Cracking the cousin code

December 19, 2007

Family, Random Thoughts

cousins Totally random thought here, but I finally got the answer to something I’ve been wanting to know for years. I finally cracked the “Great Cousin Code,” thanks to Wikipedia. I’ve always had a general idea of the difference between 1st, 2nd and 3rd cousins, but I was totally lost on the once removed, twice removed and all that jargon. I’ve really only known this confusing system because of my family in Tampa, FL. Marianne is my mom’s cousin. I knew that they were first cousins. Even though she’s a generation older than me, I knew that Marianne was my cousin as well. I assumed that she was my second cousin because she is already first cousins with my mom. Then I got really confused about her girls, Carrie and Miranda. What are they to me? If I’m second cousins with Marianne, am I now first cousins with Miranda and Carrie, or are we third cousins? Maybe this is where the removed system comes in, but I didn’t know… but now I do!

According to Wikipedia, the degrees (first, second, third) is determined by how many generations separate either of the cousins from the nearest common ancestor. Marianne and my mom are first cousins because they both share the same grandparents and are separated from them by only one generations (both of their mom’s are the generation between them and their common ancestor). Here is where I have been wrong. This makes Marianne and me first cousins as well. Although there are two generations between me and our common ancestor, Marianne still only has one generation between our common ancestor and the rule is that the degree is determined by “either” of the cousin’s nearest relation. I am; however, second cousins with Miranda and Carrie because we both have two generations between us and our common ancestor.

The remove (once, twice or three times) is the easiest part. This is determined by how many generations separate the two cousins from each other. Marianne and I are first cousins, but she is a generation older than me, so she is my first cousin once removed. But I am just second cousins with Miranda and Carrie because we are from the same generation. Titus; however, is second cousins once removed from Miranda and Carrie and first cousins, twice removed from Marianne.

It’s not nearly as confusing once you understand the system. You can read it all here at Wikipedia. I made a chart to further illustrate for my family.

generations Okay, hopefully this doesn’t make things more confusing. This family tree is all from my perspective and how they relate to me. Looking at this chart while reading the examples of how I relate to my cousins will make it all come together.


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One Response to “Cracking the cousin code”

  1. Nene Says:

    We’ve GOT to get you working REAL soon! You’ve got wayyyyyy too much time on your hands! Hope Sara gets to sunny Georgia safely! Love you all, Nene


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