Friday, November 25, 2011

What's a first cousin twice removed?

Cousins are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.
- Ed Cunningham
Knowing your family history can help you to remember all those relatives that you met yesterday with Thanksgiving dinner. Doing genealogy online is another way to discover distant relatives.

I recently received over 20 pages of family data on relatives of my grandmother's mother, a Sanderson. The individuals listed are my 2nd and 3rd cousins many times removed.

What is a 'removed' cousin? Let's start with siblings. A person is your brother or sister if you share the same parents. (For this blog I'll ignore half-X relations where just a single relative is shared.) A person is your cousin if you have a pair of common grandparents. Your second cousin if the nearest shared relative is a great-grandparent. Third cousins if a shared 2*great grandparent and so on.

But what if the two people comparing family trees are not of the same "generation"? The 'removed' tag indicates how many generations the separation is. My cousin's children are called my cousins once removed. My cousin is also a grandparent so her grandkids are my 1st cousins twice removed.  My parent's cousins are also my cousins but once removed.

Bottom Line

How many cousins once removed do you have?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of those people are just called strangers. You can remove them all.

November 26, 2011 at 12:21 AM  

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