linkfest – 09/30/12

Europeans did not inherit pale skin from Neanderthals“By analysing the genomes of 50 people with European ancestry and 70 people with sub-Saharan African ancestry, Beleza’s team could estimate when the three genes – and pale skin – first became widespread in European populations. The result suggested that the three genes associated with paler skin swept through the European population only 11,000 to 19,000 years ago.”

Is castration the secret to a long life?“Scientists believe they may have discovered the secret to longevity for men – but it comes at a painfully high price.” – yikes!

Inside the Cold, Calculating Libertarian Mind“[W]hen libertarians reacted to moral dilemmas and in other tests, they displayed less emotion, less empathy and less disgust than either conservatives or liberals. They appeared to use ‘cold’ calculation to reach utilitarian conclusions about whether (for instance) to save lives by sacrificing fewer lives. They reached correct, rather than intuitive, answers to math and logic problems, and they enjoyed ‘effortful and thoughtful cognitive tasks’ more than others do. The researchers found that libertarians had the most ‘masculine’ psychological profile, while liberals had the most feminine….”

Study: Having a Male Child Leaves Male DNA in Women’s Brains“The presence of the DNA persisted into old age and correlated with a slightly decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.” – original research article: Male Microchimerism in the Human Female Brain. see also greg cochran: Insidekick.

The Myth of Random Mating: Evidence of ancestry-related assortative mating across 3 generations in Framingham, MA. – via race/hist/evo notes.

Republican women judged more feminine than Democratic women – @the breviary.

Arab Autumn?“The Arab Spring, eighteen months on. Has a passion for freedom of speech, separation of religion and State, and the ‘free marketplace of ideas’ seized the Arab world?” – @those who can see.

Sex ratios of atheists, agnostics, and believers – from the awesome epigone.

The Leaks in the Pipeline Found? – jayman on the gender bias in science.

Couples who share the housework are more likely to divorce, study finds“Divorce rates are far higher among ‘modern’ couples who share the housework than in those where the woman does the lion’s share of the chores, a Norwegian study has found.” – hmpf. (^_^)

Mystery of Britain’s ‘Franken-mummies’“Two 3,000-year-old human skeletons dug up in the Outer Hebrides have been found to be a jigsaw of at least six different people who died hundreds of years apart.”

bonus: Cambridge librarian finds forgotten fungus Charles Darwin brought back on the Beagle (and it was still wrapped in his newspaper)

bonus bonus: The Weaker Sex“The sexual revolution’s legacy … ‘the paradox of declining female happiness.'”

bonus bonus bonus: Bitcoin ‘Pirate’ scandal: SEC steps in amid allegations that the whole thing was a Ponzi scheme

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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.
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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.”
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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

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more on consanguinity in england (and scotland)

below is a chart summarizing the findings from various consanguinity studies for england (and a couple for scotland). i’ve adapted catherine linley day’s chart which appears in her thesis [opens pdf] on pg. 245 (basically, i’ve added her findings, fleshed out darwin’s findings, and added a couple of others — i also divided the findings between north and south). most of these studies have drawbacks and lynley day goes through them all in detail on pages 245-250. click on image for LARGER view:

as you can see, and as i mentioned yesterday, the overall pattern seems to be that people in southern great britain have largely avoided cousin marriage since the 1500s (possibly as far back as the 1300s), while the people further north, not so much. if anything, cousin marriage increased in the succeeding centuries, particularly in the nineteenth (a general pattern for much of europe).

the sorts of cousin marriage rates we see for the english from the medieval period to the modern — ranging from 0.00 to 5.30 — are just not even in the same ballpark cricket pitch as other parts of the world like the arab peninsula or even southern europe. and they haven’t been. for centuries. the english, especially members of the southern subspecies, have apparently avoided cousin marriage like the plague.

there are gaps, i know. big gaps. more numbers would be nice, of course. further research is required. (~_^)

let me go through the list.

the first entry for fourteenth century ely. i posted about that here. fifty percent (50%) of all marriages in ely, cambridgeshire, in the 1300s were to people living outside of ely. hard to know if this means people were avoiding cousin marriage or not — people from ely could’ve been marrying their cousins living in other villages — but it’s likely, i think, that this means they were avoiding marrying close family members. at this point in time, the roman catholic church had banned cousin marriage up to and including third cousins, and as lynley day points out with regard to the second entry on the list (1500s england), for whatever reasons, medieval english people seemed to take these restrictions seriously [pg. 246]:

