So, maybe I was off base about first cousin marriage in rural Maine being rare. Most of the time people did not marry someone with the same last name, but at other times, it obviously just didn’t matter to them. The current laws in Maine prohibit first cousin marriage, unless you obtain a physician’s certificate indicating that you have received genetic counseling prior to the wedding.
A lot of families had numerous children over the course of 20 years or more, sometimes with more than one spouse. Death from childbirth was a real threat for young women and the widowed men would invariably marry their dead wives’ younger sister. The children born of these unions, would be half-siblings and also cousins to each other. Tracing the ancestry of thousands of people would be too time-consuming and of no historical value to this chronicle.
I found inconsistencies with the names of some people, having them change each time a new record was created, i.e. Census, marriage and birth records. Other events, such as May-December or multiple marriages ending in divorce, extra-marital affairs and illegitimate children are all noted. The list kept growing and now includes the lack of providing care for your family and crimes against children.
I have researched dozens of families in recent years and have yet to find another with so many documented transgressions. All the other families pale in comparison to the Whitings regarding moral conduct. It may seem unfair to blame the ancestors for the bad behavior of the present generation, but this is where “Nature vs. Nurture” collide.
The debauchery and degradation transcend time, unravelling in a continuous thread for five generations, spanning 150 years. The names are different but the actions remain the same. Locations have changed now, spreading the denial along the East Coast from Maine to Florida.