Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lesson 4

What is a First Cousin Once removed?!

The relative relationship chart can be a little confusing. I equate its difficulty with the body's acid base balance system. It is hard to grasp the ratios but once you do, the numbers falls right into place.

In an old movie I  heard a character say, " He is my 2nd cousin once removed on my daddy's side." Second cousin once removed? What on earth does that mean? I knew there were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins, but I didn't know anything about ""once removed." I knew if I was going to find out who my family was, I was going to have to understand this removal system. Once I captured the concept, I found it to be simple.

Why Do We Need To Understand The Removal System?

When doing genealogy we need to understand the meanings of different terms, not only for our present day, but also days past. Some terms become archaic and out of vogue to use, and become obsolete. If we do not take the time to learn these outdated terms, we can find ourselves very confused. These old terms can be the keys we need to help us find the true identity of our familial tree.

Exempli Gratia 

Exempli gratia, I will try to explain the removal system as easily as I can.What is exempli gratia you might ask? It is Latin phrase meaning, for the sake of example. Exempli gratia is also abbreviated e.g. It is used in this form: There are different mediums you can use in painting, e.g. oils, acrylics, and watercolors,  Does that sound more familiar to you? Most everyone knows what exempli gratia means, but what if you didn't? It would be like trying to read a foreign language that you do not know. In essence it is. This is a good example as to why we need to familiarize ourselves with any words, phrases, abbreviations or systems that might halt our progress in research, due to lack of knowledge.Thus, the removal system is a must.

"My mother's mother's, daughter's daughter's, daughter's daughter, is my 1st cousin twice removed!"

Now that was a mouth full! You don't usually come across something like this in familial trees, but  I will explain this twister so you can understand it too. I am going to spit this out and explain each little bite, of the cousin's removal system.

 But before I illustrate this, I want to define generation. For generation will come into play in the relative relationship chart and it will help you to have a clean cut definition or illustration of what generation is.

 Generation is the act of producing offspring. Each person is a generation in their familial line.Here is an example of multiple generations. My grandmother gave birth to my mother, my mother gave birth to me, I gave birth to my daughter, and my daughter gave birth to her son. Each person represents a generation, therefore our family line that I have mentioned, equals five generations. That was simple, wasn't it. Now, on to the removal illustration.

My mother gave birth to me and my Aunt Joyce gave birth to my cousin Gerri. This makes my cousin Gerri my mother's niece, and my mother's sister is my aunt. This in turn makes my aunt's daughter, Gerri, my first cousin. That is still pretty simple, right? But when you start the removal system it seems a little more complicated though it really is not.

When you say a cousin is removed, you are actually adding a generation. It is like an oxymoron.You would think that it would be, "my first cousin once added," but it is not. Therefore, once removed is one generation, twice removed is two generations, etc It can be confusing and that is why I equate it to acid base balance. What you would think goes up, goes down. Same principle here. We aren't removing a generation where we go backward, we are actually adding one as we go forward.

Lets go back to my generational tree.We already know that my cousin, Gerri, is my first cousin. But when my cousin Gerri gave birth to Beth, Beth became my 1st cousin once removed. Now when Beth gave birth to my cousin, Jenny, she then became my 1st cousin twice removed. When Jenny gave birth to her son, he became my 1st cousin three times removed. Each time a generation has an offspring, that child will become another generation "removed." Note My Family Removal Chart.

                                             My Family Removal Chart

I have used yellow to illustrate my mother's nieces, and great nieces. I used red to illustrate the 1st cousin removal system; blue for the 2nd cousin removal system, and purple to illustrate 3rd cousins.
In review, Grandma Susie gave birth to my mom, Velva, and my aunt, Aunt Joyce. Mom gave birth to me, and Aunt Joyce gave birth to Gerri making us first cousins. I gave birth to Amy, and Gerri gave birth to Beth. This makes Beth my first cousin once removed and Amy, Gerri's first cousin once removed. Then Amy gave birth to Jordan and Beth Gave birth to Jenny. Thus this makes Jenny my first cousin twice removed, and Jordan is Gerri's first cousin twice removed.  In other words, my mother's mother's, daughter's daughter's, daughter's daughter, is my 1st cousin twice removed!