Admit it: None of us really know just how we're related to that second cousin three times removed or that third cousin two times removed. Sure, we see them a few times a year for the big holidays and the family reunions, but that's not nearly enough time to get all of those tangled family ties straightened out.
With one of those big holidays coming up Thursday, here's a little cheat sheet to navigate those baffling waters. Maybe this year you'll finally be able to figure out just how you're related to your Great-Aunt Betty or your Third-Great Grand-Uncle Millard.
Here's the chart:
Each of the boxes shows how the person in question is related to you. To read it, start with the "self" box labeled "you are here," and from there, read it like a family tree, following the line down from the relations you do know and connecting the dots from there.
The chart-maker offers a somewhat clearer explanation of just how the chart functions:
The relationship in each box is what that person's relationship would be to you, where you are "Self." As you can see, you, your siblings, your first cousins, second cousins, etc., are all in the same generation. Thus, "once removed" means "one generation removed."
Admittedly, this doesn't make dissecting family ties completely fool-proof. Figuring out who your fifth cousin is still requires you to know who your third-great grand-uncle or your second cousin thrice removed is, neither of which is generally common knowledge.
But, confusion aside, hopefully this chart will at least offer a bit of help in successfully muddling your way through Turkey Day family conversations – or at least keep it will you entertained (and pass some time) just trying to figure out just who is who.