If you’ve done a DNA test, your results will show you DNA matches based on the “distance” from a common ancestor that you and the match share.For example, Ancestry.com’s DNA results will display a list of people who are “probable” third or fourth cousins, fourth to sixth cousins, etc. If you don’t know what that means, you’re not alone. Even harder to understand is when people start telling you that you’re a “second cousin, three times removed”.
Removed means that you’re cousins different generations. For example, “twice removed” means that you and your cousins are two generation aparts.
Recently, I was trying to figure out the relationship between my great-niece and my second cousin. After scratching my head for several minutes, I decided to create a relationship chart. Using it, I could see that my great-niece and my second cousins are third cousins once removed.
I think understanding the second cousin or third cousin relationship is really important-especially when working on DNA. It’s great to know that you share DNA with a sixth cousin, for example, but even more important when you know that sixth cousins share a common 5th grandparent. That’s a lot of generations back and a lot of potential family members to wade through.
If you’d like a copy of my relationship chart, just fill in the form below and you’ll have instant access to the PDF file that you can download or print.
Hey – maybe we’ll find out that *we’re* fourth cousins three times removed!