Amy Alusa@amyalulsa posted in CHATTERBOX
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.
Bea L. - 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.
Pat DiMercurio - Oct 7, 2013
I always wondered about that whole cousin thing. Thanks Amy.
Kay Pressel - 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.
Amy Alusa - 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!
Laurie Sanders - 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.
Ellen Bales - Oct 7, 2013
And don't forget me, Cousin Bea!
Thea Pappalardo - Oct 7, 2013
My first cousin's daughter is my first cousin once removed. This same person is my daughter's second cousin. It's really not that confusing when it's explained in simple terms.
Bea L. - Oct 7, 2013
Hey, Ellen, wonder if we are once or twice removed??? LOL!!!! I'm still so confused on the 'removed' thing.
Pam Ellingson - Oct 7, 2013
I have been "removed" several times from many places, but not genealogically. LOL
Ellen Bales - Oct 7, 2013
It's easy, just as Thea says. If you're on equal footing as to who your grandparents are, you're 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. If you're a different generation, you're "removed."

My cousin Claudia and I are second cousins, once removed. My grandfather and her great-grandmother were brother and sister. Their children (my mother and Claudia's grandmother) were first cousins. Claudia's mother and I are second cousins. So, Claudia and I and second cousins, once removed. Claudia and my son are third cousins.

Get it?
Ellen Bales - Oct 7, 2013
Should read "are" second cousins, once removed.
Melanie B - Oct 8, 2013
I'm going to send this to my cousin. We are both heavy into genealogy. I never understood the whole remove thing either.
What is funny is that there is a huge age difference, so even though I am from a different social generation (we are almost 20 years apart in age) we are genealogically of the same generation. Our mothers are sisters.
Ellen Bales - Oct 8, 2013
I have a weird association, too, Melanie. Even though my cousin Claudia's great-grandmother and my grandfather were siblings, Claudia is several years older than I am. It should be the other way around. And Claudia's mother and I are second cousins, but she is some 30 years older than I am.
Amy Alusa - Oct 9, 2013
Those are the things that make it so crazy confusing for me. If I want to take an hour and figure it all out, I guess I can...but I actually have more to do than just that!
Win Spicer - Oct 9, 2013
Great information!