Basics of Genealogy. First Cousin, Second Cousin, First Cousin Once Removed, Second Cousin Once Removed And Third Cousin Twice Removed.

It’s that time of the Presidential Election year in America where Presidential Primaries are in full swing. All time political junkies like me relish nonstop political coverage about the prospects of various presidential candidates and the never ending debates between the presidential hopefuls. After switching off CNN nonstop primary coverage I started researching the history of presidential primaries and widened my search to find the rankings of all-time best presidents of America. Of Course Abraham Lincoln beats the competition by a mile and Theodore Roosevelt consistently ranks as all-time Fourth best president of U.S.A. with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in the Fabulous Four Category. As I was going through the list of the rankings of the presidents I also out of curiosity researched how the only president who served four times as the 32nd President of America Franklin Roosevelt was related to the 26th president of America Theodore Roosevelt. I found this as I completed my Google Search.

“While many Americans may assume that President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) was the son of Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), the two former presidents who led the country three decades apart were actually fifth cousins. But I also saw someone quoting that they were “third cousins twice removed”. Well here we go I did come across these sentence first cousins twice/ thrice removed many times but I never really cared to understand what it really meant. Interestingly Obama and George Bush are 10th cousins once removed and Hillary Clinton and Angelina Jolie are ninth cousins twice removed.

I really wanted to understand what ninth cousin twice removed actually meant. Thanks to Google and Wikipedia I found instant answers. 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, “cousins” normally specifically means “first cousins”; that is, children of one’s uncles and aunts.

Systems of “degrees” and “removals” are used in the English-speaking world to describe the exact relationship between two cousins 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”. To make it Simple Foust Cousin is one with whom we share a common Grand Parent.Second Cousin is someone with whom you share a common Great Grand Parent. Third Cousin is someone with whom you share a Great Great Grand parent

That’s quite simple isn’t it? But what about, First Cousin Once Removed, Second Cousin Once Removed and Third Cousin Twice Removed. Things get a bit interesting here. When someone is described as your First Cousin once removed what it really means is that person is the first cousin of one of your parents or is the child of your First Cousin. It means the person in question is one generation ahead or one generation after you. Think of your Moms First Cousin she would be your First Cousin once removed similarly think of your Uncles (Moms First Cousin) Grandson or Grand Daughter they are both your First Cousins Once Removed. So let’s see what First Cousin Twice Removed means. It really means the person whom we are referring to first cousin twice removed is one of your Grand Parents First Cousin. The person is two generations ahead of you and could be the First Cousin of either of your Maternal Grand Parents or Paternal Grand Parents. So how would a person described as a Second Cousin once Removed be related to you. The person could be either the Second Cousin of your Mother or father or the Second Cousin of your child. And now let’s see who would be a Third Cousin Twice Removed. This person would be a third cousin of one your grandparents and this person shares a Great Great Great Grandparent with one of your Grand Parents. Getting a bit complex isn’t it ? Let’s leave it here.

Interestingly in many cultures close relationship marriages are the norm where first cousins play it safe and get married. Then it gets a bit complex here because the parents in such marriages also end up being the first cousins of their children once removed. Earlier I mentioned Bush and Obama were tenth cousins once removed so what that actually means one of Obama’s Parents shares the 10th Great Grandparent with George Bush or vice versa. How about Hillary Clinton and Angelina Jolie they are ninth cousins twice removed. I leave that up to you now figure it out how they are related. I conclude this article as I have figured this out you cannot have a living cousin First Second or Third removed more than 4 times because human longevity dictates that rarely you have a living cousin of your Great Great Grand Parent !

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RS is a deep thinker. His hobby is to analyze and reanalyze. Out of a passion to analyze he started this blog

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