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Easy Family Relationship Chart For Your Genealogy Research!

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 help you to understand what it all means.

Family Relationship Chart

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.

Skip To Relationship Chart!

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 related 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 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 were 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 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 a calculator that you can download.

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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 in 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 is 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 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 Relationship Chart

(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.

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 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:

  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.

In this example, you have found the point where the two boxes meet which thus shows you your relationship with 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 (you can learn more about third cousins here)
  • 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.

For more information please check out Simple Family Relationship Chart for Naming Kinfolk at

Thank You and Please Leave A Comment

I hope this easy family relationships chart and that 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.

Article Name
Easy Family Relationship Chart To Use
Discover what "Second Cousin" or "Once Removed" means with this practical guide. The easy-to-use family relationship chart will make it simple for you.
Publisher Name
The Genealogy Guide
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22 thoughts on “Easy Family Relationship Chart For Your Genealogy Research!”

  1. Unfortunately the link provided for the family tree relationship calculator does not work. says is has been replaced or does not exist anymore.

    1. Hi Deb,

      Thanks for the heads up. I’ve taken out that link and replaced it with the original picture I had. Unfortunately it is a bit small but is still usable.

      You just need to right-click on and save it.

      Hope this helps,

      1. Hi Owain, Thanks for your prompt attention. Kind of worked the way you said; simply right-clicking on the image required selecting which page I wanted to print as it queued up the entire article. I wound up highlighting the image, then right clicked to print, flipped layout to landscape, selection only, and enlarged as much as I could (about 130%). All the information you provided is very helpful and much appreciated.

      2. Thanks for getting back to me. Seems to be a bit of a workaround but I’m glad that you got there in the end. Hopefully the 130% scale hasn’t blurred it too much.

        I tried searching for the original source but couldn’t find it. When I have more time I’ll have to check again so I can make a larger version available.

        Thanks again,

  2. Bob Hinchcliffe

    The video was really helpful in understanding those cousin relationships and the term “removed”, because I was having trouble previously with the Cousin Chart. So well done! I notice however that no mention was made of the change in logic of the cousin terminology above Bob’s level (in the video) compared to that below it. Eg with reference to Bob his parent has a 1st cousin, who is rightly once removed from Bob, but is not in the line of descent of first cousins. That cousin is actually in the line of descent of the second cousins, so why is he or she not described as “second cousin once removed” (and similarly with other cousins above Bob)? This would make the terminology consistent with the pattern below Bob’s generation. Can you give some explanation of this – other than that it might be “tradition”.
    The whole diagram is an attempt to name the points on a network, apparently with the Cousin Number being a horizontal axis and the “Removal” being the more or less vertical axis. I can live with using the closer relationship names like nephew and Great grandfather etc because they are so familiar and I don’t need a diagram at all for them, but the logic of those cousin numbers above the level of Bob escapes me.

    1. Hi Bob,

      Yeah I know it’s confusing and it does take a while to get used to it.

      This is one way that I think of it. If you take Bob’s aunt or uncle. You don’t call that person 1st cousin once removed. That’s because in my mind they aren’t a cousin.

      So with that logic every time you see a cousin that is on your level you can add the cousin counter, (i.e. second to third), and remove the once removed part.

      Basically it’s all to do with the common ancestor you share.

      I don’t think I have explained it that well so I’ve found another video that may help you.

      Crista Cowan from Ancestry explains Family Tree relationships

      Just scroll to 5 minutes where she gets on to first/second cousin.

      Hope that helps, and please let me know how you go.

      1. Bob Hinchcliffe

        I did look at the whole video of Christa, but did not find the answer to my original question. I think your comment Owain is the key to it ,ie we want to keep on describing the fairly close relationship with our parents’ siblings as “Aunt” or “uncle” rather than “1st cousin at 1 remove”. This is understandable from an emotive viewpoint. However it is not logical from a technical standpoint. There is no reason why a person affectionately and correctly called “auntie” to her face cannot also be described technically as “1st cousin at 1 remove”. What tradition seems to require is that my relationship with a cousinly ancestor has to be measured from me through my parent’s sibling, or grandparent’s sibling etc and not through our common ancestor. It also means that a 1st (or other number) cousin description can be found progressively ascending back through the generations forever. It is the purpose of the word “Remove” to reflect the steps between generations, not “Cousin Numbers”. Above Bob’s generation tradition seems to want to use both of these. Look, I know I cannot win over tradition, but I want to shake its tree. At this point I am happy to accept your comment and leave it at that.
        All the best for your website.

      2. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you with your query. I hoped that the Ancestry video would enlighten a little bit more.

        But yeah family tree relationships are a bit muddled. The removed part can be above or below your line in the tree so that word doesn’t really tell you at first where that person would be.

        Also, with regard to British family trees, my grandmother’s sister is called great-aunt, when to me I would refer to her as grand-aunt. That can be confusing.

        Anyways all the best with your research and thank you for your query.

  3. Kenneth D Daugherty

    I really like how Jared Owen explained family relationships. Can you tell me if he has a written form of his presentation?

  4. Owain,
    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.

  5. 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. 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. 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. 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.

  7. 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. 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.

  8. 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. 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.

  9. 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. 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 🙂

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