Your Family Tree Explained

This is you, this is your family tree and

this is Your Family Tree Explained.

You have parents, and your parents have

parents. These are your grandparents, who also

have parents - your great grandparents.

Keep adding parents, keep adding "greats".

For every "G" in the name there is one

generation in between you and that person.

Grandparents? One "G", one generational


Great, great, great grandparents?

Four G's, four in-betweeners.

Continuing with the basics, you have siblings,

and so do your parents. These are your

aunts and uncles.

Up the tree, you may call these people your

great aunts and uncles, but your grandparent's

siblings are also your grand aunts and uncles.

Greats are reserved for the levels above grand.

Your great grandparents' siblings are your great

grandaunts and uncles.

Now down the tree, your siblings' children are

your nieces and nephews, collectively - niblings,

and you are their aunt or uncle.

Their children are your grand nieces and

nephews, and you are their grand aunt or uncle.

We've gone up and we've gone down, and it's

time to go sideways.

When you get married, you get everyone's

favorite in-laws. You are on the same level of

the family tree as your spouse's siblings.

You are kind of "pseudo-sibling". All the new families'

relationsips to you are the same as to your spouse,

but they get the in-law prefix [suffix].

It's pretty straightfoward except for one case:

Your spouses' siblings are your siblings-in-law

but are your siblings in-law spouses also your

siblings-in-law? It's a little unclear.

Alright, enough with the in-laws, it's onto the reason

you're probably watching this video. Cousins?

Your aunt's and uncle's chidren are your cousins,

but there are many kinds of cousins and to

better understand them we need to

simplify this family tree, and think downward.

Here is you, your children and your grandchildren.

Your grandchildren are your first cousins to each other,

and their children, your great grandchildren,

are second cousins to each other, and so on.

The cousin number is the same as the "G" rule:

it tells you how many in-betweeners until the connection

on the family tree.

Fourth cousins? Four in-betweeners, and a shared

great, great, great, grandparent.

According to the rule, your first cousins

and you connect at your grandparent.

And second cousins share a great grandparent


Just match the cousin number with the number

of G's, and you are all set. Simple!

Side note here: Continuing this rule in reverse,

means that siblings can technically call each

other 0th cousins, which they totally should,

and you are your own -1 cousin? Weird.

(Side note end)

All done here now, nothing more to talk about ...

oh right, the once removed thing.

You may have noticed these cousins are on the same level.

Removed just describes how many generations apart people are.

For example: what's the family connection between these two?

Start by taking the smaller cousin number

first cousins, and count the levels apart, once removed.

These are 1st cousins twice removed, thrice removed.

And these are second cousins, once removed.

Doing all this on our simplified drawing of your

descendence is a bit too easy as most family trees look

more like this.

The rules are still the same - first cousins, second cousins and the removed,

but it is a bit harder to tell quickly who exactly is

your second cousin twice removed or your great grandaunts-in-law?

To help, there is a chart you can download

which will both make it much easier to figure out

what grandnibling or cousin removed are to anyone at

the next family reunion and obviously, show

how cool you are.

Now we're really done. Unless, you start thinking

about the math of all of these family members.

Just how many great, great, great, great granparents

do you have? 64?

And those ex-grandparents had kids giving you a whole lot of cousins.

This chart happens to stop at 10th cousins

of which you have more than 2,000?

Which seems like way too many,

but these numbers both have big, possibly unsettling asterisks

attached to them, which we will talk about more

in Part 2: Family Genetics Explained.

CC by Luka.