How to Figure Out Cousins and 2nd Cousins

My great-great grandparents and their children. Their lineage gets complicated.

Our family reunion a few weeks ago spurred a rich discussion of family lineage and history. Everyone sat around the tables wondering how in the world we were all related. Few were absolutely certain how. With a little wiki search, we figured it out. You can too!

When talking with your whatever-cousin, ask yourselves this simple question: “What grandparents do we share?” You then can figure it out fairly easily. Check out this chart adapted from wikipedia:

Figuring out the cousin lineage

Here’s an example: My “cousin” Tina (neither of us knew how exactly we were related). My great grandparents Rudnick (pictured above to the far right) were also Tina’s great grandparents Rudnick. Follow the two “Great grandparent” headings on the chart. You’ll see: Tina and I are 2nd cousins.

Now, her children (Tori and Tyler, who were also at the reunion) are my 2nd cousins once removed, because my great grandparents are their great-great grandparents.

My children and Tina’s children (who had a ball together at the reunion) are 3rd cousins. They share great-great grandparents.

Ah, life at family reunions just got easier to understand. Share this post with your extended family and figure out your lineage!

About Chris Jeub

Chris is the father of 16 children, busily running the family businesses and learning the depths of love along the way.

  • http://www.clarkchatter.blogspot.com Ginger

    Now THAT makes perfect sense! My mom has tried to explain the concept to me many times and I just nod my head dumbly. 

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      We were the same way! No one wanted to admit they felt stupid as we tried to figure it out. “What grandparent do we share?” is so easy.

  • ShellyS

    Great find! I’m printing this out for my genealogy folder!

  • Michelle in OK

    Great post! Thanks for the chart. :-) How wonderful to have a photo like that.

  • Jennifer Mull

    Awesome, I have always wondered how to figure this out…..

  • http://www.largerfamilylife.com Tania @ Larger Family Life

    Fantastic!  This is something we never could work out but never got around to researching either. Thank you, Chris!

  • Hamish


    HAMISH (hay-mish) Scot Celt for James

  • Ellsie

    Thank you for this easy to understand chart! Finally I can figure out all the cousins.