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Cousin chart

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Cousin chart

For other uses, see Cousin (disambiguation).

A cousin is a relative with whom a person shares one or more common ancestors. In the general sense, cousins are two or more generations away from any common ancestor, thus distinguishing a cousin from an ancestor, descendant, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew. However in common parlance, "cousin" normally specifically means "first cousin".

Systems of "degrees" and "removals" are used in the English-speaking world to describe the exact relationship between two cousins (in the broad sense) and the ancestor they have in common. Various governmental entities have established systems for legal use that can more precisely specify kinships with common ancestors existing any number of generations in the past, though common usage often eliminates the degrees and removals and refers to people with common ancestry as simply "distant cousins" or "relatives".

Basic definitions

The ordinals in the terms "first cousins", "second cousins", "third cousins", describe the "degree" of the cousin relationship. The degree of two cousins' relationship is determined by the number of generations to their closest common ancestor.[1] When the cousins are not the same generation, they are described as "removed". In this case, the smaller number of generations to the common ancestor is used to determine the degree, and the difference in generations determines the number of times removed. Note that the ages of the cousins are irrelevant to the definition of the cousin relationship.

First cousins

The children of two siblings.

David and Emma are first cousins because they are non-siblings who share the same grandparents.

Adam
Agatha
Bill
Betty
Charles
Corinda
David
Emma

Second cousins

The children of two first cousins.[2]

Frank and Gwen are second cousins because they are non-first cousins who share great-grandparents.

Adam
Agatha
Bill
Betty
Charles
Corinda
Dawn
David
Emma
Eric
Frank
Gwen

Third cousins

The grandchildren of two first cousins; also the children of two second cousins.

Harry and Isabel are third cousins because they are non-second cousins who share great-great-grandparents.

Adam
Agatha
Bill
Betty
Charles
Corinda
Dawn
David
Emma
Eric
Frank
Felicity
George
Gwen
Harry
Isabel

First cousins once removed

Two people for whom a first cousin relationship is one generation removed.
The child of one's first cousin; also the first cousin of one's parent.

Frank and his father's first cousin, Emma, are first cousins once removed.

Adam
Agatha
Bill
Betty
Charles
Corinda
Dawn
David
Emma
Frank

First cousins twice removed

Two people for whom a first cousin relationship is two generations removed.
The grandchild of one's first cousin; also the first cousin of one's grandparent.

Harry and his grandfather's first cousin, Emma, are first cousins twice removed.

Adam
Agatha
Bill
Betty
Charles
Corinda
Dawn
David
Emma
Frank
Felicity
Harry

Second cousins once removed

Two people for whom a second cousin relationship is one generation removed.
The child of one's second cousin; also the second cousin of one's parent.

Harry and his father's second cousin, Gwen, are second cousins once removed.

Adam
Agatha
Bill
Betty
Charles
Corinda
Dawn
David
Emma
Eric
Frank
Felicity
Gwen
Harry

Additional terms

The following is a list of less common cousin terms.

Term Definition Example Chart
Double cousin Double cousins arise when two siblings of one family reproduce with two siblings of another family. The resulting children are related to each other through both of their parents and are thus doubly related. Double first cousins share both sets of grandparents in common and have twice the degree of consanguinity of ordinary first cousins. Double second cousins can arise in two ways: from two first-cousin relationships among their parents or from one double-first-cousin relationship between their parents. David and Irene are double first cousins because each is related through their mother's family and also their father's family, the result of a brother and sister (Ben and Helen) having married another brother and sister (Hugh and Betty). For David and Irene, each has a mother who is an aunt by marriage of the other and a father who is an uncle by marriage of the other.
Gary
Glenda
Adam
Agatha
Betty
Ben
Helen
Hugh
David
Irene
Half-cousin Half cousins are the children of two half siblings. David and Lilian are half cousins because their fathers (Ben and James) are half brothers, their grandmother (Agatha) having divorced and remarried.
Adam
Agatha
Anthony
Betty
Ben
James
Janet
David
Lilian
Step-cousin Step-cousins are either stepchildren of an individual's aunt or uncle or nieces and nephews of one's step-parent. David and Mary are step-cousins because David's uncle (Charles) has become Mary's stepfather as a result of Mary's mother (Corinda) having divorced and remarried.
Adam
Agatha
Betty
Ben
Charles
Corinda
Colin
David
Mary
Cousin-in-law A cousin-in-law is the spouse of an individual's cousin or the cousin of one's spouse. David and Eric are first cousins-in-law to each other because Eric's wife (Emma) is David's first cousin.
Adam
Agatha
Betty
Ben
Charles
Corinda
David
Emma
Eric
Maternal or Paternal cousin A term that specifies whether one individual is a cousin of another through the mother's side of the family (maternal) or the father's side (paternal). If the relationship is not equally paternal for both or equally maternal for both, then the paternal cousin of one is the maternal cousin of the other. Emma and David are paternal first cousins (being related through their fathers). Emma is also Nicola's paternal first cousin (as related on Nicola's father's side), but Nicola is Emma's maternal first cousin (as related on Emma's mother's side). David and Nicola are not cousins to each other.
Adam
Agatha
Luke
Laura
Betty
Ben
Charles
Corinda
Mark
Maud
David
Emma
Nicola

Kissing cousins are defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "relatives or friends with whom one is on close enough terms to greet with a kiss".[3]

Relationship charts

Cousin chart

A "cousin chart", or "table of consanguinity", is helpful in identifying the degree of cousin relationship between two people using their most recent common ancestor as the reference point. Cousinship between two people can be specifically described in degrees and removals by determining how close, generationally, the common ancestor is to each person.

