” (If you can guess why we were all more or less the same age, check your answer at Age is just a number.) So this article is an attempt to help you fathom out your family tree, or at least the lower branches.
First, though, let’s look at the pedigree of the word cousin itself.
To try and resolve this particular issue, let’s take a look at an extremely conventional (and at the same time slightly odd) fictional family, headed by Anne and Gilbert; their two children, siblings Peter and Jane; and their two grandchildren, Tom and Hermione: Tom and Hermione belong to the same generation; as children of siblings, they are first cousins.
So far, so good: first cousin relationships are usually fairly straightforward to work out, since most people can identify their aunts and uncles with relative ease, if you’ll excuse the pun.
Typically, the reaction would be one of deep befuddlement (particularly from other children: “removed from what??
”) Meanwhile, anyone vaguely familiar with the workings of kinship would hazard tentatively, “But if they’re once removed…why are they the same age as you?
English is sometimes irritatingly vague when it comes to kinship terminology, even within fairly close family relationships.
Many, however, are hazy about any further familial connections, and a quick online search shows that people are often confused over kinship terms.
A common query, for instance, is over the difference between a first cousin once removed and a second cousin.