I've known my whole life that my grandparents were cousins.
Yes, I said it outloud(?), my grandparents were related to one another before getting married. (insert GASP). Now everyone can proceed to determine that YES I live Georgia, the south, the capitol of backwards southerness and inbreeding. If you are a stero-typing butthead, yes, that is true. Fortunately for me, I never truly knew the entire background of this related-ness until now. NOW, I know that I am actually more inbred that I ever thought. My grandparents are 3rd cousins! Here's a little snippet of my family tree (names have been changed to protect the not so innocent).
Yes, my family tree branches out and then reconnects. Clearly this is not normal. Clearly this is a bit weird. Clearly this is disturbing. Joseph and Samantha are brother and sister, farther down the line Joseph's grandaughter WENDY marries Samantha's grandson GEORGE. Well, folks, Wendy & George are MY grandparents.
The funniest part is that I believe that my ancestors were so completely whack that the whole process of crossing the branches, so to speak, may have actually straightened some things out. In the history of my grandparents, their siblings, their children and children's children and so on.....well, I think we are by far the most blessed. There is a terrible history of bi-polar and thyroid disease going down the line, horrible arthritis that attacks very young, fertility issues, heart disease, severe asthma and cancer. Thankfully my immediate family has been able to dodge a lot of bullets healthwise, KNOCK ON WOOD. Personality issues, I think my family is pretty lucky as well - I've seen some real nut jobs at extended family reunions.
Besides this inbreeding, I think it is really cool that I am able to trace my family back to 1766. This is all thanks to my great uncle who did all of the research before dementia took him away from us, mentally. If I had just ONE more generation back I would be able to see if I was a Daughter of the American Revolution. I think it would be really cool to know what heroic things my great, great, great, great, great grandfather did to help shape our history. SOMEDAY, when I have some time, I hope to dive a little deeper. For now, just please don't judge me and pray that my grandchildren don't have arms growing out of their ears........