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What is a Cousin Once Removed

Updated on August 26, 2011

What is a Cousin Once Removed?

Just the other day I was on the Facebook page playing Farmville when all of a sudden I received a request from “We’re Related”. Naturally I was curious as to what this was so I clicked on the link and found a request from my cousin. She wanted me to acknowledge our relation. Since I knew her when we were kids and I knew she was the daughter of my Grandpa’s Nephew, I accepted her request.



Then the Facebook “We’re Related” thing asked me what our relation is to each other. Since the option for Grandpa’s—nephew’s—daughter wasn’t available I had to figure out what kind of cousin she is. The options were first cousin, first cousin once removed, first cousin twice removed, second cousin, second cousin once removed, second cousin twice removed, and third cousin. At this time I remembered my Grandpa talking about cousins and how it all works. So I drew a chart and started to figure out how my grandpa’s nephew’s daughter was related to me. Come to find out we are second cousins.

Below is a chart similar to the one I used to figure it out.

Cousin Chart Simplified

a. 1st Cousin 
b. 1st Cousin 
c. Me 
d. 2nd Cousins 
e. 2nd Cousins 
f. Daughter 
g. 3rd Cousins 
h. 3rd Cousins 
i. Grand Daughter 
j. Fourth Cousins
k. Fourth Cousins
l. Great Granddaughter

In the above chart there may be some confusion so here is a breakdown of that chart.

1. C, B, and A are first cousins.

2. D and E are C's first cousins once removed.

3. G and H are C's first cousins twice removed.

4. J and K are C's first cousins thrice removed.

5. D, E, and F are second cousins.

6. G and H are F's second cousins once removed.

7. J and K are F's second cousins twice removed.

8. G, H, and I are third cousins.


First Cousins

Back to cousins, obviously your first cousins are your aunt’s and uncle’s children and they are the ones you end up growing up with even though you may only see them a few times a year. First cousins are generally the closest cousins meaning they know each other well and usually play well together for most if not all of their lives. If I was to ask you who your first cousins are, chances are extremely high you know who they are, you may even know details about them.

What happens though when your first cousin has a baby? You smoke cigars, have a baby shower, hold the new edition, and say hello to your first cousin once removed. You may be wondering, why do you remove your first cousins baby? This is simply to signify that your first cousin once removed is removed from you by one generation. In this way people know that it is your first cousins child that is being discussed, and since we like to label things that is their label.

Time goes by like normal and your first cousin once removed grows up and has a baby. By this time you’re about sixty or seventy so you smoke cigars with your cousin, you probably avoided a baby shower, you definitely held the baby, and you said hello to your first cousin twice removed. Twice removed signifies that the baby is your first cousin that has been removed from you by two generations, or your first cousins grandchild. Chances are limited but it is possible to meet a first cousin three times removed, it is rare though.

Second Cousins

Now that we are clear on what a first cousin is, along with once and twice removed, we can move on to the wonderful world of second cousins. To help demonstrate this I will use my personal life to explain. I have two daughters; my first cousin has a son. Even though I am the first cousin once removed to my first cousins son, my daughter is his second cousin. My child and the child of my first cousin are second cousins.

Now when either one of them have a child the child will be a second cousin once removed to the other. In much the same way as first cousins work it is one generation down from first cousins. A second cousins child is once removed from the second cousin, or one generation removed from the second cousin. Subsequently a second cousin’s grandchild is twice removed from the second cousin or two generations removed from the second cousin.

To avoid mass confusion I will refrain from discussing third cousins once and twice removed. The whole removal process is the same for all generations of cousins from first to fourth and beyond.

Third Cousins and Beyond

A third cousin can be categorized as your grandchild and your first cousins grandchild; they are third cousins to each other. Your great grandchild and your first cousins great grandchild are fourth cousins to each other. After that it doesn’t really matter anymore but it continues on forever. The only cousins that really matter are first, second, and third. Fourth cousins and beyond you most likely will never meet and if you do it’ll be only once.

© 2011 by Wesley Cox. All rights reserved. Copying without permission is illegal and will be prosecuted.

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    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

      I got 1 wrong from the quiz and so I think I understand now who are called "once removed". LOL! Thanks for the information.

    • profile image

      shaun 3 years ago

      I don't know about rare but I'm in my thirties and I know my first cousin's great-great grandchildren.

    • uknow profile image

      uknow 6 years ago

      this was very funny and i enjoyed reading it. after the second cousin you are really not related. and after you start removing people then it gets really confusing. i'm glad you posted this. cause i could never figure it out. "we kin folk" just don't work as well now.

    • profile image

      Andi 6 years ago

      But what do we do with parents and aunt and uncles.

      Is your grandmother's sister your great-aunt, or your aunt, once removed?

      Is your grandmother's grandmother your great-great grandmother, or your grandmother twice removed?

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Jhon, your mom's cousins kid is first cousin once removed to your mother, the child is second cousins to your mothers child. If your mom has a child then that child is first cousin once removed to your mom's first cousin.

    • profile image

      jhon 6 years ago

      i got a question, if My mom has a cousin and she has a baby. what is the relationship with that baby? Is it second or third cousin?

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      This is a great hub. I have 26 first cousins and a multitude of first and second cousins once, twice, and thrice removed. Whew, I lost count of all my real second cousins.

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      I see, again it is much easier to say cousin as opposed to first or second cousin once or twice removed. I am glad that you have found my descriptions helpful and I thank you for reading.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 6 years ago

      My comment was rather abrupt, the end of my thought. The first part is that I really did like learning about cousing once and twice removed because I often read those descriptions and didn't know how to figure the relationship. For that reason, I've simply thought 'kinfolk'.

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Perhaps when one is "removed" they ain't there! They are gone!

    • Kelly L Deeny profile image

      Kelly L Deeny 6 years ago from Bucks County, PA

      Thank you so much! This has been extremely helpful.

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Sheila b: Obviously it is easier to just say we're cousins and a lot of people do that, but from time to time we would like to know what kind of cousins we are so this will help discover how you're related to a cousin. I hope you enjoyed reading, and thank you for the comment.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 6 years ago

      On the other hand, isn't it easier just to say 'we're kin folk'?