“Marriage dispensations from the reign of Henry VIII were used to estimate consanguinity (Smith et al. 1993). The results produced from these documents were surprisingly low (Table 6-4), with a total absence of 1st cousin marriages and a very low level of 2nd cousin marriages, even compared to modern studies. One possible explanation, as noted by Smith and his colleagues, is that the marriage dispensations may not reflect actual practice, although anecdotal evidence suggests that there was a real aversion to close consanguineous marriage in the mediaeval period (Smith et al. 1993). Another explanation proffered is that marriage dispensations were almost exclusively the preserve of the rich, and that the poor and labourers did not avail themselves of the system (Smith et al. 1993).”

the third item on the list is lynley day’s study which i posted about yesterday. the next is bramwell’s study for shropshire. bramwell used george darwin’s techniques to calculate cousin marriage rates in that county by looking at surnames. his results are not far off lynley day’s and so, i’d guess, are probably fairly accurate. the same can be said for darwin’s results (which i posted about here).

pearson’s hospital study involved checking for consanguinity between the parents of sick children. while consanguineous couples might have more sickly children on average compared to the rest of the population, pearson’s finding of 1.3% first cousin marriages for londoners of the time also seems to fit well with the other findings. he attempted to double-check his results by surveying the readers of the british medical journal (bmj), but he may have gotten a skewed response (only persons married to cousins responding) and/or many of the readers at the time may have been from the upper classes. one or both of those may account for the high (for england) 4.69% first-cousin marriage rate that he found.

the next study, bell’s study of hospital patients across england, had the same methodology as pearson’s, but found a slightly lower consanguinity rate. but the late nineteenth century/early twentieth century (when the study was conducted) is just the point when consanguinity rates started to drop across europe after peaking between 1875-1915, so that may account for the lower rates.

smith’s study of the records of the society of genealogy members probably has a slight bias towards middle-/upper-class folks who, as g. darwin showed, tend to have slightly higher consanguinity rates in england (and elsewhere, too, i think). finally, the study of consanguinity rates in twentieth century reading by coleman can be found here.

previously: consanguinity in england – north vs. south and but what about the english? and cousin marriage rates amongst nineteenth century english and english jews and exogamous marriage in medieval england and invention of the modern world

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traditional family systems in medieval britain and ireland

remember emmanuel todd’s traditional family systems, 1500-1900? here they are again:

i wanted to try to extend this map back to the medieval period. here’s what i’ve got for the british isles after the arrival of the anglos, saxons and jutes (and frisians?) and after they converted to christianity. so, ca. 800-900s to maybe the 1200s. something like that (see color key above – note that i haven’t updated areas outside the british isles to reflect what was going on in those places during the medieval period):

pretty much all of ireland remained having todd’s endogamous (patriarchal) community families throughout the middle ages. in fact, todd is somewhat misleading in including ireland as a stem-family country between 1500-1900 since apparently the stem family didn’t really appear in ireland until after the 1850s. hmmmm.

western regions of britain — western scotland, wales and cornwall — also stuck with the endogamous community family system throughout the middle ages. so did the peoples in the anglo-scottish border areas — the border reivers. in fact, they were clannish right up through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries — at least! — when many of them emigrated to what would become the u.s.

east anglia and kent, as we recently saw, also had community families in the medieval period, but they (i think) married out more, so they would be classified as exogamous community families. joint families were common in medieval east anglia and kent, but not so much crazy, infighting clans. there was also little manorialism in east anglia and kent compared to central england, but more than in places like scotland or ireland. remember that the manor system relied on nuclear families and, coupled with the oubreeding demands of the christian church, manorialism broke down genetic relatedness and extended family systems in the population.

the heartland of manorialism in england was central englandmercia and wessex. this is where there was the greatest number of manor estates — the most tenant farmer peasants and others bound to the land in service to a manor — the hardest push for outbreeding and nuclear families. interestingly, this is where hackett fisher’s cavaliers and indentured servants came from, sorta maintaining in the new world the ages old tradition of masters and servants from this region of britain.

i may not be right in delineating central england as having “absolute nuclear families” during the medieval period. perhaps they had more stem families, i’m not sure. what they definitely didn’t have, though, were extended community families of any sort.

not sure what was going on in northeast scotland.

sometime between the middle ages and the modern period, the community family systems disappeared (for the most part) and nuclear and stem families became the norm throughout the british isles.

previously: todd’s family systems and the hajnal line and emmanuel todd’s absolute nuclear family and east anglia, kent and manorialism

(note: comments do not require an email. caerlaverock castle, scotland. cool.)