Cousin, Twice Removed?
What is a First Cousin, Twice
Reproduced from Family Tree Maker magazine
If someone walked up to you and said "Howdy, I'm your third
cousin , twice removed," would you have any idea what they
meant? Everyone has a good understanding of basic relationship words
such as "mother," "father," "aunt"
and "uncle." But what about the relationship terms that
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, so most of us aren't
familiar with what these words mean.
Sometimes, especially when working on your family history, it's
handy to know how to describe your family relationships more exactly.
The definitions below should 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.
Your second cousins are the people in your family who share one
set of the same great-grandparents with you.
Third, Fourth and Fifth Cousins
Your third cousins share one set of great-great-grandparents, fourth
cousins share one set of great-great-great-grandparents, and so
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