“What Is A Second Cousin, Once Removed” And All Things As They Pertain To Kinship

Hi Everyone!

I came across a Dick Eastman post at his blog on a topic that, frankly, I personally find to be one of the most confusing aspects of genealogy.  We often hear such phrases bandied about such as “2nd Cousin, Twice Removed” or “5th Cousin, 4 Times Removed”.  This kind of description gives us some concept of how we are related to someone else in our ancestral chain.  This method of description has never been easy for me to try to peel back the layers and really understand exactly what all this genealogy gobbledygook really means as to how I relate to someone.

Sometimes it seems so difficult I tell myself that it is not really important for me to figure out that nth degree of relationship that exists.  Furthermore, for myself, or for anyone else this cryptic methodology has generally been incorporated into all of the various lineage programs you have on your computer.  You simply find the part of the program that allows you to create a “relationship” view of two people in your own lineage database.

In a magic moment when you enter in the two names and push your “enter” key you instantly see that you are a 2nd Cousin, Twice Removed to another person in your database.

I have taken the path of least resistance using my lineage program to identify how I relate to someone rather than trying to do it in a manual manner and doing it incorrectly or with great uncertainty.

Once you let your lineage program do it, you can then manually yourself look at your tree showing the two people and see how the program calculated the relationship.  The concept will be clearer using real life examples of relationships in your own trees as well as looking at the information posted by Dick Eastman on the subject via the link within this post.

The article by Dick Eastman was a fantastic article that sheds much light on this complicated process of kinship identification.

I wanted to provide a direct link to Dick Eastman’s blog post on this topic because it is so well written and informative at the level that kinship relations becomes a lot easier to understand.

You can read Dick’s “Kinship/Second Cousin Once Removed” post at

Dick Eastman Blog Post on “Second Cousin, Once Removed”

I think you will enjoy looking at the entirety of the post from Dick Eastman.  Be sure to also look at all of the Comments left on this blog post in addition to reading the blog post itself.

For me, I will continue to let my own lineage program tell me what the relationship is between Person A and Person B!

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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