Double First Cousins Meaning Explained Through The Whitaker Inbred Family Tree

By Priyadarshi Nepal | 21 February 2023 09:33 AM

The Whitaker family members (L-R) Betty, Lorene, Timmy, and Ray at the parking lot of Walmart
Source : youtu

Double first cousins share same sets of their grandparents from both maternal and paternal side. The Whitaker family tree explains this term.

For the double first cousins, both of their mother's side of grandparents as well as father's side of grandparents are same. Their parents are given birth and raised by the same couple. 

For example, Mark and Matt are brothers, and Sarah and Karen are sisters.

If Marks marries Sarah and gives birth to Matteo and Matt marries Karen and gives birth to John, then Matteo and John are first cousins twice because they share both sets of grandparents.

The first cousins twice are more related to one another than normal first cousins.

Discarding the family connections and relationships for now and taking their biological facts into consideration, John and Metteo will share 25% of their DNA as opposed to 12.5% shared by normal first cousins. 

The DNA sharing of 25% is equal to the DNA shared by half-siblings, however, the first cousins twice are not technically siblings.

These types of occurrences are rare in the modern world as connecting to people from around the world has become much easier.

The notoriously inbred Whitakers family member Betty confirmed her parents were indeed Double Cousins, according to Mirror.

The family has been documented by filmmaker Mark Laita. 

Double First Cousins Meaning Explained

Double First Cousins definition is complicated and possible only in an inbred family like The Whitakers. 

When you and your first cousin both have same grandparents and your parents are also siblings then you are double first cousins.

Such relationships are also called "First Cousins Twice."

Let us continue from our above-given example of two sets of siblings Mark and Matt, and Sarah and Karen. Here, Mark and Sarah's son Matteo and Matt and Karen's son John share both sets of grandparents. 

Matteo and John's maternal grandparents are Sarah and Karen's parents and their parental grandparents are Mark and Matt's parents. Although they are not technically siblings, they share the same amount of DNA as half-siblings. 

Here Matteo has 50% of his DNA from his father and 50% of his DNA from his mother, the same applies to John. Meaning, both Matteo and John are carrying 25% of their DNA from each grandparent. 

However, it is worth noting that the 25% DNA carried by Matteo might not match the 25% carried by John. According to CRI Genetics, they might have some overlapping DNA. The different sets of chromosomes inherited by Matteo and John make them completely different from one another. 

Here is a detailed chart to help you understand the double first cousins easily. 

A chart showing the first cousin twice relationship between the two sets of siblings and their off springs.
Source : thefamilynation

Now that we have established a firm understanding of double first cousins, there are a few rare examples of such occurrences. Among them, the Whitaker family stands out distinctively. 

According to Mirror, one of the members of the family, Betty, confirmed her parents were double first cousins while speaking with filmmaker Mark Laita. Here is everything we know of the family so far. 

The Whitaker Inbred Family Story

The Whitaker Inbred family story gained attention after filmmaker Mark Laita published their photograph in his 2004 book Created Equal. 

Laita revisited the West Virginia family in 2020 to get an update on them, he was able to capture some video clips of their home or rather a shack for his YouTube channel Soft White Underbelly.

Their fame exploded after their first video was published on July 4, 2020, on Mark's YouTube channel. 

The family resides in a small town called Odd in the countryside of West Virginia. They are well-known among their townsmen and are well-protected by the local community. Mark recalls being chased away by an angry neighbor with a shotgun for trying to find Whitakers.

However, he has since established a rather good relationship with the community and the family and is slowly bringing the Whitaker inbred family story to the spotlight. 

The Sun said living in the filth of the family's living conditions. The video available on Mark's YouTube channel shows their marginal home littered with trash, and their clothing also appears to be worn and torn.

However, they have now managed to bring their living standard a bit higher following donations and fundraisers done by the filmmaker. 

Many of the family members did not attend school and suffer from some serious physical and mental disabilities. Some only speak in grunts and barks while others keep silent. Betty, the matriarch, binds the family together and provides them with food and clothing. 

Although the Whitakers from West Virginia look terrifying at a glance, they have their personality and are warm to the visitors. The family members have shown Mark around and tried to communicate with him about their daily lifestyle. 

Whitaker Family (L-R) Timmy, Lorene, Betty, Kenneth, Ray, and Larry (front) at their home pose for a family picture.
Source : co

The Whitakers Family Tree

The Whitakers Family Tree is very complicated and starts circa 1705 in England. It all started 7 generations before Betty.

Charles and Rosy Ann were traveling to America as Colonial Family in the 1750s with their infant son Joseph Musgrave Whitaker. He is the first Witaker to reach America as both Charles and Rosy Ann passed away during the voyage, according to a YouTube video by Mortal Faces

Joseph married Zobedia Obidince and one of their children was James Harvey. We will not discuss other family members as James is only the person of interest at the moment. James married Sarah Hicks and the pair had their son James Jr. 

Everything on Whitaker's family tree is flowing smoothly until this point. James Jr. got married to Parmelia Clybern and their son Thomas Willis was born in 1892. Now, things start to get weird and complicated in the Whitaker inbred family story. 

Thomas marries Elizabeth Perkins, she also has another sister named Mary E Perkins who gets married to Samuel Rigs. Thomas and Elizabeth's sons James Thomas and John Isom marry Mary and Samuel's daughters Marcie and Ada Adaline, respectively. They are actually first cousins. 

John's twin brother Henry marries a woman named Sarah Burton. Now, their family tree intertwines for the second time when Henry and Sarah's son John Emory gets married to John and Ada Adaline's daughter Gracie Irene. John and Ada are double first cousins sharing both sets of grandparents. 

The siblings we have seen in Mark's videos, Betty, Lorene, Ray, Larry, and Kenneth, are the children of John and Ada. They are born from the marriage between first cousins twice. 

Timmy seen on many of Mark's videos is the son of Lorene. According to the same YouTube video from Mortal Faces, Lorane was abused in her 30s and Timmy was born. 

Here is a family tree constructed by Mortal Faces to help you understand everything explained above clearly. 

The Family Tree of Whitaker Family, (All people boxed in black rectangles are person of interest leading to the family as we know today)
Source : youtube

The Whitaker Family Documentary Helped Raise Money

The Whitaker Family documentary was published by Mark Laita in 2020 on his YouTube channel. The docuseries is not available to watch on Netflix.

The YouTube playlist on the Soft White Underbelly channel has five videos covering the Whitaker Family story. The videos have 63.2 million combined views with the first video racking up over half of all the views. 

In the first video, Mark visits the family's home in rural West Virginia. He has some chit-chat with the family and records some videos of their home and their daily life. The short video introduced the family to the whole world. 

In the second video, the filmmaker revisits the family in spring. They have already made upgrades to their lifestyle and have fairly repaired their home with the money raised by Mark and his video. He gets to catch up with the family. 

In the third video, Mark and his companion take the family for a shopping spree in the local Walmart. The family stocks necessary grocery supplies and discuss the possibility of buying a new home for the family or restoring the one they already have.

The fourth video in the playlist is a follow-up video by the filmmaker. In the video, Betty discusses her life as a little girl and shines more light on their family dynamics. In the last installment of the video, Mark shares breakfast with the family as he discusses more on their problems and possible solution.