When you read the fact about the Icelandic incest app you may have thought it was a joke, or you may have even had a chuckle at the idea. You probably even initially thought to yourself how many people really marry a cousin? Well it would appear that quite a few people do. To be precise, around ten percent of all marriages from all around the world are between cousins. To fall within the guidelines of a cousin it is commonly accepted that both people will share at least one grandparent.
Cousin marriages were very common in nearly all societies throughout history. It was especially an extremely common practice in royal families. In the west they have fallen from favour, and are now frowned upon. In many Middle Eastern countries marriages between cousins are the accepted norm, with the marriage between cousins accounting for up to half of all marriages.
While marriage between cousins is legal and accepted in many parts of the world, it is not recommended. The inbreeding can cause mutations and birth defects which can have horrendous results.
Many famous and infamous people from history have been married to their cousin, or were the children of such marriages. Read the short list below and you may be surprised at some of the entries.
- Adolf Hitler’s parents were second cousins (probably the most dramatic result from the marriage between cousins)
- Outlaw Jesse James married his first cousin Zerelda “Zee” Mimms and they had two children
- Charles Darwin married his first cousin Emma
- Johann Sebastian Bach to his second cousin on his fathers side
- Thomas Jefferson married his third cousin
- Albert Einstein married his second cousin Elsa
- Jerry Lee Lewis married his cousin who was only 13 at the time
- Rudy Giuliani married his second cousin in 1968, and they divorced in 1982