianity was introduced 1500 years ago. The “simple rule” you are claiming was in place was not in fact in place. This is not my opinion – it is an undeniable historical fact.

    Reply

  53. @frank – “Can you provided any evidence to support your contention that ‘the levels of consanquinity in those parts of Europe covered by the same ban aren’t the same’?”

    you’ve been given the references MULTIPLE times now. here they are AGAIN:

    goody, mitterauer, macfarlane, ausenda, greif, etc.

    if you insist on not reading them, please don’t enter into the discussion here anymore ’cause you’re wasting everyone’s time.

    Reply

  54. you’ve been given the references MULTIPLE times now. here they are AGAIN:

    They do not say what you claim they say.

    [edit: you’re going to have to be much more specific than that (i.e. quotes from the references supporting your statement), otherwise i’m going to assume you are trolling. – hbd chick]

    Reply

  55. That’s very interesting. My grt grt grt grt grandfather Robert was english born and emigrated to America in the 1700’s. I have since found through dna that I have a lot of Scotch/Irish in me. Robert’s son born in 1777 had two sons who married two McComas sisters. It was said that they were cousins. I found that odd, but from your article it would seem the old tradition continued in early America.

    Reply

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