I know my first cousins.

Second Cousin. Once Removed. Genealogy at the Family Christmas Party.

We saw them about every five years when I was growing up. Each time, it was as though we lived across the street. Beyond that, however, my parents did not go. When I got to college, a boy called me and asked if I wanted to meet my Michigan cousins. “I don’t have any Michigan cousins.”

As it turned out, he was right and I was wrong.  My grandfather had sisters who lived in Ohio and Michigan. My college roommate eventually introduced me to one of my great-aunts when she discovered the family connection on moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The guy who offered to introduce me to my second cousins in Michigan took me to their delightful farm. My second cousin was one of the top pork producers in the state, just before they discovered oil on the farm. My second cousin, once removed, that is, my second cousin’s son, Greg Barton, went on to be an Olympic medaler in kayaking and invented a kayak paddle.

When my children were young, they had the advantage that all my husband’s family still lived in Georgia. They saw their second cousins every year at the Christmas party. I made it a point to learn the difference between seconds and removeds. They just called them all cousins.

In case you are interested, second cousins are the children of first cousins. That is, when my cousins had children, their children and my children were second cousins. Removed refers to the number of generations removed. That is, my cousin’s children are one generation removed from my relationship with their parents. So, they are my first cousins, once removed.

If this is making your head spin, you might want to download a free genealogy chart, where you can write down the family members you remember. And, you don’t have to worry about second cousins, whether they are removed or not.

To download a free four or six-generation genealogy chart, go to this Mid-Continent Library site. You will find several free charts there, including four and six-generation charts.

Maybe you’ll discover you do know your second cousins, once removed.