Humanities › History & Culture How Are Cousins Related? Share Flipboard Email Print Getty / Natasha Sioss History & Culture Genealogy Basics Surnames Genealogy Fun Vital Records Around the World American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated February 20, 2020 If someone walked up to you and said "Hi, I'm your third cousin, once removed," would you know what they meant? Most of us don't think about our relationships in such exact terms ("cousin" seems good enough), so many of us aren't very familiar with what these words mean. When tracing your family history, but it can be important to understand the various types of cousin relationships. Second Cousin The degree of cousin relationship is based on the most recent direct ancestor that two people have in common. First cousins are the people in your family who have two of the same grandparents as you.Second cousins have the same great-grandparents as you, but not the same grandparents.Third cousins have in common two great-great-grandparents and their ancestors. "Once Removed" When cousins descend from common ancestors by a different number of generations they are called “removed.” Once removed means there is a difference of one generation. Your mother's first cousin would be your first cousin, once removed. She is one generation younger than your grandparents and you are two generations younger than your grandparents.Twice removed means that there is a two-generation difference. Your grandmother's first cousin would be your first cousin, twice removed because you are separated by two generations. Double Cousin Just to complicate matters, there are also many cases of double cousins. This situation usually occurs when two or more siblings from one family marry two or more siblings from another family. The resulting children, grandchildren, etc. are double cousins, because they share all four grandparents (or great-grandparents) in common. These types of relationships can be difficult to determine and it is usually easiest to chart them one at a time (through one family line and then through the other line). Family Relationship Chart 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 Common Ancestor Son or Daughter Grandson or Daughter Great Grandson or Daughter 2nd Great Grandson or Daughter 3rd Great Grandson or Daughter 4th Great Grandson or Daughter 2 Son or Daughter Brother or Sister Niece orNephew Grand Nieceor Nephew Great Grand Niece or Nephew 2nd Great Grand Niece or Nephew 3rd Great Grand Niece or Nephew 3 Grandson or Daughter Niece or Nephew First Cousin First Cousin Once Removed First Cousin Twice Removed First Cousin Three Times Removed First Cousin Four Times Removed 4 Great Grandson or Daughter Grand Niece or Nephew First Cousin Once Removed Second Cousin Second Cousin Once Removed Second Cousin Twice Removed Second Cousin Three Times Removed 5 2nd Great Grandson or Daughter Great Grand Niece or Nephew First Cousin Twice Removed Second Cousin Once Removed Third Cousin Third Cousin Once Removed Third Cousin Twice Removed 6 3rd Great Grandson or Daughter 2nd Great Grand Niece or Nephew First Cousin Three Times Removed Second Cousin Twice Removed Third Cousin Once Removed Fourth Cousin Fourth Cousin Once Removed 7 4th Great Grandson or Daughter 3rd Great Grand Niece or Nephew First Cousin Four Times Removed Second Cousin Three Times Removed Third Cousin Twice Removed Fourth Cousin Once Removed Fifth Cousin How to Calculate How Two People Are Related Select two people in your family and figure out the most recent direct ancestor they have in common. For example, if you chose yourself and a first cousin, you would have a grandparent in common.Look at the top row of the chart (in blue) and find the first person's relationship to the common ancestor.Look at the far left column of the chart (in blue) and find the second person's relationship to the common ancestor.Move across the columns and down the rows to determine where the row and column containing these two relationships (from #2 & #3) meet. This box is the relationship between the two individuals. How Did Consanguinity Work in Medieval Marriages? 10 Top Genealogy Questions—And Answers! Presidential Family Trees: Genealogies of US Presidents How Was Queen Victoria Related to Her Husband Prince Albert? La Famille and French Family Vocabulary How to Fill out Genealogical Forms: Pedigree Chart & Group Sheet How Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Are Distantly Related Did You Know These 10 Facts About the Periodic Table? Are You at Risk? 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