A Facebook group called Memories of New Jersey has people pulling out pencil and paper trying to decipher a complicated family relationship. In full disclosure, I even get lost with second cousins twice removed. So I’m probably the worst person to attempt to untangle this and by all means, feel free to laugh at my expense.

The following post recently appeared.

Long ago, in 1889, this news item appeared about Red Bank, NJ. Let’s try to unravel this twisted family tree. For simplicity, I’m removing names. Let’s say a 14 year old girl marries a 56 year old man. A few years prior the girl’s father had married the man’s daughter.

Article says this means the 14 year old then becomes her father’s step-mother-in-law. But then it says the 14 yr old’s husband’s daughter who married the 14 yr old’s father also became his step-mother-in-law.

Are they saying both girls are the step-mother-in-law of the man who married the daughter of the man who married the 14 year old? That’s how it reads to me. Or are they saying each girl is the step-mother-in-law of the other man?

Then it says each man is the other’s father-in-law. That much I get. But doesn’t all this also mean that the 14 year old is now her own step-mother’s step-sister?

No. Wait.

The girl who married second already had the other woman as her step-mother, so once she married that woman’s father...

Yes! That would also be her step-sister. Right?

Now what if the 14 year old has a baby. The baby’s mother will also be his step-aunt? Or not at all? The other woman definitely would be his step-aunt as well as the baby’s step-grandmother. His blood grandfather would be both his step-grandfather as well as his blood grandfather? Or not even.

My God. A story like this could bring Ancestry.com to its knees!

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