top of page

Are You My Cousin?

My grandmother kept careful track of everybody in her extended family, and I mean everybody. Did yours? She would get little bitty newspaper clippings of obituaries in snail mail advising of the passing of people like "Cousin James." I had never heard of a cousin named James before and she would explain something to the effect that he was my first cousin two times removed. Huh?? Removed from what? I have more cousins?

From here's a cousin breakdown:

  • First cousins are non-siblings that share grandparents

  • Second cousins are non-siblings that share great-grandparents

  • Third cousins are non-siblings that share great-great-grandparents

  • First cousins once removed are two people for whom the first cousin relationship is one generation removed

  • First cousins twice removed are two people for whom the second cousin relationship is two generations removed

So, "removed" means separated by generation(s). Keep in mind, this removal goes both ways! Up the tree and down the tree, there are "removed" cousins.

Here is a chart you may find handy from (this is a paid membership site, but it is a a great resource for British and Irish records). You can click on the graphic to expand.

Chart showing how people are related in a family
Relationships Chart from

Understanding these relationships is VITAL to understanding how someone fits into your research into your GENETIC genealogy. But, we'll save that for another time.

I will always be grateful to my grandmother (here in an undated photo) for sparking my interest in my family's history. If you still have parents and grandparents consider yourself lucky! Get their stories. Give them a hug, and get them to spit into a tube or swab a cheek and collect their DNA! Then take them out to a nice lunch or dinner.

Thanks for stopping by again this week. Please like and share this post and my Facebook page (@WhoIComeFromGenealogy). I welcome your correspondence, and there is always a free peek at your tree available for a quote.

Best wishes!

Leslie Ryan

Not compensated by any of these links


bottom of page