Amy Alusa amyalulsa - Oct 7, 2013

Second Cousin Twice Removed?

I thought that this was interesting; and that some of you would be interested in this too!!!

What is a First Cousin, Twice Removed?
Reproduced from Family Tree Maker magazine

If someone walked up to you and said "Howdy, I'm your third cousin , twice removed," would you have any idea what they meant? Everyone has a good understanding of basic relationship words such as "mother," "father," "aunt" and "uncle." But what about the relationship terms that we don't use in everyday speech? Terms like "second cousin" and "first cousin, once removed"? We don't tend to speak about our relationships in such exact terms, so most of us aren't familiar with what these words mean.

Relationship Terms

Sometimes, especially 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.

Cousin (a. k. a. "first cousin")

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 uncles.

Second Cousin

Your second cousins are the people in your family who share one set of the same great-grandparents with you.

Third, Fourth and Fifth Cousins

Your third cousins share one set of great-great-grandparents, fourth cousins share one set of 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 "once removed."

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.

  • Topic Comments

  • 1-5 of 15
  • user
    Bea L. BeachChic - Oct 7, 2013
    Lordy mercy, I'm still confused on the 'removed' part. I only claim first & second cousins. By the way, I have double first cousins, Amy.
  • user
    Pat DiMercurio javancookie - Oct 7, 2013
    I always wondered about that whole cousin thing. Thanks Amy.
  • user
    Kay Pressel Kayitten - Oct 7, 2013
    Thank you for this info. My daughter & I often discuss our family relationships and try to explain to my 14 year old granddaughter. This will be very interesting to my daughter also. My mom had 12 siblings & my dad had 5. Lots of cousins. I did have the "removed" definition correct.
  • user
    Amy Alusa amyalulsa - Oct 7, 2013
    It confuses me too Bea!! I can't imagine keeping all of that straight. I wish I could; but after reading it a few times, I felt more confused than I was before! Maybe it's because I am having a bad head day!
  • user
    Laurie Sanders rhinemaidens3 - Oct 7, 2013
    We figured this out awhile back in our family because we were trying to figure out what my relationship with my dad's cousin was. I am his first cousin once removed and his son and I are second cousins.