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To many, Morgan included, cousin marriage, and more specifically parallel-cousin marriage, was a remnant of a more primitive stage of human social organization. Briggs appointed a commission to study "idiots" in the state, and this study implicated cousin marriage as responsible for idiocy.
people with a common grandparent or people who share another fairly recent ancestor).
Opinions and practise vary widely across the world.
This led to a gradual shift in concern from affinal unions, like those between a man and his deceased wife's sister, to consanguineous unions.
By the 1870s, Lewis Henry Morgan (1818–1881) was writing about "the advantages of marriages between unrelated persons" and the necessity of avoiding "the evils of consanguine marriage", avoidance of which would "increase the vigor of the stock".
Some scientists contend that the risk is relatively small at 5%, compared with a 3% risk for children whose parents are not genetically related.
Cousin marriage has often been chosen to keep cultural values intact, preserve family wealth, maintain geographic proximity, keep tradition, strengthen family ties, and maintain family structure or a closer relationship between the wife and her in-laws.
Many such marriages are arranged (see also pages on arranged marriage in the Indian subcontinent, arranged marriages in Pakistan, and arranged marriages in Japan).
Writers such as Noah Webster (1758–1843) and ministers like Philip Milledoler (1775–1852) and Joshua Mc Ilvaine helped lay the groundwork for such viewpoints well before 1860.
In some cultures and communities, cousin marriage is considered ideal and actively encouraged; in others, it is subject to social stigma.Cousin marriage is common in the Middle East, for instance, where it accounts for over half of all marriages in some countries.