Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Family Relationship Terms
does "Once Removed" really mean ?
- What about twins and their children?
family terms include:
(brothers and sisters) who share a set of parents.
are your parents' parents.
cousins are persons who share a set of grandparents (but aren't siblings).
cousins share a set of great-grandparents (but aren't first cousins or
cousins share a set of great-great-grandparents (but aren't second cousins
"first", "second" and "third" indicates the number
of generations you are away from a set of common grandparents.
indicates that the two people being compared are a different number of
generations away from their common ancestor.
The other part of the phrase, 'first cousin,' 'second cousin,' 'third cousin,'
etc., describes the
relationship of two people who are/were in the same generation.
Their is no 'removed' used for people with the same grandparents. They are
cousins. Similarly, two people whose first common ancestors are the same
great-grandparents are second cousins.
cousin once removed is either:
child of your first cousin
the child of your grand-aunt/uncle
Why are they
Because they are in a different generation than you, when compared to the
most recent ancestor that you have in common!
Americans tend to call the children of their first
cousins, their own "second cousins." That is wrong.
Remember the rule about counting the number of generations to the common
ancestor to see if there
are any "removeds" to add to the cousin title. In this case, the
children of our first cousins are our
Note: there is a time in American History where
the term "cousin" was used very loosely. A cousin was
So, in plain English - Your children and your first
cousin's children would be second cousins.
For example, if you were descended from a brother or
sister of Cipual Vines or Lewis Keeling, then you would be a great,
great,......,great nephew or neice of Cipual or Lewis. If you descended from a
first cousin of Cipual or Lewis, you would be Cipual's or Lewis' first cousin,
many, many times removed.
This is pretty confusing past a few generations and is probably why people just
called themselves cousins. Or more appropriately, as Al Runnels in Hooks,
Texas says - "Kinfolk."
Interesting subject!! As we have all heard there are 2
types of twins - identical and fraternal. Identical twins share an exact
set of genes. Fraternal Twins are just like other siblings, except they
share the same age in the family.
When Identical Twins have children, their children are
really half-siblings. They could also be called cousins, but genetically, they
When one set of Identical Twins marry another set of
Identical Twins, their children are full siblings. But let's just
call them "kinfolk."
Charles L. Vines
Family Historian and Geneologist
Revised: September 15, 2008