#185: 20 Q’s…Tangles Untangled, While U Wait

185.1   And do people ever get tangled with genealogy and kinship! Trust me, even I make an occasional mistake if I’m not careful, so I understand. Here are some more queries and attempted answers from Yahoo! Posts are in black italics…my comments in red. BTW, if you’ve never seen it before, the abbreviation OP stands for Original Post or Original Poster…

185.2  Question: What is the title of how I am related to my mom’s 2nd cousin’s niece? what would you call my relation to my mom’s second cousin’s niece (on his wife’s side if it matters) would that be my 3rd cousin?  I hate to get picky…but people in general, not to mention genealogists, don’t call it a “title”…better so say “relationship” or “name of the relationship.” 

185.3  Answer #1, “Rated Highest” by others…You are not related at all  Completely and utterly correct…doesn’t explain anything, but if you want to get a quick answer and then move on, this is it. Before I give my answer, we should look at the next answer, which illustrates the importance of reading a question carefully

185.4  Answer #2…You are probably not related. We can’t tell from the way you worded your question. On the contrary, the OP gave us everything we need to know…the key is when they said “on his wife’s side if it matters.” Well, it matters very much…and here the OP has told us 2 important things: first, the mother’s 2nd cousin is a man (“his”)…and second, the niece is not his biological niece but his wife’s…he may be called “uncle,” but that’s because he is married to the niece’s biological aunt, nez pah?

Your mom’s 2nd cousin’s child is your 3rd cousin. The niece would be your 3rd cousin, if she is a child of your mom’s 2nd cousin’s brother or sister, This is exactly how it works, no denying it. but if that was true you would have phrased your question differently, I suspect.  And what do you know? OP did phrase the question differently than how you read it…you just didn’t catch it, I’m afraid. 

You are good to go if you want to date her. That is behind about half of he cousin relationships we get here.  Historically, one of the main uses of kinship was just that…reckoning whom you can and can’t marry. Just take it slow. If you try to set a county speed record for getting a bra off on a first date, there will be some distinct silences at family gatherings. A game attempt at humor, but it fails for one simple reason: family gatherings tend to be limited to family…and your family doesn’t include this niece. Say for example your mother staged a family gathering…she might invite her siblings, 1st cousins, even 2nd cousins…and they all might bring their spouses…but would those spouses bring their siblings?…and those siblings, their children? It’s possible…if you lived out in the hinterlands and things get lonely…but it doesn’t sound like a typical family gathering to me.

chart 648

185.5  My Answer: OP, you did not mention if your mother’s 2nd cousin has any children…in Chart 648 I put one in as a point of reference…and that child would indeed be your 3rd cousin. “Wife’s niece” would be this 3rd cousin’s 1st cousin, but not on your side of the family, hence no relation to you. But you did have the generations sorted out right, as far as that goes…in Chart 649, if the niece had been the 2nd cousin’s biological niece, thru his sibling, this niece would then be your 3rd cousin…but you said it was by marriage, so she’s not your 3rd cousin, or anything to you. 

chart 649
185.6 Answer #3…Your mom is related to her 2nd cousin, not even to his wife…much less the wife’s niece. YOU have NO relationship at all to this niece.. unless you have an ancestor in common (meaning, the same ancestor, somewhere back). Your mom’s 2nd cousin IS related to you.. he is your 2nd cousin once removed. It stops right there. Awkwardly put at the beginning…”not even to his wife” should read “but not to his wife”…other than that, when you’re right you’re right, and you’re right. 

185.8  Answer #4…Unrelated. In-laws never enter into the equation for anyone who isn’t married into the family.  Most people don’t refer to everyone who marries into their family as an “in-law”…but instead say “by marriage.” Traditionally in-laws are the closest…mother/father-in-law, son/daughter-in-law, siblings-in-law…speaking of which…For instance, your brother’s brother-in-law means nothing to you (well unless this means the guy your brother married, rather than the woman he married’s brother. Except you got tangled up and said that wrong…if your brother married another man, that man wouldn’t be your brother’s brother-in-law…he’d be your brother’s spouse, partner, husband, wife, whatever…if that, since opinions vary on same-sex unions, and in the interest of us all living together and getting along, we’ll leave it at that. If he were anybody’s brother-in-law, he would be yours, not your brother’s, follow that?