If one person'sĀ ā†’ Grandparent Great-grandparent Great-great-grandparent Great-great-great-grandparent Great-great-great-great-grandparent
Is the other person's
ā†“
Then they are ā†˜
Grandparent 1st cousins 1st cousins once removed 1st cousins twice removed 1st cousins thrice removed 1st cousins four times removed
Great-grandparent 1st cousins once removed 2nd cousins 2nd cousins once removed 2nd cousins twice removed 2nd cousins thrice removed
Great-great-grandparent 1st cousins twice removed 2nd cousins once removed 3rd cousins 3rd cousins once removed 3rd cousins twice removed
Great-great-great-grandparent 1st cousins thrice removed 2nd cousins twice removed 3rd cousins once removed 4th cousins 4th cousins once removed
Great-great-great-great-grandparent 1st cousins four times removed 2nd cousins thrice removed 3rd cousins twice removed 4th cousins once removed 5th cousins

Canon law relationship chart

Another visual chart used in determining the legal relationship between two people who share a common ancestor is based upon a diamond shape, usually referred to as a "canon law relationship chart".

The chart is used by placing the "common progenitor" (the most recent person from whom both people are descended) in the top space in the diamond-shaped chart and then following each line down the outside edge of the chart. Upon reaching the final place along the opposing outside edge for each person, the relationship is then determined by following that line inward to the point where the lines intersect. The information contained in the common "intersection" defines the relationship.

For a simple example, in the illustration to the right, if two siblings use the chart to determine their relationship, their common parents are placed in the topmost position, and each child is assigned the space below and along the outside of the chart. Then, following the spaces inward, the two would meet in the "brother/sister" diamond. If their children want to determine their relationship, they would follow the path established by their parents but descend an additional step below along the outside of the chart (showing that they are grandchildren of the common progenitor); following their respective lines inward, they would come to rest in the space marked "1st cousin". In cases where one side descends the outside of the diamond further than the other side because of additional generations removed from the common progenitor, following the lines inward shows both the cousin rank (1st cousin, 2nd cousin) plus the number of times (generations) "removed".

In the example provided at the right, generations one (child) through ten (8th great-grandchild) from the common progenitor are provided; however, the format of the chart can easily be expanded to accommodate any number of generations needed to resolve the question of relationship.

Mathematical definitions

There is a mathematical way to identify the degree of cousinship shared by two individuals. In the description of each individual's relationship to the most recent common ancestor, each "great" or "grand" has a numerical value of 1. The following examples demonstrate how this is applied.

Example 1: Tom and Sue share a common ancestor, Bob. Bob is Tom's great-great-great-grandfather, making Tom's degree of descendance 4 (great + great + great + grand = 4). Bob is Sue's grandfather, so Sue's degree of descendance is 1 (grand = 1). The smaller of 4 and 1 is 1, so Tom and Sue are first cousins. The difference between 4 and 1 is 3 (4 - 1 = 3), so Tom and Sue are 3 times removed. Tom and Sue are first cousins, three times removed.

Example 2: Mary's great-great-great-grandmother is also Helen's great-great-great-grandmother. Mary's degree of descendance is 4. Helen's degree of descendance is also 4. Mary and Helen are fourth cousins. Since 4 - 4 = 0, there is no degree of removal.

Example 3: Billie's great-grandfather is Sarah's great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. Billie's degree of descendance is 2. Sarah's degree is 6. Thus Billie and Sarah are second cousins (the smaller of 2 and 6) four (6 - 2) times removed.

Alternative definitions

Asymmetric definitions

The definitions discussed in the article above are the ones found in dictionaries of standard English, but they are not universal. At least one alternative usage also exists.

In this alternative system, the degree of the relationship from cousin A to cousin B is determined by the distance from A to the common ancestor and the number of times removed is the difference in generations between A to B. Sometimes "upwards" or "downwards" is used to indicate the direction of this difference. For example, if A has a grandparent whose sibling is B's parent, then B is A's "second cousin, once removed (upwards)", whereas A is B's "first cousin once removed (downwards)".[4] Note that this is not standard terminology, and is completely absent from many major dictionaries.[5]

As seen in this example, this usage is asymmetric, since different terms are used to represent A's relationship to B and B's relationship to A. By contrast, the standard usage of "cousin" discussed in the main part of this article is symmetric (in this example, the standard terminology would be that A is B's first cousin once removed, and B is A's first cousin once removed), and is also dyadic (for example, one can say "A and B are first cousins once removed").[6]

Colloquial usage

In day to day speech, "cousin" is often used unmodified. Normally it means a first cousin, but some people use the term "cousin" to refer to cousins of all types, such as first, second, and third cousins, as well as cousins once or more times removed. Modifier terms such as "half-cousin" or "step-cousin" are rarely used in everyday speech.

Usage for extremely distant relations

Although use of the word "cousin" in this context is infrequent (especially outside of evolutionary literature), any two individual organisms regardless of their respective species (or any other level of taxonomy) are in fact very distant cousins by virtue of shared descent from a single cell whose descendants survived beyond the Paleoarchean Era.[7][8]

See also

References

External links

  • European kinship system
  • Genealogy.com definition of various cousins
  • Genealogy.com: What makes a cousin?
  • Genetic Genealogy
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