I had a great-aunt pass away recently and it sparked the discussion that everyone has when family gets together - are you my second cousin or first cousin once removed?
I figured since I had that question, others probably did as well. So, I dug out an old chart (seen below) I came across several years ago that explains it well.
It all comes down to the generation you are in. First and second cousins, etc. all belong to the same generation. You only get to removing family members (unless you do so by choice!) when you move to another generation. For example, the child of my aunt or uncle is my first cousin. I think we all know that relationship pretty well. It’s when we move past that line that it gets confusing.
However, it’s not that hard to understand. The child of my first cousin would be my first cousin, once removed, since they are in a generation below us. Their child would be my first cousin, twice removed, and so on.
Once you understand the generational concept, it’s easy to keep straight. Although, like I said earlier, we all have those family members we may want to remove! I can’t help you with that issue. Enjoy the chart and feel free to remove or add as many family members as you like!
The relationship in each box is what that person’s relationship would beTo you, where you are “Self.” As you can see, you, your siblings, first cousins, second cousins, etc., are all in the same generation. Thus, “once
removed” means “one generation removed.”
Copyright Alice J. Ramsay
Designed January, 1987
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