It is easy to get lost in my research, in the fluid motions of entering names and dates. It is more difficult to slow down and evaluate each fact that I am entering. I have more than once entered the fact for a marriage between Helen Henderson Kay and her husband James Ruben Waybrant. I knew that both surnames were familiar and that both were a part of my maternal family lines. More than once, I have seen surnames, some just similar others exact, cross paths, I knew that it was a little strange to see the Waybrant and Kay surnames on the same marriage record, but I also knew that the couple marrying were not my direct ancestors, so I entered the information and put the record aside with the intention of researching it further at a later date.
The other day, my curiosity got the better of me and I started my research. What I found was quite interesting. James Ruben Waybrant, the son of Phillip Henry Waybrant and Ann Splann, is the half-brother of Arminia A. Waybrant, the daughter of Phillip Henry Waybrant and Catherine Kay Britten. on, 2/15/1888, James Ruben Waybrant, born 3/10/1867, married Helen Henderson Kay who is the daughter of Arminia A. Waybrant and Alexander Kay.
Hopefully, I haven't confused you too much. The conclusion is that James Ruben Waybrant married his half-niece Helen Henderson Kay, born 8/6/1867, the daughter of his half-sister Arminia A. Waybrant. There were 31 years between James and his half-sister Arminia. The chart below will give you a more visual explanation.
Revised Statutes of 1846 (EXCERPT)
Chapter 83. Of marriage and the solemnization thereof
A man shall not marry his mother, sister, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, stepmother, grandfather's wife, son's wife, grandson's wife, wife's mother, wife's grandmother, wife's daughter, wife's granddaughter, brother's daughter, sister's daughter, father's sister, mother's sister, or cousin of the first degree.
551.4: Incapacity; persons woman prohibited from marrying
A woman shall not marry her father, brother, grandfather, son, grandson, stepfather, grandmother's husband, daughter's husband, granddaughter's husband, husband's father, husband's grandfather, husband's son, husband's grandson, brother's son, sister's son, father's brother, mother's brother, or cousin of the first degree.
By the 1870s, beliefs were changing to reflect the advantages of marriages between unrelated persons. By the 1880's 13 states and territories had passed laws prohibiting the marriage of cousins. During this period thru the mid-1920s, the number of bans had more than doubled. Since that time, the only three states to add this prohibition have been Kentucky in 1943, Maine in 1985, and Texas in 2005.