I tried to build out a few branches of my family tree this afternoon, but they got tangled.
Let's start with good old Jasper, shall we? A great-great grandfather of mine. He married a woman named Philena. (Or Phelena. Those nineteenth-century census takers had terrible handwriting, so who knows?) Jasper and Philena/Phelena had eight children together before she died at age 44. One of them was named Stella.
Then Jasper married a widow named Phoebe. She had a daughter from her past husband who was also named Stella. They were like The Brady Bunch, only instead of Alice the Housekeeper they had two Stellas.
Why am I harping on this Stella business? Because one of those Stellas was my great-grandmother. She married her step-brother, Ernest, and they had two children together. Then Ernest died of hip cancer and so Stella married her other step-brother, Ira (or Iren, or Irea. Census takers, I tell you.)
Technically this doesn't count as incest because they weren't related by blood. But thanks to them, my ancestry is a hot mess. And I have so many questions: How did Philena/Phelena die, anyway? Was their town really so lacking in eligible bachelors that Stella had to marry not one but two step-brothers? Was that a normal thing in the early twentieth century, or are my relatives just weird?
I don't have a family tree; I have a family bramble.