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In Western Europe family ties were a lot less important than in other parts of the world. See hbdchick's theory of the Hajnal line and exogamy. Basically, the Hajnal line divides areas where cousin marriage was permitted from areas where it wasn't, i.e., Western Europe. It correlates with a bunch of stuff including attitudes towards individuality.

Hajnal line was discovered in 1965 when Western Europe was already an economically developed region. Before the XXth century, cousin marriage used to be pretty popular in Western Europe and not just among the local hillbillies (for example, Charles Darwin was married to his cousin).
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