Do you know all your cousins? How about all your second cousins? The third cousins? The fourth cousins? Most people not know their extended relatives out to fourth or fifth cousins. These relatives may or may not have the same last name as yours, depending upon whether or not the cousin is on your paternal or maternal side.
When you pick a mate, how do you know that the two of you are not related? If you do not know all of your extended cousins, how do you know that you are not marrying "within the family?"
Of course, if we go back enough generations, all human beings are presumed to be related. However, the belief is that millions of people unwittingly marry cousins: their third, fourth, fifth or even more extended cousins.
A few years ago, Megan Smolenyak married Brian Smolenyak. In fact, Megan now uses her maiden name as her middle name: Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak. Megan and Brian also discovered that their Smolenyak ancestors came from the same small village in Slovakia, in eastern Europe. It sounds like they must be related, right?
Not quite. Indeed, there is more to the story. Megan, Brian and Megan's father
George tell their story in a RootsTelevision video. They describe their DNA testing and their visit to the ancestral village in Slovakia. I found the story to be very interesting. You can view the same video at: http://www.rootstelevision.com/blogs/megans-rootsworld/2008/01/did_i_marry_my_cousin.html.