Hey, Cuz!

Hey, Family Folks!

Time and time again, we’ll hear throughout our lives that family comes first. It’s a good rule by which to live. But who’s all included in your family? Mom, Dad, and your siblings, right? Mmm…better put Grandma and Grandpa on the list too. What about your aunts and uncles? And what about their kids—your cousins? Family reunions wouldn’t be the same without all of them!

Maybe you can put together a last-minute family reunion today to celebrate National Enjoy your cousins on National Cousins Day!Cousins Day. If hanging out is so feasible due to time or distance, you can always send your cousins a message to wish them a Happy Cousins Day and let them know you’re thinking of them.

How many cousins do you have? The answer is probably more than you think. When we use the word cousin, we tend to think of only the children of our aunts and uncles. However, the term cousin actually refers to a much broader sense of relation—it actually refers to any relative with whom you share a common ancestor.

And, because the list of who your ‘cousin’ may refer to becomes so long, cousins of your own generation are broken up into three different groups:

First Cousins
First cousins are simply the children of siblings—your aunt and uncle’s children.

Second Cousins
Second Cousins refers to the children of first cousins; so your own kids and the kids of your first cousin would be second cousins.

Third Cousins
When your children have children of their own and the kids of your first cousin have children of their own, those children will be third cousins to each other.

And what about when two people are not from the same generation? This is indicated by adding the term ‘removed’. For instance, my first cousin has two funny little boys. Those guys are my first cousins once removed. Twice removed indicates two generations between people, and so on.

It gets a tad confusing and a little hard to keep track of in your head. But truly, you have A LOT of cousins. In fact, there’s a chance that you’re cousins of some sort with someone you don’t even know if you share the same last name. The likelihood of your relation goes down depending on how common your last name is, if your family has ever changed their last name, the last name refers to someone’s son (i.e. Johnson or Jefferson), or a number of other factors.

Yes, you may even live next-door to a distant cousin and not even know it. When you start to dig into genealogy and your own ancestry you often find that it really is a small world. Be sure to wish a Happy Cousins Day to all your relatives and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

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