Easy Family Relationship Chart For Your Genealogy Research!

By | November 8, 2017

Does the term “second cousin once removed” baffle you? It’s ok if it does because the easy family relationship chart that you will find in this post will definitely help you. I know that it can be confusing what with all these different terms that are used, so let me help you make sense of it all.

Family Relationship Chart

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What do all these different terms mean?

I must admit that when I first started to trace my family tree I had no idea what all of this meant. But who would when they begin to discover their ancestry? We all have to start somewhere and after all you are stepping into a new world and you will be learning all sorts of new things.

We can all tell who our aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces are. And even where our great grandparents fit on the family tree. When it comes to first cousins we usually refer to them simply as cousins.

As they maybe close to us, (i.e. visit them regularly), you may know that they are a child from a sibling of one of your parents. Hope I haven’t confused you there. Please read it again if I have.

What about other cousins?

But what about more complex relationships such as second cousin, second cousin once removed or even fifth cousin twice removed?

If someday you meet a cousin would you know how to refer to them? Well read on as I will explain what it all means.

By the way if there are any terms, (besides relationships), that confuses you then you may want to check out my family history dictionary. This dictionary will give you an A to Z of words and terms that are used frequently within genealogy.


Before I continue I would like to thank Family Tree UK for their kind permission in allowing me to feature their relationship calculator in this post. I have provided a link to a PDF file containing calculator that you can download.

The Family Relationship Chart

When searching the Internet for a family relationship chart I found none better than the one created by Family Tree UK. These guys have over 30 years experience of helping people to trace their roots. So I knew that I had come to the right place. I also knew that I would have to share this chart with my readers.

Who are Family Tree UK?

From the Family Tree UK site you will be able to discover your family tree and get great genealogy guides that are really helpful for beginners. As this is a UK site you will learn how to trace your British ancestors. And besides all that you can get information on DNA testing, find blogs written by genealogy experts, video guides and also download blank tree charts that you can use to fill in.

And now the family relationship chart!

I think that I have kept you waiting long enough so let me show you the chart and explain to you how to use it. With this family relationship chart you will learn all the different terms describing the relationships between each member of your family tree. And thus finally understand what the term “second cousin once removed” means.

Family Tree Family Relationship Chart

Download the Family Tree Relationship Calculator

Please download the relationship calculator NOW!

Before you continue further you WILL need to download the family tree relationship chart by clicking on the link that I have provided above. This link will take you to a PDF file containing the relationship chart, (without the Family Tree logo).

I would also suggest that you print out the chart as it will make it easy for you to refer to whenever you need to. This is especially true if you ever attend a family reunion and you are left wondering just how you are related to one another.

Please note: In the chart 2x great-grandchild means great great grandchild; 3x great grandchild means great great great grandchild; and so on. This is just a common abbreviation that will save you time and make it easy for you to understand.

How to use the relationship calculator!

I find that the best way for you to understand the chart is by giving you an example. So say for example that you meet a distant relative and that you discover that you have the same great grandparents. What do you think that makes them to you?

If you are not sure then follow these four simple steps to work it out, (and any other kind of relationship for that matter).

Steps to take to work out a relationship:

  1. First you need to know how you are related to that common ancestor(s). In this example you are a great grandchild.
  2. Next find that term on the horizontal line of the chart.
  3. Then move your finger down the chart to where the person you have met is on the vertical line, i.e. great grandchild, (the same as you).
  4. In this example the person that you have met is your second cousin.

So in this example you have found the point where the two boxes meet which thus shows you your relationship to each other. And that is it. Pretty simple right? Well it is if you use this easy family relationship chart.

And as I have just pointed out you can use these same steps to work out any kind of relationship.

Definitions of second cousin, once removed and so on!

You now know how to use the chart but you may still be a bit curious as to what the once removed or twice removed term means. By studying the chart you may though have worked that bit out already. Please do not worry if you haven’t as I will give you the definitions of these terms below.

  • First cousin – share the same grandparents
  • Second cousin – share the same great grandparents
  • Third cousin – share the same 2nd great grandparents
  • Fourth cousin – share the same 3rd great grandparents
  • Fifth cousin – share the same 4th great grandparents
  • Sixth cousin – share the same 5th great grandparents
  • Seventh cousin – share the same 6th great grandparents
  • Second cousin once removed – the child or parent of a second cousin
  • Second cousin twice removed – second cousins with a two generation difference
  • Removed – this always indicated that two people are not in the same generation as each other

First, second, third, and so on is referred to as the degree of cousinhood. This degree will show you the number of generations between two cousins and their common ancestor that they share.

