What is a Second Cousin?

The of cousin relationship is based on the most recent direct ancestor that two people have in common.

  • First cousins are the people in your family who have two of the same grandparents as you.
  • Second cousins have the same great-grandparents as you, but not the same grandparents.
  • Third cousins have in common two great-great-grandparents and their ancestors. 

What Does “Once Removed” Mean?

When cousins by a different number of generations they are called “removed.”

  • Once removed means there is a difference of one generation. Your mother’s first cousin would be your first cousin, once removed. She is one generation younger than your grandparents and you are two generations younger than your grandparents.
  • Twice removed means that there is a two-generation difference. Your grandmother’s first cousin would be your first cousin, twice removed because you are separated by two generations. 

What is a Double Cousin?

Just to complicate matters, there are also many cases of double cousins. This situation usually occurs when two or more siblings from one family marry two or more siblings from another family. The resulting children, grandchildren, etc.  are double cousins, because they share all four grandparents (or great-grandparents) in common. These types of relationships can be difficult to determine and it is usually easiest to one at a time (through one family line and then through the other line). 

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