Does the term “second cousin, once removed” baffle you? It’s OK if it does because the easy family relationship chart in this post will definitely help you to understand what it all means.
If you are new to genealogy then it can be quite confusing. Not only are you discovering a whole new world but there are all these new terms as well.
With that said you may like to check out My Fun Family History Dictionary that defines a load of genealogy terms for you.
What do all these relationship 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?
I was just hooked on learning about my family history and I had to learn the lingo in order to discover them.
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 our family tree.
When it comes to first cousins we usually refer to them simply as cousins. That’s simple enough.
As they maybe close to us, (i.e. we may visit them regularly), you will know that they are a child from a sibling of one of your parents. Hope I haven’t confused you there.
What about other cousins though?
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?
You may like to check out the following video that will help you to understand it all. I think it’ll make you understand what all these different family relationships actually mean.
Credit: Jared Owen
After watching the video you can check out the rest of the post.
And also download the Family Tree Relationship Calculator that you can refer to whenever you want.
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.
(Right Click and Save. Apologies for the small size.)
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.
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).
4 Steps to work out a relationship:
- First you need to know how you are related to that common ancestor(s). In this example you are a great grandchild.
- Next find that term on the horizontal line of the chart.
- 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).
- In this example the person that you have met is your second cousin.
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.
Parallel and cross cousins!
Not to confuse you even more but have you ever heard of the terms parallel cousin or cross cousin?
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 have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below.
Please share with family and friends if you think this post will help others by using the social media buttons below.