My wife’s cousin (my wife’s mother’s brother’s daughter) has had some children.
We were debating over a family lunch the other day about what relationship they are to us.
We thought that since it was our cousin’s children, they would be second cousins. But then what relation would our children be to them ? Third cousins ? It didn’t really add up to do it like that.
Naturally all it needed was 5 seconds on Google to find an answer…
If someone walked up to you and said “Howdy, I’m your third cousin, twice removed,” would you have any idea what they meant? Most people have a good understanding of basic relationship words such as “mother,” “father,” “aunt,” “uncle,” “brother,” and “sister.” But what about the relationship terms that we don’t use in everyday speech? Terms like “second cousin” and “first cousin, once removed”? We don’t tend to speak about our relationships in such exact terms (“cousin” seems good enough when you are introducing one person to another), so most of us aren’t familiar with what these words mean.
Sometimes, especially when working on your family history, it’s handy to know how to describe your family relationships more exactly. The definitions below should help you out.
Cousin (a.k.a “first 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.
Your second cousins are the people in your family who have the same great-grandparents 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 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 cousins, twice removed.
So, the answer is now quite obvious… the children in question are our first cousins, once removed. If we had children ourselves, our children and my wife’s cousin’s children would be second cousins.
Indeed, I was always taught the same.
So now we know better (like you actually already did).
Wow! Sim’ well done. But you’ve now proved something scarey.
For Greeks second cousins are the children of first cousins (i.e. as described above). But I’ve grown up being told the that to the rest of the world, second cousins describes the relationship of my kids to my first cousins (i.e. above first cousins once removed).
Thus you’ve proved that Greeks have it right after all!