Utah Woman Discovers She Unknowingly Married Her Cousin While Searching for Baby Names on Internet

"So I've never publicly told anyone, but I accidentally married my cousin," she began.

Preparing for a blessed event gave a pregnant Utah woman the shock of her life: While searching for baby names on the internet, she discovered she had unwittingly married her cousin. Marcella Hill, 42, shared the revelation on TikTok last week. "So I've never publicly told anyone, but I accidentally married my cousin," she began.

The story left commenters with many questions, including, in the words of one, "How didn't y'all realize this at the wedding?" Read on to find out more—including how Hill and her husband made the shocking discovery, why their familial connection had gone unnoticed until now, and how the rest of the family is reacting to the news. 

Browsing For Baby Names Brings a Surprise

Marcella Hill / TikTok

Marcella and her husband, Tage, made the discovery while they were browsing online for baby name ideas. The couple were sitting on their couch, looking at the genealogy site FamilySearch for inspiration. They thought they might find something in their family trees. And they did: The surnames of their grandparents and great-grandparents were the same.

"I was sitting on the couch looking for names for the baby that we were about to have and I was on [genealogy site] FamilySearch," said Marcella. "Husband's next to me on his own FamilySearch and he's like, 'Oh that's funny, we have the same grandma and grandpa's names.' "I look at this line and it's all the same as mine," she added. " So I think, 'Oh no no, you're still logged into my account.' Then we start looking at it and we realize my grandpa is his grandma's first cousin."

They're Third Cousins

Marcella Hill / TikTok

Phone calls to their respective grandparents clarified things quickly: The couple have the same great-great-grandparents. "Sure enough, sure do. They lived together when they were growing up as children," Marcella said of their great-grandparents. Marcella and her husband are officially third cousins.

She said that after the initial shock, the pair have accepted the quirk of family history and claim there are benefits about it. "We have won a prize for being-the-closest-related-in-a-neighborhood activity," she said. "And when I go to my family reunion, he gets to go to his too at the same time," she said. 

Marriage Still (Whew) Legal


As it turns out, there's nothing illegal about the Hills' marriage. Second cousins are legally allowed to marry each other in every U.S. state. That's not the case for first cousins, who are only allowed to marry each other in 26 states (in seven of those states, certain conditions must be met, such as genetic counseling or if one of the partners is infertile).

In Utah, it's illegal for first cousins to marry unless both members of the couple are 65 or older, or a district court finds that either party can't have children.

How It Happened


In a follow-up video, Marcella explained how she managed to marry a cousin without her elders saying anything: The two didn't have a wedding. "We got married at a courthouse after work on a Wednesday," she said. "'Let's say we had the wedding, and my grandpa and his grandma were there, and we found out that we were third cousins at the wedding, what were supposed to do?"

@beingmarcellahill Funny story… I accidentally married my cousin. We had no idea our Grandma and Grandpa were 1st cousins. Oops. #funnystory #marcellahill #wakeherup #marriage #marriedlife #awakening #momsoftiktok #grandmasoftiktok ♬ original sound – Marcella Hill

Social Media Responds


Commenters reacted with a mixture of disbelief and amusement. "How didn't y'all realize this at the wedding?" one said. "So in a way, your baby is it's own fourth cousin," said another. "Third cousins not a huge deal, you're good. Hilarious though," wrote another. "I think you should have just not told anyone," another writer offered. One commenter concluded, "We're all cousins if you go back far enough."

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