If you’re confused about how people in your family are related to one another, let me try to demystify the concept of once- or twice-removed. ‘Removed” refers to how many generations apart the two people are. Think about your own family. You and your first cousins are of the same generation, but their children and you are a generation apart — or first cousins, once removed.
It’s all based on the siblings. The children of the siblings are first cousins. The grandchildren of the siblings are second cousins (or second generation from the sibs). So, your grandmother’s brother’s grandchildren are the same generation as you — 2nd cousins.
Where it gets tricky is when the people are of different generations. Example, your child’s relationship to your sister’s grandchild…first cousins, once removed (one generation difference).
The family trees I create show generations in a visual way so that relationships like these are easy to establish.
In this family, the children of siblings Shaindl and Beila are first cousins….they’re of the same generation (that is, Chaika and Leib are first cousins with Myra and Esther). The next generation are second cousins (that is, Barbara is a 2nd cousin to Linda and Stephen). Angela and Matthew, the next generation, are 3rd cousins. Matthew is 2nd cousin once removed from Barbara, because his mother, Linda, is 2nd cousin (same generation) to Barbara and he is a generation removed from them.
© 2012 Copyright Billie Elias