Most people have a good understanding of basic relationship words such as “mother,” “father,” “aunt,” “uncle,” “brother,” and “sister.” But what about the relationship terms that we don’t use in everyday speech? Terms like “second cousin” and “first cousin, once removed?”
Most of us don’t feel the need to speak in such exact terms in everyday conversations, but they become important in the study of family genealogy relationships. Here is a brief chart to help you out.
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.
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.
Removed: 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.