If you are still unsure as to what it all means then please check out the following video. As I have mentioned I always feel it’s best to learn from an example, and the example shown in this video will surely help you.

Credit:   Jared Owen

Parallel and cross cousins!

Not to confuse you even more but have you ever heard of the terms parallel cousin or cross cousin? No? Well me either until I started researching for this post.

  • Parallel cousin – Are the children of same-sex siblings. For example, the children of your mother’s sister are your parallel cousins.
  • Cross cousin – Are the children of opposite sex siblings. For example, the children of your mother’s brother are your cross cousins.

I do not know who came up with that but it certainly does confuse things a little doesn’t it?

Difference between grand and great!

Sorry. One more thing that I wanted to point out before I finished this post was the difference between grand and great. You probably already know this but there is a bit of a twist at the end that I want to explain.

  • Grand – Indicates a two-generation gap. For example, your grandparents are two generations away from you.
  • Great – Indicates a three-generation gap. For example, your great grandparents are three generations away from you.

However, your parents’ aunts and uncles, (who are two generations away), are referred to as great aunts and great uncles. Technically it should be grand as you would expect.

But unfortunately using great instead of grand has become common practice and thus we are left scratching our heads even more. For me though I much prefer the dictionary definition rather than going with common practice.

Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope this easy family relationships chart and that it has helped you with your genealogy research. If you think that this post will be helpful then please share it with friends and family using the social media buttons below.

If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

12 thoughts on “Easy Family Relationship Chart For Your Genealogy Research!

  1. Angie

    This is so helpful for me! As you say genealogy can be confusing so I am glad that you have made it easy to follow. I like how you talk about parallel and cross cousins. I too haven’t heard of them before. Thanks for the info.

    1. Owain Post author

      My pleasure Angie. Yes genealogy can be confusing so I am glad that you found this post to be both interesting and easy to follow. My job is done 🙂

  2. Alex

    To be honest, I stumbled upon this article. So far though, it is a really interesting article. It really goes into depth about the complexity of genealogy and the different aspects of family. I really really like it. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Owain Post author

      My pleasure Alex. I tried to make it both interesting and easy to read. At the best of times genealogy can be quite confusing. So it’s not only my mission to help people to trace their family tree but also make it easy for them as well.

  3. John ツ

    I just can’t stop coming back to your website Owain. What interesting information you are sharing. I wish there were more articles, but I guess you have a lot of research to do. You really sound like an expert on the subject.

    Keep on the good work and I look forward to reading more soon.

    John ツ

    1. Owain Post author

      Thanks John. Don’t forget you can charge this article, (and others), with your friends. There is plenty of interesting information, (IMO), on this site so please have a look around.

  4. Jasmine

    Hi there! Great post. My family moved from Finland to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan four generations ago and every time I’m in the U.P. I meet more and more people that are somehow related to me. It was great to see the family tree chart and learn more about what it means to be “removed” as I never really understood that term. I also had no idea there were different terms like parallel and cross cousins. Do you know why these terms were coined? Is it because different genes are carried through depending on the gender? Or, what is the need to differentiate these types of cousins?

    1. Owain Post author

      Thanks Jasmine for the comment and thank you for liking the post. It can get quite confusing what with all these terms and so I am glad that I have made it a little easier.

      To be honest I did stumble upon the terms parallel and cross cousin while researching for this post. Digging a little deeper and I read that it is encouraged in some cultures. So because it is practiced I believe that there needed to be a definition for it.

  5. jeremy9

    It’s most likely we all need comfort and its articles like this that makes us come to our peaceful rest when having time. Genealogy can be an exciting adventure as we discover our ancestors. So this is great that you are helping so many people.

    1. Owain Post author

      I am glad that you liked the post Jeremy. Yes genealogy is an adventure. It’s more like a journey that we take. We take a step at a time and discover our ancestors along the way. Who knows where we will go on our adventure and who we will meet.

  6. Eve

    This is great. it is a confusing aspect of ancestry. This helps a lot. Thanks for sharing. Just printed it up for my resources folder.

    1. Owain Post author

      Glad that it has helped you Eve. If there is anything that you would like help with then please feel free to let me know. I am here to help.


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