Another Installment of…

ask tina

Dear Tina,

I have ran into a problem I’m sure many people have suffered. Ok, well I will start off by saying that I have a rather large family that goes back many many generations…. well I suppose we all do, but nontheless my family is very proud of their Basque heritage and it seems as though every Basque being believes that somehow that we are all related in this city of Boise. To give you a brief summary of our history it all started with one family like five or six generations ago running sheep all over the Boise area. Anyways… I met this girl the other night and she was extremely attractive and we started talking about whatever. There was definately a lot of chemistry between us. Now keep in mind this is the first time we have ever met, so she asked me what my last name was and I told her. She then got this troubled look on her face and told me that she was also Basque and she thought she could have been related to me somehow. So my question is this: How far away does the branch of the family tree go out before someone is no longer considered family?? Not that I have any plans on marrying this person but all relationships must start somewhere, right? Thank you for your help.


Dear Justin,

My first thought is,”Holy cow! You’re Basque and you met a nice Basque girl!?! In Boise – I’m assuming Idaho?!?” I’m no statistician – but WOW – what are the odds?

Basque? Someone once asked me who the Basque are. I popped off that they’re the fiercely independent red-headed step children of France and Spain. It might have been the coffee talking, but I’m close. The Basque language is related to no other languages that are spoken today. The Basque people as an ethnic group are related to no other ethnic group known today. They have a fascinating history and folklore. As far as heritages go – pretty cool one to have (this coming from someone with a French last name – yeah eat your Freedom Fries and bite me!).

Anyway, back to your problem Justin. My family is from a small town in Louisiana. Everybody in the entire state is somehow related to me. It has lead me to have an Oedipus phobia but for cousins. If someone is from Marksville – I assume that if we were to have children they would come out with odd numbers of heads and toes. So I understand your concern – mine borderlines on irrational.

With that being said, I believe if you don’t have any of the same parents – that’s a good start. Then it gets tricky. Whoever did genealogy the first time – got real lazy after the parental line. “Okay, aunt and uncle…YAWN – the rest of ’em are cousins.” Which makes every Basque person in Boise – most likely your cousin. However, it is legal to marry a second or third cousin – in most states (if I would have to guess Utah wouldn’t be one of those states) and in the Catholic church. I would consider omitting that detail on the wedding invitations, but that’s just me.

But Justin you’re talking about ONE family SIX generations ago. That’s by now a very diluted gene pool. So you have a relative in common – big deal! Half of Mongolia is related to Genghis Kahn. No joke. Him and his sons got BUSY after winning battles. The Great Wall wasn’t just to keep the big invading armies out – it was to keep the little microscopic invading armies out!

So to answer you question: I think you’re safe to pursue this woman without stigma or worry. If there is chemistry – that’s the best anyone can hope for. Enjoy it and congratulations.


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5 Comments Another Installment of…

  1. Alex


    Tina, you have a great blog, me like it.

    Now, regarding the Basques and Boise, well, believe it or not, Boise is home to the largest community of Basques in the USA, I just came back from a week of drinks, food and dancing as to celebrate their Jaialdi 2005.

    To make matters worst for Justin, all the Boise Basques came from the same Basque province known as Bizkaia. And let me tell you, I too met quite a few hot looking Basque girls while I was there, even a red-headed one!

    Good thing my family is from the Basque provice of Lapurdi, no odd numbers for my children.

  2. Beñat

    Hi, I´m a basque, my name is Beñat and my english is very poor. I saw Boise in a tv program, it´s fantastic how they conserve our/their milenary culture in a too far place. If you have any questions a will try to answer. aguuuuurrrr(byeeeeeeeeee)

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