Have you ever wondered how to figure out the relationship between you and your dad’s cousin? Maybe you have met them at a family reunion or seen them on a genealogy website. Or maybe you are just curious about how cousin relationships work. In this article, we will explain how to determine what kind of cousin your dad’s cousin is to you, and what that means for your family history.
What is a Cousin?
A cousin is someone who shares a common ancestor with you that is at least two generations away, such as a grandparent or a great-grandparent. You and your siblings are not cousins because your parents are only one generation away from you.
What is a First Cousin?
A first cousin is someone who shares a grandparent with you. That means they are the child of one of your parents’ siblings. For example, if your dad’s mom and his aunt or uncle have a child (your dad’s cousin), then that person would be your first cousin. The same goes if your dad’s father has a sibling with a child (your dad’s cousin).
According to The DNA Tests, your dad’s cousin is your first cousin once removed. This means they are one generation away from you, and share a common grandparent with your dad. If your dad’s cousin has a child, that child is your second cousin. This means they are in the same generation as you, and share a common great-grandparent with you.
What is a Second Cousin?
A second cousin is someone who shares a great-grandparent with you. That means they are the child of one of your first cousins. For example, if your dad’s cousin has a child (your second cousin), then that person would share a great-grandparent with you.
According to Genealogy Explained, the number associated with your cousin has to do with how many generations away your common ancestor is. For example:
- First cousins share a grandparent (2 generations)
- Second cousins share a great-grandparent (3 generations)
- Third cousins share a great-great-grandparent (4 generations)
- Fourth cousins share a 3rd-great-grandparent (5 generations)
You can use this trick to figure out what number cousin your relative is: count how many “greats” are in your common ancestor’s title and add 1. For example, if you share 4th-great-grandparents with someone, that makes you 5th cousins.
What Does it Mean to be a Cousin “Once Removed”?
Sometimes you and your cousin may share a common ancestor, but you each call this ancestor something different. For example, the common ancestor may be your great-grandparent, but your cousin’s great-great-grandparent. This is where the phrase “once removed” comes in handy.
To be “once removed” from a cousin means you are separated by one generation. The number before “removed” will always represent the number of generations you are separated (“removed”) from the cousin. For example, if you are one generation away from your first cousin, then you are first cousins once removed. If you are two generations away from your second cousin, then you are second cousins twice removed.
According to FamilySearch, you can use this chart to identify a cousin relationship without using a chart:
- For cousins that are in the same generation: determine the most recent common ancestor between the two people whose relationship you are trying to determine. Then use the “add 1” trick to find out what number cousin they are.
- For cousins that are not in the same generation: follow the steps above for the person who is more closely related to the common ancestor. Then determine the number of generations between the two potential cousins. Or conversely, determine how many generations further away from the common ancestor the second person is. Then add the “removed” phrase accordingly.
Now that you know how to calculate what kind of cousin your dad’s cousin is to you, you can explore your family tree more easily and confidently. You can also use this knowledge to connect with distant relatives and learn more about your ancestry and heritage. Remember, cousins are people who share a common ancestor with you that is at least two generations away. The number of generations determines what number cousin they are, and the difference in generations determines if they are “removed” or not. Happy researching!