Understand The Difference Between Second Cousins And Cousins Once Removed

The next family reunion will be epic.

I’ll be the first one to admit. Family can get a bit confusing sometimes. I mean how are you supposed to remember the obvious difference between second cousin and cousin once removed.

I don’t even know what cousins once removed is. As I just call everyone my cousin. That’s the only way I know, not to hurt someone’s feelings. First cousins can get confusing as hell, and now we are supposed to remember more?

Well, I am thankful that I discovered this handy chart that explains all of this confusing mess quickly. Alice J. Ramsey designed this chart in 1987. Her sound advice still applies though.

“The relationship in each box is what that person’s relationship would be to you, where you are “self.””

What does Once Removed mean?

Well, you aren’t the only one to ask. However, The Chart lets you see what it means. To put it simply, those first, second or third cousins belong to the same generation. But when you branch into different generations, that’s when once or twice removed comes up.

“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.” Genealogy explained.

“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.”

I know that some of this just confuses things more. But, don’t worry. Just look at the chart, and you’ll understand.

Via Alice J. Ramsay

Why are we so obsessed with our ancestry?

Well, the answer to this question lies in the evolutionary forces. We care about our ancestors because we share some similar genes.

Beverly Strassmann, a University of Michigan anthropologist, explains. “People can pass on their genes either by having their own offspring, or by helping their kin to reproduce.”

“The fascination goes back to antiquity, Royalty, for example, and nobility were very obsessed with creating genealogies that would link them to heroes.” Eviatar Zerubavel, a sociologist at Rutgers University, said.



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