Well-known Whitman couple discovers they are distant cousins after birth of first child


Illustration by Elena Kaminskaia

Maddie Ott, all 'bout baby talk

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of your first child being born, mixed with the shocking realization that your baby daddy and long-time partner is related to you on your mother’s side. Unsuspecting, and mostly innocent, this Whitman couple was shocked to learn that their family trees actually intersected three generations prior. 

Upon their first couple of years dating in college, everyone just thought that they were attracted to each other because they looked radically similar. Healthy, thick, dirty blond hair mixed with high cheekbones, ruby red lips and crisp blue eyes just seemed like normal qualifications for being attractive at Whitman College. But boy, oh boy was this couple stunned — nay, flabbergasted — when their child was born with a terrible birth defect: hemophilia. 

For those who are not well versed in inbreeding, hemophilia is a birth defect that can occur in children in which their blood fails to clot when they have been cut. This stunned Whitman couple decided that it was urgent to take their child to a genealogist, and perhaps a doctor, to assure themselves that their beloved child would not be drained of blood.

Once the results were in from the child’s 23andme, it was immediately obvious that his parents — the committed Whitman couple — were actually second cousins, twice removed. 

Somehow, in all their years of dating, looking and dressing the same, their close friends and family failed to point out that relation might be in question. To some, this obvious fact seemed unsurprising. However, others have failed to heed this mistake and continue to date someone that might, in the end, turn out to be their twin separated at birth.