Third Cousin, Once Removed

Updated
09-14-07


Susan Slape-HoysagkHave you ever wondered just what it means: third cousin, once removed? If so, then join the crowd! In this article, Susan Slape-Hoysagk explains distant family relationships in simple terms, demonstrates how to calculate them, and supplies helpful charts. Susan is editor of The Chestnut Tree, official publication of the Pierre Chastain Family Association. This article first appeared in The Chestnut Tree, and is reprinted here by permission of Susan Slape-Hoysagk.

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Third Cousins, Once Removed
Another Chart That May Be Helpful
Applied Examples


Third Cousins, Once Removed

Member Becca Parks asks for an explanation for the very confusing term "once removed." First of all let us visit briefly the term cousin. In present day, cousin refers to any blood relation related by diverging descent from a common ancestor. This was not so in earlier times where a cousin may have meant a cousin as we view the relationship, or merely a close relative, or even just a close friend. Most of us understand that the children of our aunts and uncles are our cousins. But the connections run oh so much deeper and complicated as anyone who has ever experienced genealogy can easily relate. This article discusses our present definition of cousin.

When asking about the example of "third cousin, once removed" the answer actually consists of two parts. First, the third cousin refers to the number of generations one is from the common ancestor (minus one, as people with the same parents are not considered cousins). This is how far back the connection is, so third cousin means that the two people share the same great-great grandparents. Likewise, second cousins have the same great-grandparents but NOT the same grandparents, Fourths the same great-great-great grandparents, and so on.

The second part of once removed is a generational statement in that it describes how many generations your cousin is from you. Once removed equals one generation. To clarify, once removed means that your cousin is one generation from you, for example, the age of your parents. This also means that if you and your cousin are of the same generation, removed is not used. Another example - my mother's first cousin is my first cousin, once removed. I hope this helps!

Your Relationship to a Common Ancestor in Red
Your Relative's Relationship to a Common Ancestor in Blue

Common Ancestor Child Grandchild G-grandchild G-g-grandchild
Child Sister or Brother Nephew or Niece Grand-nephew or niece G-grand-nephew or niece
Grandchild Nephew or Niece First cousin First cousin, once removed First cousin, twice removed
G-grandchild Grand-nephew or niece First cousin, once removed Second cousin Second cousin, once removed
G-g-grandchild Great-grand-nephew or niece First cousin, twice removed Second cousin, once removed Third cousin

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Here's another chart that may be helpful! ~Susan

If your ?
Is the other person's ? 
Grandparent  Great grandparent  Great great grandparent  Great great great grandparent  Great great great great grandparent  Great great great great great grandparent 
Grandparent  First cousins  First cousins once removed  First cousins twice removed  First cousins thrice removed  First cousins four times removed  First cousins five times removed 
Great grandparent  First cousins once removed  Second cousins  Second cousins once removed  Second cousins twice removed  Second cousins thrice removed  Second cousins four times removed 
Great great grandparent  First cousins twice removed  Second cousins once removed  Third cousins  Third cousins once removed  Third cousins twice removed  Third cousins thrice removed 
Great great great grandparent  First cousins thrice removed  Second cousins twice removed  Third cousins once removed  Fourth cousins  Fourth cousins once removed  Fourth cousins twice removed 
Great great great great grandparent  First cousins four times removed  Second cousins thrice removed  Third cousins twice removed  Fourth cousins once removed  Fifth cousins  Fifth cousins once removed 
Great great great great great grandparent  First cousins five times removed  Second cousins four times removed  Third cousins thrice removed  Fourth cousins twice removed  Fifth cousins once removed  Sixth cousins 

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Applied Examples

Susan Slape Hoysagk and the Brothers of Chastain Central

These examples are supplied by Chastain Central. Using Susan's explanation and charts, let's calculate an actual example. Susan is descended from Elijah Chastain, son of Rev. John Chastain, and so are the Brothers of Chastain Central.

Susan's lineage is 1. Elijah Chastain 2. James Lafayette Chastain 3. Mary M. Chastain 4. Margaret Elizabeth Owenby 5. Elma Ora Bruce 6. Lloyd Slape 7. Susan Slape. Our lineage is 1. Elijah Chastain 2. Edward Chastain 3. William Howell Chastain 4. Silas Chastain 5. Robert Earl Chastain 6. The Brothers of Chastain Central.

Susan is seventh generation from our common ancestor, Elijah, but we are sixth generation. Therefore Elijah is her great-great-great-great grandfather and our great-great-great grandfather. Using the chart we discover that we are fourth cousins, once removed. Without using the chart, we can simply count back to Elijah using the shortest line, which is the Brothers of Chastain Central. Those sharing Silas as grandfather are our first cousins; of William Howell, second cousins; of Edward, third cousins; and of Elijah, fourth cousins. However, since Susan is an additional generation away from Elijah, we are once removed: so fourth cousins, once removed.

Other Selected Family Relationships to Susan Slape Hoysagk and the Brothers of Chastain Central
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