I attended a family reunion and met many relatives that I had never met before. I did not know half the people there. Some folks told me that we were second cousins. Others said that we were first cousins once removed and that my son was their first cousin twice removed. What do these terms regarding cousins mean? By the end of the evening, I was totally confused about cousins. How do I decipher this family tree?
Relationships within family trees can be confusing. One simple approach to cousin relationships is to look at the grandparents and great-grandparents. For example:
First Cousins share the same grandparents.
Second Cousins share the same great-grandparents.
Third Cousins share the same great-great-grandparents, and so on.
The term removed is used when first cousins are of different generations. The difference in generation determines once removed or twice removed. For example:
First Cousin Once Removed: the first cousin of your mother or father is your first cousin once removed. You are two generations younger than your grandparents, and your mother or father's first cousin is one generation younger than your grandparents. Two generations minus one generation equals one, so once removed.
First Cousin Twice Removed: the first cousin of your mother or father is your son's first cousin twice removed. Your son is three generations younger than your grandparents, and your mother or father's first cousin is one generation younger than your grandparents. Three generations minus one generation equals two, so twice removed.
For helpful information about family trees or how to look up your genealogy, go to www.genealogy.com