How Are We Related?

Well, we may not be related; but have you ever wondered about your cousins and their exact relationship to you? Some may be first cousins. That’s simple. If your parent’s brother or sister has kids, they are your first cousins. But what if your first cousins have kids? What are they referred as?

Or how about this one: What is your relationship to your grandfather’s brother’s son?

Some time ago we had a big fat Greek reunion (yes I am half Greek). And there were tons of relatives! I was trying to figure out if people were second or third cousins, or first once removed. Anyway, it inspired me to look up the information and study it more. There are plenty of charts online, but I made my own. And I will explain how it works.

How to Read The Chart

To find out the relationship between you and another relative first go to the common ancestor box and plug in your closest generation grandparent that you and that relative have in common. For instance Grampa Harry may be your grandfather, but a relative’s great grandfather. If this is the case, than that relative is your first cousin once removed.

Try it with all your relatives, even those you know the relationship between (except your own parents or siblings)

I’ll start. My Aunt Helen is my dad’s sister. I can plug in my grandmother (Yia Yia) in the common ancestor box.. I move down the left column to find me (grandchild). I move across the top to find Aunt Helen’s relationship to my grandmother, which is child. Moving down and across from the two spots they meet at the box nephew or niece. So I am Aunt Helen’s niece.

So if my cousin Vinny is my first cousin and he has a grandchild how am I related to his grandchild?

His grandchild and I have my grandparents as a common ancestor. So down the left column I stop at grandchild for me. Across the top I need to go all the way to great great grandchild. So cousin Vinny’s grandchild is my first cousin twice removed.

Family Relationship Chart76721

My Family Reunions

We plan to have another Big Fat Greek Family reunion this summer.

My aunts and uncle are in their 80’s and 90’s now, but they are still as fun as ever.

Over the years we’ve had reunions where we’ve gone on trips together. The duck boat tour in Boston was popular, and a trip to San Diego, and one to Montana. With a big family people took turns hosting it.

This one should be simple, just people getting together for a pot luck lunch & a DJ playing Greek music.

Make sure to spend time with your family. We never know how long we’ll have on this earth.

Ideas For Family Reunions

Have some Certificates of Awards – like the furthest traveled, youngest, oldest, longest married couple, best dressed

Have everyone bring a recipe- then compile an online family recipe book.  This is good especially if it’s a potluck reunion and you really liked a dish you tried.

Games- dancing, family bingo (where you have to find a family member that has something on your bingo chart), scavenger hunt (only with questions, like which member has horses)

Reunion T-Shirts

Name that Tune

The Term Removed
This means a person is a generation away from what your generation is. In other words my first cousin and I are in the same generation, we share the same grandparents. My first cousin’s child is in a different generation then I am, my grandparents are their great grandparents. So we are first cousins (the relationship I have with my first cousin) once removed (because they are one generation away from me). So my first cousin’s grandchild is my first cousin twice removed.
Relationship Terms
First Cousins – These are people you share the same set of grandparents with.

2nd Cousins- These people have the same great grandparents as you. So my grandfather’s brother’s grandchild would be my 2nd cousin.

3rd, 4th, etc Cousins- Third cousins share the same great great grandparents. Fourth cousins share the same great great great grandparents, etc.

Family Relationship Chart76719

Simple Flow Chart




…….B …..C

……./ ………

……/ ………..

….D …………E



F………………… G

So A is B&C’s parent

A is D&E’s grandparent

A is F&G’s great grandparent

To find the relationship between B&G simply go to the chart. B is a child to A. So find child across the top. G is a great grandchild to A, so find great grandchild down the side. Therefore G is a Grand-nephew or niece to B.

Other Interesting Classifications of Cousins

Double first cousins– When two siblings marry two other sibling. (so if Bob and Joe are brothers and they marry sisters Jane and Josie. Or Mike and Jill who are brother and sister marry Faith and Jack who are also brother and sister). The children of these couples are related to each other through both parents’ families. Double first cousins have both sets of grandparents in common. Genetically, they are as related as half-siblings.

“identical” twins If identical twins marry another set of siblings the kids of the couples are more related than half-siblings but less related than full siblings (they are genetically equivalent to 3/4 siblings) although they are legally double first cousins. If identical twins marry another set of identical twins (sometimes called “quaternary marriage”), genetically they are like full siblings. They are classified as double first cousins.

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