Genealogy Basics

The child of my cousin is my…what?

Have you ever sat down with your first cousins and their children and spent the night trying to work out the relationships? Me too! Here’s a simple graphic showing first cousins, second cousins, and the dreaded “once removed.”

You need to know that “remove” means a generational divide. You should also remember that relationships are counted up/down your family line first, before moving over. In this case, you are Family A. 

Cousins
A simple cousinship map showing 1st and 2nd cousins, plus 1 remove

This is easier if you start with the youngest generation and work upwards.

Second cousins

The children of your first cousins and your children are second cousins to each other. They are second cousins because they have the same great-grandparents. If you’re following along on the chart, you are Parent 3, your first cousin is Parent 4, and the child of your first cousin is Child 2.

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Your first cousin’s children and your children are second cousins to one another. Photo credit: Pixabay.

First cousins

One generation up is you. You and your first cousins have the same grandparents in common. Another way to look at it is: you and your first cousin each have a parent who are siblings to one another. On the chart, you are Parent 3 and your first cousin is Parent 4.

First cousin, once removed

The child of your first cousin is not your second cousin, but rather the same relationship that you have with your first cousin, plus one generational divide, so your first cousin, once removed. That’s not very intuitive, right? Feels downright wrong in fact, to be calling someone way younger your first cousin, once removed, especially when you’ve been calling your actual first cousin something much less formal, like Hey cuz. 

On the chart, you are Parent 3, your first cousin is Parent 4, and the child of your first cousin is Child 2.

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Imagine calling the little ones “cousin.” Feels wrong, doesn’t it? Credit: Shutterstock.

Test yourself

So, if you think you’ve got it down, who would be your second cousin, once removed? Comment below!

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