3rd Cousin, Twice Removed... AGGGGGHHHH!!!!!!

+4 votes

Can anyone explain this in a manner that won't drive genealogists to drink?  frown

What is a second cousin?  What is a 1st cousin, once removed?... etc.

I once read an explanation that seemed to contradict itself, i.e. 1st cousin, once removed also seemed to fit the definition for second cousin.  Can anyone explain this clearly?

in Genealogy Help by Fred Remus G2G6 Mach 4 (40.8k points)

2 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer

Fred and Erin,

We also have this table and explanation on WikiTree: http://www.wikitree.com/articles/relationships.html

And as I'm sure you know, from any relative's profile or from a name on your Watchlist you can click the icon that looks like two arrows pointed at each other. That will send you to http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Special:Relationship with your ID and the other ID filled-in, which will then calculate the relationship between you two.


by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
selected by Fred Remus
I had never used that relationship calculator before.  Very cool!  Chris wrote, "...which will then calculate the relationship between you two."  Which I incorrectly thought meant the calculator would just show their relationship to me.  But you can enter ANY two WikiTree ID's and it will calculate the relationship between them.  Very useful!
+1 vote
Wikipedia's cousin article has a good chart: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cousin#section_5 The easiest way to calculate a cousin relationship is to find the most recent common ancestor. To figure out what degree of cousin you are, determine how many generations occurred between the closest relationship to the common ancestor. For example, you and Cousin A both share Ancestor B. Ancestor B is your great great grandfather, and Cousin A's great grandfather. Cousin A is the earlier relation , in two generations, so by counting the generations, that makes you second cousins. Then take the difference between your relationship to the ancestor, and your cousin's. In this case, it is one generation, so you are once removed. Clear as mud?
by Erin Breen G2G6 Pilot (263k points)
Thank you, Erin.  That was actually one of the articles I looked at while trying to make sense of this.  At the time, it was much debated in Wikipedia's Talk section.   I think it may have since been revised.

Looking at the table you linked in isolation, it makes a bit more sense and jibes with what I thought I understood.  Trying to read the full article will still make your head spin! :-)

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