The Difference Between 2nd Cousins and Cousins Twice Removed

There is a very easy way to keep track of whether cousins are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc., or whether they are cousins once, twice, thrice, or more removed. With a family like mine, full of cousins of various varieties, we need to be able to keep track of such things, so here’s how you do it:

Removed is generations. So my cousin’s kids? Once removed from me. One generation removed from me. My cousin’s GRANDkids? That’s twice removed.

The “1st, 2nd, 3rd” thing is talking about how many branches over on the ol’ family tree you are from someone. My siblings are on my branch, but my “cousins,” my first cousins, are on the first branch over. We don’t share parents, but we share grandparents. If we share GREAT grandparents only, we are 2nd cousins, because they are on the 2nd branch over.

Get it?


Okay, fine, I’ll write you a song about it to help you remember. But don’t say I never got you anything.

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