Sunday, May 30, 2010

Figuring Out Relationships

Figuring out grandparent-grandchild relationships are pretty easy.  All you have to do is count the "greats".  Figuring out uncles and aunts starts out pretty easy, then gets a bit more complicated as you dig into more generations.  Cousins are another matter all together.   The more generations you go back, the harder (and more confusing figuring out relationships becomes). 

And if that wasn't hard enough, then there's the whole "removed" thing (e.g., 3rd, twice removed).  Many of us are lost at this point and just leave our relatives as the "cousin" level. 

While there are lots of charts available on the internet to help you figure out these relationships, my favorite one can be found by clicking the link below.

10th Generation Relationship Chart

The chart will print on a single 8.5 x 11 inch paper.  So here's how it works.

  1. Identify a common ancestor (use a grandparent). 
  1. Find yourself in the top row (reading left to right)
  1. You have to know what relationship your other relative is to that same grandparent, and them on the left column. 
  1. Find where the row and column intersect ... this is your relationship to that other family member.
Common Ancestor
Great Grandchild
2nd Great Grandchild
great nephew or niece
2nd great nephew or niece
Nephew or Niece
1st Cousin
1st Cousin once Removed
1st Cousin twice removed
Great Grandchild
grand nephew or niece
1st Cousin once removed
2nd Cousin
2nd Cousin once removed
2nd Great Grandchild
great grand nephew or niece
1st Cousin twice removed
2nd Cousin once removed
3rd Cousin 

Here's an example of how this works.  Let's say that John Smith is common ancestor between me and my other relative (John Boy).  John is also my great-great grandpa.  So on the chart above, I go to the first row and follow the cells right until I find "2nd Great Grandchild" (because that's my relationship to John Smith).

Now I also know that John Smith is John Boy's (my other relative) grandpa.  So looking at the chart again, I find the cell marked, "grandchild" under our common ancestor. 

Now I find where the row and column intersect .... which in this case is at the cell marked "First Cousin, twice removed".  So this means that John Boy is my first cousin, twice removed. 

The "removed" refers to generations apart.  In short, "twice removed" means that we were born two generations apart.  Once removed, means that we only born a generation apart, and so on. 

This relationship chart is very handy for helping you quickly figure out all those family relationships!


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