What is a Cousin?
How to figure out 1st, 2nd, 3rd... cousin, and how many times removed
that cousin is.
Determine which number (e.g. 4 greats) grandparent is the common
ancestor between two individuals. If the number is the same, you are not
removed (you are within the same generation based on the common
ancestor). For example, if the common ancestor is your 4th
gr-grandparent and the other person's 4th gr-grandparent, then add 1 to
the 4. You are 5th cousins.
e.g. You are:
- 1st cousins if you share the same grandparents
- 2nd cousins if you share the same gr-grandparents
- 3rd cousins if you share the same gr-gr-grandparents
- 4th cousins if you share the same gr-gr-gr-grandparents
- and so on...
The cousin part of the phrase, '1st cousin,' '2nd cousin,' '3rd
cousin,' etc., describes the relationship of two people who are/were in
the same generation.
What is Removed?
Determine which number (e.g. 4 greats) of the grandparent is between
you and the ancestor, and the number between the other person and the
same ancestor. If the number is not the same, then you and the other
person are from different generations based on the common ancestor. You
would then add 1 to the smaller number giving the "cousins"
portion, then subtract the smaller from the larger giving the
For example, if the common ancestor is your 5th gr-grandparent and
the other person's 3rd gr-grandparent, add 1 to the smaller number (3)
giving 4 (the cousin part), then subtract 3 from the larger number (5)
giving 2 (the removed part). You are 4th cousins, twice removed.
The removed part is how many generations it takes to get to the same
cousin number, between two people.