That “once removed” stuff involves people of different generation. Donald and Robert, my mother’s cousins, are my first cousins once removed, for instance.

As I have noted, my parents were both only children, so my sisters and I had no direct aunts or uncles, and no first cousins. But we do have cousins. And a whole lot of them were under one roof on Thanksgiving night.

When people try to describe cousins, they tend to talk about the siblings, but I find it easier to understand a generation earlier.

Edward Yates and Lillian Archer, married in the 1880s

They had five children, one of whom did in infancy. For this purpose, I’ll mention only two:
Gertrude Yates married Clarence Williams.
Ernie Yates married Charlotte Berman

Gertrude had one daughter, Trudy Williams
Ernie had four children, Raymond, Frances, Donald, and Robert
As Edward and Lillian’s grandchildren, Trudy is first cousins with Ernie’s four. She’s a decade to the day older than Raymond, but they are the closest thing to siblings she had.

Trudy married Les Green and had three children, Roger, Leslie, and Marcia.
Frances married Jimmy Beal and had two daughters, Anne and Lisa. (Donald and Robert also had kids.)
As Edward and Lillian’s great-grandchildren, the Green kids are second cousins to the Beal girls. The Greens are also about ten years older than the Beals but considered them their closest relatives outside their nuclear family.

Roger married Carol and had one daughter, Lydia.
Leslie married Eric and had one daughter, Rebecca, who married Rico.
(Marcia also has a daughter, Alexandria.)
Anne married Brahm and had three daughters.
As Les and Trudy’s grandchildren, Lydia and Rebecca are first cousins, though 25 years apart.
As Edward and Lillian’s great-great-grandchildren, Anne’s daughters are third cousins with both Rebecca and Lydia.

That “once removed” stuff involves people of different generations. Donald and Robert, my mother’s first cousins, are my first cousins once removed, for instance.

And all of the people noted in italics were at Anne’s house outside New York City for Thanksgiving dinner last month, three generations of descendants of Lillian and Edward, along with a couple of spouses, not to mention some friends as well. Someone at the table, just before the meal, said that we individually may think of our immediate families as small – I know I do – but we really have a large family when we look at things differently.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

6 thoughts on “Cousins”

  1. All the first, second and third cousin stuff has always confused me. And the *once removed* part has me completely lost! We just call them all cousins!

  2. Basically, a common grandparent makes them 1st cousins (assuming they’re not siblings!), a common great-grandparent makes them 2nd cousins…

  3. Wow so many relatives! Impressive Rog. In reading the names I pondered on how similar names are in all families…so many names you listed are familiar to me! Life is so strange.I guess family is the one thing we can count on. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. cheers.

  4. Wroblewski, Lillian, Rochester: On 11/22/12 at age 93. Predeceased by husband, Matt, Sr. and son, Matt Jr.; Survived by daughter, Mary Esther; “just like daughters”, Dawn (Danielle LaPointe) Birch and Marianne (Scott) Wright; also leaves behind daughter-in-law, Vicki; grandchildren, Matthew III (Kerry), Sarah, Luke (Michele); great-grandchildren, Maizy and Ryan; nieces, nephews and cousins.

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