This fine explanation of what cousins are is courtesy of Carolyn H. Jett.

About 99% of persons don't understand the difference between "second cousin" and "first cousin once removed." (That is, they don't understand it until I have drawn a diagram and explained it thoroughly.)

Let me draw a diagram for you:

               |                         |
             Bill                      Charles
               |                         |
               |                         |
             Daniel                    Everett
               |                         |
               |                         |
             Frank                     George
               |                         |
               |                         |
             Harry                     Ingram

Albert is the father of Bill and Charles (brothers). Bill's son is Daniel, and Charles' son is Everett. Daniel and Everett are first cousins. (No problem yet, right?)

Daniel's son is Frank and Everett's son is George. Frank and George are second cousins.

Daniel and George are first cousins once removed. Everett and Frank are first cousins once removed. (That is, first cousins Daniel & Everett are the closest relationship, and they are one generation removed from that relationship.)

Moving on, Frank's son is Harry, and George's son is Ingram. Harry and Ingram are third cousins. Frank and Ingram are second cousins once removed, and George and Harry are second cousins once removed.

Daniel and Ingram are first cousins twice removed, and Everett and Harry also are first cousins twice removed.

I know! It boggles the mind at first, but print it out and read it while you look at the chart, and the logic of it will make it easier.

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Last Update: Sunday, December 30, 2007