185.9  Question…If my Great Grandmothers sister married her Grandfather what does that make us? So me and my girlfriend have been dating for a few weeks and I just found out were the same ethnicity and have the same cousin. So I done some digging and found out that my great grandmothers sister married my girlfriends grandfather. I underlined the word “her” for good reason…it sure sounds like “her” refers to your great grandmother’s sister, giving you CHart 650A, strictly illegal, I don’t care who you are. But reading further, it turns out “her” refers to your girlfriend, giving us something distinctly different, Chart 650B

chart 650


185.10  My Answer…What we have here in Chart 650B is nothing more than a straightforward “Cousin Ladder”…you and your girlfriend are 2nd cousins once removed…she is your parent’s 2nd cousin. Thru practice, this type of up and down reckoning will come as second nature…you just have to work at it. 

185.11  Answer #1, “Rated Highest” by others…2nd cousins 1 time removed  Short, sweet, and to the point. Sweet!

185.12  Answer #2…
Generation 1: Your GGM & her sister = sisters
Generation 2: Your grandparent & her parent = 1st cousins
Generation 3: Your parent & your girlfriend = 2nd cousins
Generation 4: You & GF’s future child = 3rd cousins 

I threw your GF’s child in as a bonus. If you two do marry and have children, your children will be your 3rd cousins as well.  You might recall last week, one of the answerers threw in a “bonus…yup, altho I am leaving out screen names, this is the same individual…and generous to a fault. “Removed” means “Generations apart” in cousins. As you see, you and your GF are one generation apart. That makes you second cousins once removed.  Right answer…bravo.

185.13  Answer #3…So your great grandmother’s sister is her grandmother. Because if she isn’t, you’re not related by blood at all. I mention this because you oddly mention that she married her grandfather, rather than just saying is her grandmother. Otherwise, you’re second cousins once removed.  Another right answer…and it brings up an interesting point…what I call a Conan Relation…one that seems redundant because there is a simpler, more natural way to express it…like saying “my sister’s uncle” instead of “my uncle.” And as with other Conan Relations, what we have here does suggest the possibility that the grandmother’s sister is not the girlfriend’s grandmother…just someone who married the girlfriend’s grandfather after that grandfather had a child with somebody else, that child being the parent of the girlfriend. In that case, yes, OP and his girlfriend would be related by marriage only, not by blood. HOWEVER, the fact that he says “we have the same cousin”…even without saying what kind of cousin, numbered and/or removed…confirms that the 2 lovebirds are related, and that’s good enough for the likes of me.


185.14  Question…What is my 2nd cousin’s 1st cousin to me? Remember this rule: to you, your Xth cousin’s Yth cousin is whichever is larger, X or Y. So here, the your 2nd cousin’s 1st cousin is your 2nd cousin. In this context, your sibling is considered your “0th cousin.” If X and Y are equal, the answer could be you, your sibling, or anything up to and including your Xth cousin. 

chart 651

185.15  Answer #1, “Rated Highest” by others…Probably nothing. “Cousin’s cousin” is fun to say but not a real relation. If you have a common ancestor, you are elated; otherwise you are not. OK, if you insist…the complete answer, as airtight as it is foolproof, needs “if you are related” tacked onto the end. Since in this case there is nothing to indicate they are not related, I take OP at his literal word. And “probably” is not accurate…knowing nothing else, it’s 50/50, related or not related…and 50% is not probably. Also, notice that a slip of the typing finger results in a humorous typo…sadly, having a common ancestor does not always lead to elation. 

185.16  Answer #2…What common blood ancestor do you share with your 2nd cousins, 1st cousin, I would suggest you don’t and that they are related from the other side of the family, in which case you are not related at all   This person is only coherent enough to come off as an obnoxious nudnik…pay no attention to them. 

185.17  Answer #3…It is according to whether you share a common ancestor. There are different sides to any one family. Your cousin’s cousins are not necessarily related to you at all. Well yes, as I’ve said…still, you’ve absentmindedly forgotten to give an actual answer, just in case, right? Tsk-tsk.

185.18  Answer #4…Just a friend  More tsk.

185.19  Answer #5…depends, may be your wife  An odd answer, yet not impossible…people still do marry their 2nd cousins, altho not as often as was done in previous generations.  

185.20  Answer #6…I saw an article the other day about this, let me check my history real fast and I will get back with the link  This  reminds me of Facebook postings like “I just took a shower”…and we should care why, this shower? This person never did get back with the promised link…not when I was there anyway…perhaps they have since and good for them if they did. 

185.21  Answer #7…your second cousin  That’s what I would say, which is why I did. 

185.22  Couple more weeks of 20 Q’s coming up…because I’m having a ball, and it’s whose blog again?


Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved


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