Black sheep - incestuous relationships?

+3 votes
Whilst cleaning up some categories I came across these profiles which list the uncategorized category 'incestuous relationship'. Does it deserve a new category in itself (within the Black Sheep project), or would it be better fit into another?
in The Tree House by Raven Manners G2G6 Mach 2 (22.8k points)
I don't think so, too much incest never made it to any sort of court or action, and Black Sheep have to have some sort of notoriety.

5 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer
Personally I don't believe there should be a category of this kind linked to the Black Sheep Project - this is not one of the official black sheep categories identified by IBSSG.    This defines "black sheep" for Wikitree purposes.  I don't see where incestuous relationships would sit.
by Leigh Murrin G2G6 Mach 3 (32.2k points)
selected by Raven Manners
I would think that the Black Sheep project, which heads this group of categories, should have a strong influence over whether such a category is created.
Yes - I am one of the project leads and I am not in favour as it does not meet the criteria for Black Sheep as defined by the project parameters.
It might be good to add a sentence or two on the Black Sheep main category page as to what kinds of sub-categories are dis-favored and why!
+5 votes
Looking at these particular profiles, perhaps the best category for them would be "Extreme Public Embarrassment".   This is based on the story of what happened to these individuals.   I still stand by my position that incestuous relationships of themselves should not be a category linked to the Black Sheep Project for the reasons I gave above.
by Leigh Murrin G2G6 Mach 3 (32.2k points)
Extreme public embarassment suggests something humorous (in retrospect) like your pants falling down while being presented to the Queen.  I don't think embarassment is the proper term for something which primarily reflects the abuse of one person by another.
I suggested this category in this instance because of the information contained in the profiles only.  Extreme Public Embarrassment is a highly subject criterion and we have debated before in the project as to whether it adds anything to genealogical research to have a category like this.

I agree below with the comments you made about the purpose of categories  should be primarily to further genealogical research and a general category of "incest" would not help anyone.
+6 votes was convited and executed for his crime.  He is the black sheep.  He fits in the IBSSG Convicted felons (documented) category.

by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (575k points)
edited by Peter Roberts
That was my thinking--if said relationship resulted in felony prosecution, then a convict is eligible for a Black Sheep category. Not because of the incestuous relationship, but because they were found guilty of a felony (which happened to be incest).
+6 votes
I would not create a separate category.  I think there are two points to make here.  

First, the major question with respect to creating any category is, "What genealogical purpose does it serve?"  Categories are meant to be clicked on to see who else is in the category.  If you did that with an "incestuous relationship" category, how would it help you do genealogy to see other people  with incestuous relationships? If there's no point in clicking on the category title, there's no point in having it.

Secondly, having a title like "incestuous relationships" suggests that this is simply something odd or embarassing that two people did.  The fact is, the vast majority of incestuous relationships are abusive, with a perpetrator and a victim.  It happens, and children are born, and so it affects genealogy and genes and DNA.  And it will show up in the data field that Susie's biological parents are brother and sister.  But the details belong in the biographical narrative where the facts can be presented with some degree of sensitivity and if there are additional facts they can be presented as well.
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (368k points)
Well, in relation to your first question, how would the existing category 'adulterers' support genealogical research? It is a similar category (i.e. sexual deviance).

Your second question/point supports an answer to your first question: "It happens, and children are born, and so it affects genealogy and genes and DNA." This seems reason enough to make this a category, especially if any resultant children do NOT have their true parents named. This might aid genetic genealogical research, just as the 'adulter' category might. Raising the fact first of all helps researchers consider the possibility of a non-paternal event and may indeed help guide them where to look.
I looked at Category: Adulterers and it has two profiles attached to it at the moment.  Both profiles have one or more sources to which the reader is directed but neither has a biographical narrative outlining the life of the person and neither has documentation of specific facts, including the fact of adultery.  I personally don't believe categories should be used at all until a profile has a biography and documented facts which support the category.

The most public adulteries are those of medieval European monarchs, in which the lists of children include both the legitimate and the legitimate. If the category "Adulterers"  were useful, it would need to be applied to all of these monarchs, but we already know that they had documented children out of wedlock.  And the older definition of adultery applied only to non-marital sex when the woman involved was a married woman and therefore her husband's right to know who his heirs were was the actual object of the crime.

In my life outside of genealogy as a church pastor, I am sometimes privy to the confidences of other people, and based on that, my impression would be that a majority of instances of actual adultery are unreported and unknown to the public, so the Category: Adulterers would by definition only include instances that are public -- which would not add much to the study of genealogy.

The most effective research into biological parentage in today's world is happening through DNA analysis and the discover of "non-paternal events" in centuries old genealogy where the y-DNA suddenly undergoes a total change, and one can imagine that a secret some poor woman thought she had carried to her grave is suddenly exposed to light.
Adultry/Adulterers as a category would be much too socially contraversial for wikitree purposes.   What everl benefit that could be gained from such would be over ran by arguments and disagreements. What exactly is adultery? Who gets to decide?  The catholic church says  divorce is not allowed.  Anyone who divorces and remarries is in effect committing aduletry.  There are millions of non-catholics who I am sure will disagree.  Mormons are another example. (FLDS)  Also there have been many cultures throughout time where the practice of having more than one wife simultaneously was accepted as normal. What about surrogate mothers? Adulterers?  Then there is good ole Henry the 8th of England who used Adultery as an excuse to rid himself of wives he had grown tired of so he could move on to the next one.
Yeah,  that old saying "Mama's baby is Papa's....maybe"  has become obsolete thanks to DNA testing.
+2 votes
The term Incestous Relationships  as a category title could be improved upon to reflect a better representation of  a subject that contains sensitive  information about a taboo practice which very often also includes the molestation of children.   It is not anyone here at wikitree's  intent to expose  a creepy uncle  or to label anyone as a victim that could cause them to become a social pariah,

Perhaps we could go with a title that  focuses on 'Inbreeding" and the  historical  practices that were deemed acceptable and harmless  at that time in history but which we now know better thru medical research and technology.   A good example would be the ancient egyptians and also the royal families of Europe.
by Joy Jernigan G2G4 (4.8k points)
Inbreeding would have nothing to do with Black Sheep project, and would be of limited use since the only ones outside fairly modern times that could be tracked are royalty etc.  Pedigree collapse happens a lot, and some can be considered inbreeding.
Speaking of which, a Pedigree Collapse or Endogamy sticker might actually be useful--to alert any descendants of that fact. Whether it was incestuous or not is largely irrelevant to genealogists, but pedigree collapse is relevant. For one thing, it can mess with relationship estimates, making them seem closer than reality.

I was thinking sticker (vice category) because the fact that an individual shows evidence of collapse is important, but the grouping of that individual with others is not very helpful. Such a sticker might have variables for broad classes of reasons, such as endogamy found in royal families, tightly-knit communities, etc. If the best way to implement a sticker is to have it send to a Category, then so be it.

If enough people think it's useful, I could post a separate G2G question/suggestion on it.

lol, Eric, if you were able to see my tree you might think otherwise, pedigree collapse is quite frequent so a sticker would be showing up on half the planet at some time.  Mine is more of a pedigree implosion at one point in time.  laugh

Ah, good point. I've only got it in 1/8th of my tree (thus far) ;)

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