General Question

JackAdams's avatar

What does it mean when someone says that they are someone's cousin, "twice removed"?

Asked by JackAdams (6515points) August 21st, 2008

I’ve heard that expression many times, and it was used by the child-bride of singer Jerry Lee Lewis, when she tried to claim that she wasn’t as “biologically close” to him, as was being reported by the Press. (She was his cousin.)

Is the “removal” process something that naturally occurs in families, or do the courts play a role in it?

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20 Answers

AstroChuck's avatar

It means two generations removed. Example, your maternal grandmother’s first cousin would be your mom’s first cousin once removed and your first cuz twice removed.

JackAdams's avatar

@AstroChuck: And if I had a child, my grandmother’s first cousin would be my child’s first cousin, “thrice removed?”

AstroChuck's avatar

You got it. And if your grandma’s cuz has a son he is your second cousin once removed and your mother’s second cousin. If he in turn has a son then that would be your third cousin. Got it?

Randy's avatar

Why can’t we just use the great (great) (great).... Route? It just seems less confusing.

JackAdams's avatar

@AstroChuck: Let me get out my slide rule, and I’ll try to figure it out.

JackAdams's avatar

I think that what is confusing me most, is the use of the word, “removed,” like the person was in the family, then they got “removed” from the family, then they got re-added to the family, etc., etc.

cyndyh's avatar

Try this . They explain the use of removed, and the chart at the bottom of the page should help.

McBean's avatar

Huh…I never quite knew what the “twice/thrice removed” meant. I’ve often called the “twice removed” group “second cousins”. Is this still correct?

marissa's avatar

@McBean, no, that wouldn’t be correct the way, I understand it. Lets say A and B are first cousins. A has a child AA and B has a child BB. AA has a child AAA and BB has a child BBB. Okay, here is how they are all related.
A and B are first cousins.
A and BB are first cousins once removed. (same for B and AA)
A and BBB are first cousins twice removed. (same for B and AAA)

AA and BB would be second cousins.
AA and BBB would be second cousins once removed (same for BB and AAA)

AAA and BBB would be third cousins.

This pattern would continue on and on, does that make sense?

SuperMouse's avatar

So, according to cyndyh’s link, my father’s cousins are not my second cousins as I have always thought, they are my first cousins once removed. Is that correct? So would the children of my cousins be my children’s second cousins?

marissa's avatar

@supermouse The children of your fathers first cousins (your first cousins once removed) would be your second cousins and thus your children would be their second cousins once removed. If I am understanding you correctly.

McBean's avatar

@marissa: Thanks! I think I get it now. (I’ll bet you can’t say all that three times, fast)

JackAdams's avatar

I’m glad I didn’t ask for anyone to explain to me how “I’m My Own Grandpa” can be factual…

I’d probably get a migraine, trying to figure it out.

JackAdams's avatar

@cyndyh: Thanks for the link. That helped.

@marissa: Your “A B” diagram helped, too.

Thanks to both of you.

McBean's avatar

My friend and I sometimes use the term/title “Cousin Grandpa” to refer to those mixed up lineages.

cyndyh's avatar

@JackAdams: You’re welcome. :^>

@McBean: We call those situations “beads” in the family tree rather than branches.


gailcalled's avatar

Here is another set of equally confusing Fluther relative questions.

Knotmyday's avatar

@Mcbean- “Uncle Daddy” is useful as well.

McBean's avatar

@Knotmyday…Oh, yes. Uncle Daddy, Cousin Grandpa, and Aunt Sister. Makes me a little dizzy.

fortoday's avatar

they are so wrong. your mom’s cousin is not removed but is your second cousin.

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