What Is a Second Cousin?
The number associated with your cousin has to do with how many generations away your common ancestor is. For example:
- First cousins share a grandparent (2 generations)
- Second cousins share a great-grandparent (3 generations)
- Third cousins share a great-great-grandparent (4 generations)
- Fourth cousins share a 3rd-great grandparent (5 generations)
Quick Tip: Count how many “greats” are in your common ancestor’s title and add 1 to find out what number cousin your relative is. Note that grandparents have no “greats” in their titles, so cousins who share grandparents are first cousins because 0 + 1 = 1. However, keep in mind that this trick only works if you are both the same number of generations removed from the common ancestor.
Sometimes you and your cousin may share a common ancestor, but you each call this ancestor something different. For example, the common ancestor may be your great-grandparent, but your cousin’s great-great grandparent.
This is where the phrase “once removed” comes in handy.
You can download a cousins chart (and more information about family relationships) from this link: http://fh.familysearch.org/system/files/team/ait/images/blog/cousin-chart.pdf