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Kith and Kin

"There are angels walking on this earth disguised as cousins." - Unknown

Kith - Friends
 
Kin - Relatives

When determining family relationships, it is easy to understand parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, but when it comes to cousins, that can get confusing. Who are cousins? They are kin; family members who share a common ancestor.

We've all heard of first cousins, second cousins, third cousins, or cousins once, twice, three times removed. What does that mean? The term first, second, third refers to the number of generations between you and the common ancestor that you and your cousin share.

First Cousins

A person in your family who has the same grandparents as you. The children of your aunts and uncles. Children of siblings are first cousins.

Second Cousins A person in your family who has the same great grandparents as you, but not the same grandparents. Children of first cousins are second cousins to each other.
Third, Fourth, Cousins A third cousin would be a person in your family who has the same great, great grandparents as you. A fourth cousin would have the same great, great, great grandparents as you, and so on.

The term "removed" is used to indicate a difference in generations and how far back the relationship goes. Do not confuse "first cousin, once removed" with "second cousin". They are not the same.

Once Removed

Means one generation away from you. You and your first cousin are the same generation. Children of your first cousin are a different generation and therefore are your "first cousins, once removed". There is a difference of one generation.

Twice Removed Grandchildren of your first cousin are your "first cousins, twice removed" which indicates a difference of two generations.
Three Times Removed Great grandchildren of your first cousin are "first cousins three times removed" since there is a three generation difference, and so forth.

Other terms used to describe kin and family relationships.

Half

Share only one parent. Half brothers or half sisters may have the same father but different mothers, etc.

Step

Not blood kin but legally related because of the remarriage of a parent i.e. step-mother, step-son, step-brother, etc.

Double First Cousins

First cousins twice; once on the father's side and once on the mother's side; father's sibling married mother's sibling.

In-Law

A relative by marriage. Not really blood kin but considered so because of marriage to blood kin. In "law" you and your spouse are considered one. In "law" spouse's parents become your parents when you marry and thus mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, etc., etc.