Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Has anyone else ever been stuck on what a 2nd or 3rd cousin is? And what in the world is a "once or twice removed" relative? I grew up with cousins by the dozens. We all went to school together and grew up together. As we matured and had children, this conversation inevitably arose. Now that the children are having children, we're REALLY confused. So, my new friend on facebook posted an explanation on the whole matter. She's involved with genealogy, which helps (duh) and therefore, I will paste it here:

Cousin (a.k.a "first cousin")
Your first cousins are the people in your family who have two of the same grandparents as you. In other words, they are the children of your aunts and uncles.

Second Cousin
Your second cousins are the people in your family who have the same great-grandparents as you., but not the same grandparents.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Cousins
Your third cousins have the same great-great-grandparents, fourth cousins have the same great-great-great-grandparents, and so on.

When the word "removed" is used to describe a relationship, it indicates that the two people are from different generations. You and your first cousins are in the same generation (two generations younger than your grandparents), so the word "removed" is not used to describe your relationship.

The words "once removed" mean that there is a difference of one generation. For example, your mother's first cousin is your first cousin, once removed. This is because your mother's first cousin is one generation younger than your grandparents and you are two generations younger than your grandparents. This one-generation difference equals "once removed."

Twice removed means that there is a two-generation difference. You are two generations younger than a first cousin of your grandmother, so you and your grandmother's first cousin are first cousins, twice removed.

(The above article was found at, they also have a chart for those who are still confused about the whole issue!)

And so, my cousins' children are my first cousins, once removed. My cousins' children and MY children are second cousins.

So there you have it. No we have to figure out how to have everyone stop aging and reproducing.


nancy said...

don't remove this post.


Stephanie Jette said...


Mommy Tips said...

no kidding! I will refer to this later on, I'm sure.

The Katzbox said...


Linda said...

Thanks, Debbie - This was a most informative post. I have sent this info along to others who do genealogy. Good one!