|If someone walked up to you and said "Hi, I'm your third cousin twice removed, would you
have any idea what they meant? Most of us understand basic relationship words such as
father, mother, brother, sister, aunt, uncle and cousin, but what about relationship terms that
we don't use in everyday speech?
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 have the same great-grandparents as
you, but not the same grandparents.
Third, Fourth, and Fifth Cousins
Your third cousins have the same great-great grandparents, fourth cousins have the same
great-great-great grandparents, and so on.
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
The term "once removed" means 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 removed.
Relationship Charts Simplify Everything!
Still confused! Refer to the chart below:
|If you want to know how you're related to a particular Sells
family member, email the webmaster with your question.