Relative Terminology

Conversations on the subject of who is related to whom often bogs down over terminology.

Your first cousin, of course is your parent's brother's (or sister's child. However, the first cousin's child is not your second cousin, as is sometimes thought to be the case, but your first cousin once removed. The child of the first cousin once removed is your first cousin twice removed, and his (her) child is your first cousin three times removed.

Your second cousin is your grandparent's brother's (or sister's) grandchild. That second cousin's child is your second cousin once removed, his child is your second cousin twice removed, and so on....

And your third cousin? It is your great-grandparent's brother's (or sister's) great-grandchild. The third cousin's child is your third cousin once removed, his child your third cousin twice removed.

Siblings have parents in common. Brothers and sisters are siblings.
(or Grandneice)
the grandchild of your brother or sister.
(or Great-uncle)
the sister (or brother) of your grand-parent.
(or great-granduncle)
the sister or brother of your great-grandparents.
(or stepmother)
the husband of your mother (or wife of your father) by a subsequent marriage.
Stepchild the child of your husband or wife by a former mariage.
(or stepbrother)
the child of your stepfather or step mother.
Half sister
(or half brother)
the child of your mother and step-father, or of your father and step-mother, or either parent by a former marriage.
In-laws your connections by the law of marriage (as distinct from relatives by blood): in particular, your husband's or wife's relatives and your own brother's wife or sister's husband.
Outlaws persons who carry weapons, commit crimes, and may or may not be related to you.
Ancestor a person from whom you descend 'directly' such as a grandparent or great-grandparent.
Descendent the person who descends 'directly' from you, such as a grandson or great-granddaughter.
Lineal relations those in the 'direct' line of ascent or descent, such as a grandfather or grand-daughter.
Collateral relations those relatives who are 'linked' by a common ancestor, such as aunts, uncles, and cousins.
The following information was provided to me by Ruth Carolyn Lowndes - the daughter of my grandfathers' sister. For 60 years, I had believed that she was my second cousin. I now believe that she is my first cousing once removed.

This information was first published in the Farmer's Almanac in 1966.

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