Monday, September 07, 2020

JSTOR resources during COVID-19 | About JSTOR

JSTOR resources during COVID-19 | About JSTOR:
Expanded free access for everyone through December 31, 2020 26 journal archives in Public Health 6,000 selected journal articles related to COVID-19 — articles cover important topics such as coronavirus, communicable disease control, distance education, health surveillance, and more. Free read-online access has expanded from six to 100 articles per month.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

A shirt-tail cousin, and other relationship terms

About 45 years ago I had a letter from a distant cousin on the Growdon side of the family, Monica Louise Deragowski of New Orleans in the USA. In her letter she referred to someone as a "shirt-tail cousin", and somebody else as a "kissing cousin". Those terms were unfamiliar to me, and I wondered what they meant but was too shy to ask her, even in a letter. For what it's worth she was my fourth cousin, but I wasn't sure if that made me a shirt-tail cousin or a kissing cousin. She died many years ago.

Over the years since then I've tried to find out what those terms meant, but most of the people I asked didn't know, and even web searches didn't provide a definite answer. Definitions I found were vague, and it seemed that other people were as puzzled by the term as I was -- see here A Shirt-tail Cousin | SmallTownWordNerd:
“I think he might be a shirt-tail cousin of mine,” my Dad said during a conversation about someone in town whose last name is Jaeger (as opposed to Jager). This discussion took place during my recent trip back to my hometown of Devils Lake, North Dakota, for Christmas. Shirt-tail? Say what? My Dad always seems to come up with words I haven’t heard before, or at least haven’t heard for a very long time. For example, garlic toes, which resulted in a blog post back in 2012 about making pickles with him.
But earlier this week I I was reading a doctoral thesis for which I am external examiner, and there I found the word used authoritatively by someone for whom it is a part of their active vocabulary. He was discussing two people who were first cousins once removed of the same person, but one was related to that person through his mother's side and the other through his father's side, and so they were cousins of the same person, but not blood cousins of each other. That kind of relationship, he said, was a "shirt-tail cousin". People who are cousins of the same person, but not of each other. In other words, a shirt-tail cousin is a cousin by marriage. So Monica Louise Deragowski's husband was a "shirt-tail cousin" to me.

Monica Louise Deragowski nee Growden
I've always referred to that kind of relationship as a "cousin-in-law". But, now that I know what it means, "shirt-tail cousin" will do as well. It will also do for the daughter of the first husband of the wife of my wife Val's third cousin once removed, who is a friend on Facebook. I've referred to her as my step fourth cousin-in-law, but "shirt-tail cousin" will do as well.

Now I just have to find out what "kissing cousins" are. I've had conflicting information on that. Some say they are cousins close enough to greet with a  kiss, and others that they are cousins distant enough to marry, should the kissing get enthusiastic enough. And in these days of Covid-19 you don't greet any cousins with a kiss anyway.

Kinship terms can be confusing as they vary from place to place and from culture to culture, even within the same family. Once you start moving into other languages, it becomes even more confusing. Zulu, for example, has no term to translate the English term "uncle". If it's your mother's brother, it's umalume. If it's your father's elder brother, it's ubaba, which is the same as "my father", but if it's your father's younger brother it's uyihlokazi, which translates back into English as "your aunt". And I've probably got some of the nuances wrong, for which somebody who knows more Zulu than I do please correct me!