Relations to earls...

Hi Perfesser, I'm glad to see that you're feeling better! My question is about patrimony, bloodlines, etc. I have a friend (named B for the duration of this post) who is a descendant of Herbert Henry Asquith, the first earl of Oxford and Asquith (wiki link here: Assuming a proper generation account, I believe that my friend and the current earl, Julian Asquith, are first cousins 3 times removed.

My question is, is this a close enough bloodline that my friend gets to be called "Lord B" or is he too far removed to be proper nobility? Also, he is Jewish. (His mother is Jewish and that's how he was raised) Does this change anything?

NorthwoodsMan's picture


If I remember correctly, the X times removed is number of generations difference between one person and the other.

For example, the earl is the same age as your friend, they are X cousins. If the earl is the same age as your (and your friends) parents, and you and your friend are the same age, they are X counsins, once removed.

First cousin, second cousin, third cousin, refer to the amount of separation in the family. Example, your uncle's child is your first cousin. Your grandfather's siblings grand child is your second cousin. Your great grandparent's sibling's great grand child is your second cousin, and so on.

So, assuming the same age, and proper generational accounting, your friend is a distant cousin and has little to no claim to any title.

packrat's picture


I know what the cousin relationship means to each other, I have to introduce bits of my relatives all the time and I've got a very large family. I was just wondering if the blood line was close enough since the current earl's grandfather was my friend's great great etc. grandfather. According to the family wiki page though it looks like children of earls get honourable/lady as honorifics and their grand kids don't get any honorific so probably not. oh well. i was looking forward to calling my friend Lord B.

Capriox's picture


How noble titles descend through the family is usually determined by a combination of local law, marriage contracts, and wills. I highly doubt that a collateral* bloodline more than one or two generations away would have inherited any rights to a title.

*this may not be the word I want, but I'm too tired-stupid to figure it out

Wanderer's picture

British peerage normally descends in the oldest male line (though there are a few special exceptions such a Earl Mountbatten who only had daughters and so insisted that his peerage be permitted to descend through his daughter rather than dying out after one generation). So if all your friend's closer relatives were childless or only had daughters, then he could possibly inherit the earldom. Right now he can\t be called Lord or even The Honorable.

As for being Jewish, that is no objection to inheriting a peerage. It goes strictly on descent not religion or even nationality.

Wanderer's picture

I forgot to mention a wonderful 1949 film called Kind Hearts and Coronets starring Alec Guinness who is a distant relative of a Duke with seven other family members between him and the title. In a hilarious black comedy, he murders all the intervening candidates (who are all played by Guiness himself) to become the Duke.

See for plot description and details.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

It's hilarious! I love that movie.

packrat's picture


Well... he murders MOST of them Wink I've seen the movie, I love it.

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