Sunday, August 30, 2015

4098 Familial relationship terms

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Guns don't kill people. People who say “Guns don't kill people” kill people. With guns.
--Rob Delaney--


You know that second-cousin, third-cousin, etc. stuff, and the "once removed"?  I don't understand it.   Not in the slightest.  Is my mother's cousin my second-cousin?  What's my mother's cousin's daughter to me?  Is there any relationship to how many levels we go up to meet a common blood relative, that makes it second, third, etc.?

I know about the first level cousins, aunts and uncles, grand parents, step whatevers, and so on --- the simple stuff.  But once you get into the seconds and thirds, and "removed", I have no idea what it means.  Actually, I doubt that anyone else really does, either.  They just think they do.  At least, every time anyone has used those fancy terms and confused me, I went and looked it up afterward, and they were wrong.  Not that I was able to figure out what term they should have used.  I'm so confused that even the "in-law" stuff doesn't make sense to me.  I'll go find articles about the proper terms on the internet, and I'll read all about it, but as fast as I scroll down, it disappears from my head.

Confusing in-laws:
My husband's sister is my sister-in-law, right?
Her husband is my husband's brother-in-law, right?
But what's my husband's brother-in-law to me (assuming it's not my brother)?
Seems like he should be my brother-in-law-in law.
If I refer to someone as my brother-in-law, everyone automatically assumes I mean my sister's husband, not my husband's brother (or vice versa), even though both are my brother-in-law.
There should be some way to differentiate.

I long ago gave up on all of that.
I always refer to "my husband's sister", "my husband's sister's husband", "my sister's husband", and so on.  It's the only way to convey whom I really mean without confusing anyone.
Least of all me.


the queen said...

Second and third cousins identify which generation.
Same generation: you and your cousins
Next generation: look at your child and look at your cousin's children. They are the same generation, just not your generation.
The child generation are second cousins.
When grandchildren show up, like Nugget and whatever the names are of your cousins grandchildren, those are third cousins.
If you are want to express cross generational relationships, generations, like how you express Nugget's relationship with your cousins, you have to account for that. Since everyone's not the same generation you can't do the easy first cousins = generation 1, second cousins = generation two. But you still use math. You could say "Nugget and my cousins would be first cousins, if you knocked off two generations." So they are first cousins twice removed.
In-laws are nobodies since it's all about the blood.

the queen said...

And wow, I just worked it out and now I can say my first cousin twice removed was President Harding's step child. That sounds much more glamorous that they way I've been saying it, which was my great great uncle was the first husband of Florence Harding.

~~Silk said...

You make it sound so simple. I read your comment and thought for a whole five minutes that I might be able to remember it. And then... I got all confused again. There's a really neat chart at, and after drawing a tree I figured out (almost on my own) that Nugget and my cousin are therefore according to the rules 1st cousins twice removed (which is confusing because I WANT them to be 3rd cousins twice removed, which feels more logical, because 1st cousins feels too close). Then I worked out your Harding thing, which was harder because I had to build the tree from the bottom up, and yeah, that's 1st cousin twice removed. And I can guarantee that tomorrow, I won't remember how this works.

But I did notice that the number of "G"s (grandparent=1, great-grandparent=2, great-great-grandparent=3, etc.) is significant in the cousin levels and "removed"s. If I sit down and work that rule out for myself, maybe I'll be able to remember how it works.

the queen said...

That so a good way to remember. I can tell you were a teacher.

Becs said...

I'm too lazy. has it all figured out.