Most of us know who our grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephew and nieces are. But when it comes to cousins, many people get confused about what constitutes a 2nd or 3rd cousin, or a 1st cousin once removed. Hopefully, this explanation and kinship chart will clarify the matter.
Basically, a cousin is someone with whom you share a common ancestor. How close in generations that ancestor is denotes whether that cousin is first, second, third and so on.
So, a 1st cousin is one who shares a grandparent with you and is a child of your parents’ siblings. If your first cousin has a child, then that child is a first cousin ‘once removed’. If that child then grows up and has a child, that new child will be a first cousin ‘twice removed’ and so on. In other words, the line from your aunts and uncles are always first cousins.
A 2nd cousin is one descended from your grandparents’ siblings and with whom you share a common great-grandparent. Your second cousin is therefore the child of your parent’s first cousin. Again, each subsequent generation is ‘once removed.’
A 3rd cousin is descended from your great-great grandparents, and so on.
The following kinship chart should clarify everything:
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