What Is A First Cousin, Twice Removed
Submitted by George Mason
If someone walked up to you and said, Howdy, I’m your third cousin, twice removed, would you have any idea what they meant? Most people have a good understanding of basic relationship works such as Mother, Father, Aunt, Uncle, Brother, and Sister, but what about the relationship terms we don’t use in everyday speech? Terms like second cousin and first cousin, once removed? We don’t tend to speak about our relationships in such exact terms (cousin seems good enough when you are introducing one person to another), so most of us aren’t familiar with what these words mean.
Sometimes, especially when working on a family history, it is handy to know how to describe your family relationships more exactly. The definitions below should help you out.
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.
Your second cousins are the people in your family who have the same great-grandparents as you, but not the same grandparent.
Third, Fourth, and Fifth Cousins
Your third cousins have the same great-great grandparents, fourth cousins have the same great-great-great grandparents, etc.
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 from the same generation, so the term removed is not used to describe your relationship.
Your mothers first cousin is your first cousin, once removed. This is because your mothers first cousin is from an earlier generation the 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 grandmothers first cousins are first cousins, twice removed.
Relationship Charts Simplify Everything
The chart below will help you find the relationship between two individuals. To use this chart
- Pick two people in your family and figure out which ancestor they have in common.
For example, if you choose yourself and a cousin, you would have a grandparent in common.
- Look at the top row of the chart and find the first persons relationship to the common ancestor.
- Look at the far left column of the chart and find the second persons relationship to the common ancestor.
- Determine when the row and column containing those two relationships meet.