In my last post, I used the term “removed” in describing the relationship between two people in our family tree. Have you heard the phrase “she is my second cousin once removed” and wondered what that meant? How far apart do people have to be in a family to be classified as “removed?” Terms like cousin, aunt, and uncle tell us about which ancestors we have in common. For example, I have grandparents in common with my first cousin and great-grandparents in common with my second cousin. My grandparents are also the closest ancestor that I have in common with my first cousin’s children, so we are also first cousins, but because they are one generation later than me we are first cousins once removed. The term “removed” tells us that there are generations that separate us: once removed means one generation, twice removed means two generations, etc. So, the term “removed” doesn’t make us that far apart on the family tree!
For a more detailed explanation of the term “removed” I encourage you to check out Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter article “What Is ‘Second Cousin Once Removed?'” He is very well-known in the field of genealogy, and his newsletter is always interesting and often though-provoking. It’s also free!
I confess that when it comes to figuring out relationships in our family tree I still find it somewhat confusing. I am very thankful that my family tree software, Reunion, does it for me!