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Celebrate Cousin’s Day: Distinguish Between Cousins

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Did you know that Cousin’s Day is on Wednesday, July 24th this year? Celebrate Cousin’s Day with a sweet note to your favorite cousins and impress the whole family by explaining what separates 1st cousins from 2nd or 3rd cousins. Even explain “cousin removed-ness” to really blow them away! Don’t know the difference between a 2nd cousin and 1st cousin once removed? Here’s an easy way to determine your relationship to any cousin in your family:

  1. Identify the common family member between you and your cousin of choice.
  2. Determine if you and your cousin are the same generation (the same distance from the common family member).
  3. If you are the same generation, simply count how many generations you are from the common family member and subtract one. This indicates if you are first, second, or third cousins. For instance, if the common family member is both your own and your cousin’s great-grandfather, then you are each three generations away from him–if you subtract one, then you see that you are second cousins.
  4. If you aren’t the same generation, you need to calculate cousin number and determine removed-ness. The cousin number is determined by the oldest cousin’s distance from the common family member. For instance, if your common family member is your great-grandfather and their grandfather, you would calculate the cousin number from them, because they are the older generation. They would be two generations from their grandfather. Subtract one and you find that you are first cousins. Next, determine how many generations you are from your cousin to determine how many times removed you are from them. In this example, you are only one generation younger, so you are first cousins once removed.

That’s all you need to know to distinguish cousin number and cousin removed-ness and celebrate Cousin’s Day with exactitude!

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