When meeting a new family member, one who is living or one who died long ago, I always want to put a label on them. I feel a need to know exactly what our relationship is, but it’s one of the things I’ve never got to grips with.
I find it easier to go to my ancestry site, where you can just click on the other persons name and find ‘their relationship to you’, but it would be nice to be able to work it out for myself. Through ancestry I know the cousins I recently found in America are my third cousins once removed, and my new family in Australia are my third cousins, but I had no idea how this was figured out.
At the moment I’m reading a great book, ‘Who Was Your Granny’s Granny?’ by Paul Blake and Audrey Collins. There is a short paragraph that explains very clearly ‘the exact meaning of relationships, such as second cousin twice removed.’ It goes on to say,
“Any relationship between two individuals refers back to their descent from a common ancestor. Therefore siblings have the same parents – half-siblings only share one parent. first cousins have the same grandparents; second cousins have the same great-grandparents; and so on ad infinitum. ‘Removed’ describes how many generations from the actual cousin a person is. Therefore the child of a second cousin is ‘second cousin once removed’ and the grandchild of a first cousin is ‘second cousin twice removed.'”
I’ve always wondered what my cousin Sue’s children are ‘to me’, and now I know they are my first cousins once removed! I think!
Who Was Your Granny’s Granny, Blake & Collins, foulsham publishers England, 2003.