Cousinship - friday 2005-06-17 0217 last modified 2005-06-17 0217
Categories: Daily Grind
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The small things you learn.

I never quite understood what second cousin three times removed was supposed to mean, but looking through the Roosevelt family history and seeing how the labels with respect to FDR lined up finally granted some insight, which I'll forget if I don't write it down.

The degree and removal of cousinhood are determined by counting back generations until ancestors who are siblings can be found. The lesser of the generational count is the degree, and the difference between the counts is the removal. So while Theodore and Franklin were fifth cousins (they share a great great great great grandfather), Franklin's wife was his fifth cousin once removed (Theodore's brother's daughter).

Aristocracy in America, alive and well. At least I finally know now what to call my cousins' children and my grandfather's brother's grandchildren. I think it's time to pick up my habit of reading presidential biographies once more. It looks like the Roosevelts are next in line.

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