when working on your family history, it's handy to know how to
describe your family relationships more exactly. The definitions
below should help you out.
Your first cousins are
the people in your family who have two of the same grandparents
as you. In other words, they are the children of your aunts and
Your second cousins
are the people in your family who have the same
great-grandparents as you, but not the same grandparents.
Third, Fourth, and
Your third cousins
have the same great-great-grandparents, fourth cousins have the
same great-great-great-grandparents, and so on.
When the word
"removed" is used to describe a relationship, it
indicates that the two people are from different generations.
You and your first cousins are in the same generation (two
generations younger than your grandparents), so the word
"removed" is not used to describe your relationship.
The words "once removed" mean that there is a
difference of one generation. For example, your mother's first
cousin is your first cousin, once removed. This is because your
mother's first cousin is one generation younger than your
grandparents and you are two generations younger than your
grandparents. This one-generation difference equals
Twice removed means that there is a two-generation difference.
You are two generations younger than a first cousin of your
grandmother, so you and your grandmother's first cousin are
first cousins, twice removed.
Parallel and Double
Parallel cousins are
the children of two brothers or two sisters. Example: Two
SMITH brothers marry two JONES sisters -- their offspring will
be double first cousins.
Regular first cousins share only one set of common ancestors,
while double first cousins share all lineal and collateral
relatives. Also, these SMITH-JONES children would be parallel
(or ortho) first cousins.
The chart below is helpful
in determining the relationship between two people.