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Feel like you need a calculus equation to figure out exactly how youre related to cousin so-and-so from your moms great-grandmothers brothers line? Let us simplify things.
What kind of cousins you are depends on the most recent ancestor you share with your relative. First cousins share grandparents. Second cousins share great-grandparents, third cousins share great-great-grandparents, and so on. Add a great for each generation away from the common ancestor.
Things get trickier when youre talking about removed cousins. Each removal signifies one generation of difference between the two cousins. Your first cousins child is your first cousin once removed. Your first cousins grandchild is your first cousin twice removed. For example, Ann and Bea, who met at a genealogical society meeting, should follow these steps to determine their cousin relationship:
1. Identify the most recent ancestor. For Ann and Bea, lets say its James Eugene Harding, born in 1850.
2. Determine each cousins relationship to that ancestor. Ann and Bea determined that James is Anns great-great-grandfather and Beas fourth-great-grandfather.
3. Equalize the cousins at the level of the one closest to the common ancestor. Equalizing the cousins at Anns level would make them third cousins.
4. Add one removed for each difference in generations between the cousins. Two greats separate Ann and Beatheyre third cousins twice removed.
From the May/June 2015 Family Tree Magazine