I know that my parents' siblings' child is my cousin.

But what about the grandchild of my parents' siblings?


The naming of different types of cousins is referred to as “ordinals and removals”.

If you share the same grandparents, you are “first cousins”. If you share the same great grandparents, you are “second cousins”. And so on.

The children of your first cousin are your “first cousins once removed”. The grandchildren of your first cousin are “first cousins twice removed”. The children of your second cousin are your “second cousins once removed”. And so on.

Note that most people have no idea how this system works and just use the generic “cousin” for all distant relatives.

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    Note that the system is reflexive, so the grandchildren of your great grandparents who are not children of your grandparents are also first cousins once removed, for example – Please stop being evil Oct 17 '20 at 15:19
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    @StephenS Yes, you didn't mention the case of the parents of your Nth cousin. That's what I think the other commenter is getting at. Good answer anyway. – TypeIA Oct 17 '20 at 19:23
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    @StephenS I was trying to clarify because without a certain amount of mathematical proficiency I think it appears to be a separate case; that is, when people see 'my cousin's children are my first cousin once removed' they don't necessarily understand that that means you are also their first cousin and similarly you have first cousins who you are the children of a first cousin to. That you have a first cousin who shares the same grandparents and is their direct ancestor/descendant makes that clear, of course, but it's still good to have a reminder, I think. – Please stop being evil Oct 17 '20 at 23:14
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    I think most people know “first cousin,” and know the rest aren’t. What they are, that’s a mystery to most, but it’s not all that unusual to specify “first cousin,” or to specify “distant [read: not first] cousin,” or often in casual conversation “second cousin or cousin removed or something like that I don’t know how it works,” to indicate that the cousin isn’t a first cousin. – KRyan Oct 18 '20 at 4:49
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    The way I think of it is that the ‘cousin number’ specifies the horizontal distance between the people (as seen in a family tree), and the ‘removal number’ gives the vertical distance. – gidds Oct 18 '20 at 21:15

The grandchild of your parent's sibling is your first cousin once removed. (You are also their first cousin once removed.)

Here's another attempt at a diagram, simply because this form works better for me, maybe it will for you too. The number of "removals" are the extra generations on one side only (shown in orange below), and once those extra generations are removed, the degree indicates how many more generations to get back to siblings (shown in blue below).

Diagram of degrees of cousins and removals

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    This diagram deserves to be the accepted answer, it's perfect – Darren H Oct 19 '20 at 9:17

The standard family tree chart never made a lot of sense to me, so I drew the following "ladder picture", where first cousins, seconds cousins, third cousins, and so forth, are rungs on a ladder:

enter image description here

This visual might be easier for some folks to understand. To answer your specific question:

what about the grandchild of my parents' siblings

  • You are Person 3.
  • Your parent's sibling is Person 2.
  • The grandchild of Person 2 is Person 6.

Person 3 and Person 6 are first cousins once removed.


The child of an aunt or uncle is your

  • (first) cousin

The grandchild of an aunt or uncle is your

  • first cousin once removed

Please see the chart at What Is a Second Cousin?

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    Informally, you could say "my cousin's child" and be understood immediately, and for more complicated relationships "a distant cousin". – Weather Vane Oct 17 '20 at 14:27
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    That comment is the only useful answer. "My cousin's child" is far clearer and less ambiguous than all this "removed" business. – James K Oct 19 '20 at 5:26
  • @JamesK to me it seems to imply that the person in question is not an adult (likewise "cousin's son/daughter"). If they are an adult, they'd have to be "cousin once removed", "distant cousin", "cousin" or something else – Tristan Oct 19 '20 at 11:26
  • This question has gone right off topic. This is an English site, not genealogy. – Weather Vane Oct 19 '20 at 11:30

Wikipedia has some good stuff on this, e.g.

My German wife had an awful lot of aunts (Tanten) and uncles (Onkel), whereas I have a lot of cousins. It wasn't until I saw these diagrams that I understood why.

See also:

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