Cousins are Cousins, Removed or Not

I don’t know how we got onto the subject, but one new found cousin (Patricia) was having problems understanding how things go when you are a third cousin twice removed or a second cousin thrice removed.

I did not claim to be an authourity, but I tried to explain in as simple a way that I could, so that I could still understand it myself:

I told Patricia that she was the same generation as my late father, Daniel; and that the two of them are third cousins.

The meaning of “third” in front of cousins, in this example, meant that they were the third generation of cousins.  Their late mothers were second cousins and their respective grandparents were (first) cousins.

I then introduced myself into the explanation: telling her that she and I are third cousins once removed (3C1R).

“Once removed” means that there is one generation’s difference between us. Either one generation sooner or one generation later — with me, it is one later.

The term “third cousin” is always taken from the older person, (so Patricia) and the number of generations removed would be from the other person (me).  So, third cousin once removed.

If it was third cousin twice removed (3C2R), then that would explain two generations difference between the two people; like Patricia and my son, Junior.

To hopefully make things easier, I concluded: If she had children, they and I would be fourth cousins; and that her grandchildren and my sons would be fifth cousins.

Within a few hours, she wrote back very happy. She was able to follow along with my explanation very easily.

I was just glad I was able to help 🙂

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