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View Full Version : once removed, twice removed, second cousins

KwikStah
07-14-2001, 11:18 PM
How does all that stuff work?

Kaje
07-14-2001, 11:34 PM

That pretty much has it all... not that I claim it to be easy to pick through though

dorkbro
07-14-2001, 11:39 PM
As I have heard it, it works like this.

The "degree" of the cousins is determined by how close the first set of common ancestors are. First cousins have a set of common grandparents, second cousins have common great-grandparents, etc.

The "removed" piece deals with people who have a different number of generations separating them from the common ancestors. If Amy's grandfather/grandmother are Bob's great-grandfather/great-grandmother, then Amy and Bob are first cousins once removed (the degree in this case is, I believe, specified by the relative who is closer to the common ancestor).

So, to make an SAT question, first cousin:first cousin, once removed AS brother/sister:nephew/niece.

tomndebb
07-14-2001, 11:40 PM
A simple general rule is that the "number" of cousins indicates one fewer than the number of generations back to a common ancestor (first cousins are two generations from the grandparents), while "removed" indicates the number of generations one is removed from the last common generation of cousins (your first cousin's child is your first cousin once removed, your first cousin's grandchild is your first cousin twice removed). Since your child and your first cousin's child are each three generations from the grandparents, they are second cousins (one "cousin" fewer than the number of generations).

kniz
07-15-2001, 12:53 AM
In the south we forget the removed which means that second cousins are {b]third cousins[/b]. You can make whatever deductions you want from that information. :o

tomndebb
07-15-2001, 09:51 AM
kniz, I don't think that's a Southern thing. I know quite a few folks in Ohio and Michigan (long term residents, not the post-WWII influx) who also use the looser terminology. I'm not sure how often they talk about third cousins, but saying "second cousin" in place of "first cousin once removed" is pretty typical.

(Probably makes all their genealogist friends wince, of course.)

kiz
07-15-2001, 12:09 PM
Originally posted by tomndebb
A simple general rule is that the "number" of cousins indicates one fewer than the number of generations back to a common ancestor (first cousins are two generations from the grandparents), while "removed" indicates the number of generations one is removed from the last common generation of cousins (your first cousin's child is your first cousin once removed, your first cousin's grandchild is your first cousin twice removed). Since your child and your first cousin's child are each three generations from the grandparents, they are second cousins (one "cousin" fewer than the number of generations).

I've got more first cousins once removed than anyone else I know of, thanks in part to my first cousins, in which all but one are old enough to be MY mother/father!

What I'm questioning, though, is the "twice removed". I always thought that your first cousin's grandchild was your second cousin, as you're referring to an entirely new generation. I could be wrong, though...

tomndebb
07-15-2001, 12:28 PM
Nope. Go slog through the link provided by Kaje.

As indicated in my exchange with kniz, however, there may be a difference between genealogical terms and "popular" usage.

Your first cousin's parent and your parent are siblings (so we start off with no "number").

You and your first cousin are both two generations from your grandparents.

Your children and your first cousins' children are all three generations from the common ancestor, so they are second cousins.

The "removed" says how many generations different one is from a common ancestor.

In "popular" parlance, the removed may fall away and the number of the cousins increased. My experience suggests that the number assigned is rather haphazardly picked by the speaker, but I am open to new information that indicates a regional usage that follows definite rules. Does anyone have a reference to where those non-(genealogically-)standard rules may be found?

scampering gremlin
07-15-2001, 03:33 PM
As I understand it, as far as people usually delve into this business is first cousin once removed vs. second cousin. After that, "distant cousin" is usually enough.

My first cousin's son Theodore is my first cousin once removed. If and when I have a child, Scampering Gremlin Junior would be second cousin to Theodore.

If the family stays in contact long enough to care, refer to the link listed above. Theodore's Kid would be Scampering Gremlin Junior's second cousin once removed and my first cousin twice removed. Scampering Gremlin III would be Theodore's Kid's third cousin.

kiz
07-18-2001, 12:51 PM
Originally posted by tomndebb
Your first cousin's parent and your parent are siblings (so we start off with no "number").

You and your first cousin are both two generations from your grandparents.

Your children and your first cousins' children are all three generations from the common ancestor, so they are second cousins.

The "removed" says how many generations different one is from a common ancestor.

I stand corrected, tomndebb! I mentioned this to my mom a couple of days ago, and she said something very similar to your explanation.

Now I get it!

Doesn't take a house to fall on me...nope, no siree...*giggle*