Saturday, July 20, 2013

How To Remove Your Relations

Back in the day, people often married their cousins.  Every time I think about that, I go down my list of cousins and check them off one by one with a resounding “NO!”  (Ok, there are a couple I’d take out for cocktails, maybe dinner and a movie, but that’s absolutely IT!)  But it leaves us with interesting phrases like “First cousins, once removed.”  What does that mean?  It’s actually easier than you think.  It’s all about generations.  I’ll explain:

Your mother has a sister named Betty.  Obviously, she is your aunt.  Aunt Betty marries a man named Joe.  He is, of course, your uncle - by marriage.   Aunt Betty and Uncle Joe have a son named Paul.  Paul is your first cousin.  All of Paul’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren - all the way down - will ALWAYS be your first cousins.  Each generation is removed - one generation - one level - from you.  Paul’s children are your first cousins once removed because they are one generation removed from you:

Your Mom  ~~>
Aunt Betty  ~~>
You  ~~>
Paul  ~~>
First Cousin
You  ~~>
Paul’s Child  ~~>
First Cousin Once Removed
You  ~~>
Paul’s Grandchild  ~~>
First Cousin Twice Removed
You  ~~>
Paul’s Gr-Grandchild  ~~>
First Cousin Three Times Removed

Get it?   Now, the next generation: Your children and Paul’s children are second cousins.  And all of their succeeding generations will always be second cousins removed, too, one generation at a time:
You  ~~>
Paul  ~~>
First Cousins
Your Daughter, Elaine  ~~>
Paul’s Son David  ~~>
Second Cousins
Your Daughter, Elaine  ~~>
David’s Child  ~~>
Second Cousins Once Removed
Your Daughter, Elaine  ~~>
David’s Grandchild  ~~>
Second Cousins Twice Removed
Your Daughter, Elaine  ~~>
David’s Gr-Grandchild  ~~>
Second Cousins Three Times Removed

The next generation - Elaine's son and David's daughter - are third cousins and so on and so on, ad nauseum.  So, there you have it.  Your first cousins and all of their children, grandchildren and so on are ALWAYS your first cousins....removed one generation level down.

The woman who built the Pontalba Building's in Jackson Square, The Baroness Pontalba, married her first cousin once removed - her father-in-law was her first cousin and she married his son. So Gaston de Pontalba was not only her son but also her first cousin twice removed.

And you think TODAY'S FAMILIES are complicated!!!!

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