“Second Cousins,” “Once Removed,” And More Confusing Family Terms Explained

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The whole “second cousins” and “once removed” things can get super complicated to understand. When meeting with your extended family for holidays or other functions, it’s good to know your official standing in terms of relation. The fact of the matter is, though, even they probably don’t know what these terms mean. You’re not alone!

There’s an entire chart that explains all of these terms by going through the entire family line, starting with you. Who knew there was more than just “second cousins”? Get ready to be mind-blown!


The idea for this chart actually came from Nathan Yau, who made the original chart. Under the subtitle that reads “How They Are Related”, Yau explains how to determine the relation between extended family members. It says, “Figure out the common ancestor between two relatives. Then select the relationship of the first relative to the common ancestor in the top row. Move down to the row that corresponds to the relationship of the second person to the common ancestor. The result is the relationship of the second person to the first.”

extended family
Wikimedia Commons

Genealogy also provides the official definitions of these terms, for those who are more literal than visual learners. Genealogy describes the first cousin as, “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.”

extended family
Barney Moss // Flickr

The second cousin is described as, “The people in your family who have the same great-grandparents as you, but not the same grandparents.” Third cousins, “Have the same great-great-grandparents, fourth cousins have the same great-great-great-grandparents, and so on.”

extended family
Brendan & Brendan // Flickr

Genealogy even defined the word ‘removed’ because let’s face it, what does it really mean? “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 your relationship.”

Can you even imagine how many generations your own family line is?

extended family
Wikimedia Commons

Be sure to SHARE this article if you found this informational chart helpful or interesting!

The post “Second Cousins,” “Once Removed,” And More Confusing Family Terms Explained appeared first on Do You Remember?.

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