by Larry E Heck
PO Box 1897
Castle Rock, CO 80104

Go to the Index of families

COUSIN:  1st 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.

COUSIN:  2nd Cousin

Your second cousins are the people in your family who have the same great-grandparent as you…but not the same grandparents.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Cousins

Your third cousins have the same great-great-grandparents, fourth cousins have the same 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 are 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 cousin, twice removed.

Let's see if we can make this work.  I thank my cousin, Sandi, for providing the above description.  Now let's how she and I are related.

We share her great great grandmother, Barbara Schafer.  That means she is my third cousin.  

Barbara Schafer is my great great great grandmother so there is a one generation difference.  That means
I am once removed.  We are third cousins, once removed.  

Let me know if I did that wrong.