Okay, so my cousin Torrie – with whom I have been connecting on our family site – has finally joined the blog community and in my attempt to introduce her properly, I came back to a topic that is constantly confusing me! But I think I finally have a handle on the situation so I’m posting it here before I forget all over again! Aaaaand pray I get the basics right:
Okay, so at the top we have Elmer Luke and Arethea Clemons – my grandparents, but Torrie’s great-grandparents. This is important because it’s the generation that determines the cousin titles. That sounds obvious but it … really wasn’t. I got confused over this repeatedly. And still do if I don’t have an example to work with. Sorry, Torrie! 🙂 So anyway! My grandparents had my dad (in the picture up there that almost sounds like revolution), my aunt Juanita (in the picture to the right) and about a zillion other kids. Or, like, six. Anyway, then Aunt Juanita had my FIRST cousin, Lorrie, and my dad had me (…well. After about a jillion other people. Or six. And after many millions of my cousins were born.) Lorrie is Torrie’s mother. SO. When my first cousin has a child, that person (ie, Torrie) becomes my first cousin ONCE REMOVED. Aaaand, we’re like the same age, as you can tell from my picture (the bottom of the left column) and her pretty b&w (at the bottom of the right column). How does that HAPPEN?
So, that whole second cousin thing. According to Genealogy.com (and feel free to check my work!), they would have the same great-grandparents as myself, but not the same grandparents. So, my great-aunt’s daughter, Deb, is my second cousin! Right?! When you have a family as big as the Clemons clan, this sort of thing comes up pretty often.
Anyway, the first time I think I really seriously tried to get a handle on this was after watching a BBC Reveals documentary on incest. O_O Yeah, aside from that german couple that just refused to stop bumping uglies (even after one of their four children was born with some sort of mental retardation), there’s that whole law that allows you to marry in your family after the third cousin. Well, now that I look at it, third cousins are pretty far down the line. It just means you have the same great-great grandparents. Same generation. Different grandparents. Still. With six billion people on earth…I’m feeling like you could probably get out of the family tree.