Super Sleuth

Super Sleuth
Digging Up The Past One Relative At A Time

Friday, August 29, 2014


     I would like to make every Friday's blog a "mini-lesson" to assist you in comprehending the lingo of the professionals.  

     Cousins, cousins, cousins...first, second, third, once-removed...etc.  How do you know to what degree you are related to your "cousins"?  Here are some hints to help you out.  I will use my own personal information to illustrate.

1)  I have 14 first cousins on my father's side of the family.  How do I know they are my first cousins?  The reason why I know this is because we all share the same grandparents.  Therefore, if you and your cousin share the same grandparents then you are FIRST cousins.

2)  Now, we all get older, right?  Sometimes we don't want to deal with that, but it's a fact of life.  When your first cousin has a baby, what is that baby's relationship to you?  Well, I'm glad you asked.  You would be considered FIRST cousins ONCE REMOVED.  How do I know this?  I know this because the grandparents I share with my first cousin become the great-grandparents of THEIR children.  

3)  So, when are you considered SECOND cousins?  Second cousins occur when you and someone else share the same GREAT-GRANDPARENTS.  You will probably start noticing a pattern here.  Watch this...

4)  When your second cousin has a baby, that baby becomes your SECOND cousin ONCE REMOVED.  Do you see what is happening here?  Every time a new generation comes to life, it alters your relationship with them.

5)  Here is a little quiz to see if you were paying attention.  We already know that if you and someone else share the same grandparents, then you are considered FIRST COUSINS.  We also know that if you and someone else share the same great-grandparents, then you are considered SECOND COUSINS.  What are you considered then if you and someone else share the same great-great-grandparents?  That's right!  You would be considered THIRD COUSINS!

     We will dig a little deeper into the Relationship Chart so you will understand what the terms TWICE removed, THREE TIMES REMOVED, and so forth, mean.  In the interim, here is a cheat sheet to help you identify the relationship correlations.  The link to this chart is found below.


     How many "greats" are too many "greats" to place in front of the word, "grandparent"?  Another fantastic question!  Here is a quick-reference guide for you:

Etc., etc., etc...


     Facebook has become one of my favorite websites, not because of the addicting games or the stimulating conversation.  Facebook has shortened the miles-gap between myself and my extended family.  It is a comfort to know that we are all still in touch though the Internet.  It truly is an asset when used properly.
     About three years ago, I noticed that my "first cousin once removed" was friends with some people on Facebook who shared the same last name as my paternal grandmother's maiden name.  These "friends" of my first cousin once removed lived in a small town in Italy.  The name of the town was familiar to me because, in my research, I discovered that my paternal grandmother's father (my great-grandfather) came from the same town.  After some investigative work and through the assistance of Google Translate, I discovered that theses "friends" in Italy were actually my THIRD COUSINS.  How did I know this for sure?  The young lady I was corresponding with on the Internet had a grandfather who was still living and was able to piece together some of the loose ends.  When all was said and done, this young lady and I not only shared the same 2x-Great-Grandparents, but her great-grandfather and my great-grandfather were brothers.
     In 2013, she came to America on her honeymoon and was invited to my house to meet the American family.  This past July, my husband and I went to Italy to meet the rest of her family--mia famiglia!  We are separated by the Atlantic Ocean, but, thanks to technology, we were reconnected.  My great-grandfather was the only one of his six brothers and sisters to immigrate to America.  He came in 1914.  The siblings and parents he left behind in Caserta lost touch with him over the years and they had no idea of the amount of relatives they had in America.

This is a photograph of my THIRD COUSIN and me taken in Caserta, Italy in July 2014.  Her great-grandfather and my great-grandfather were brothers!


  1. So you are my first cousin once removed... Correct?

  2. EXCELLENT LINDA!! Yes, we are first cousins once removed!

    Teacher's Explanation: Linda and I are first cousins once removed. Why? The reason is that Linda and my mother are first cousins. They share the same grandparents. Since I was born of my mother, Linda's grandparents became my great-grandparents.

  3. Fascinating!!!! The breakdown of cousin titles always confused me. Thanks for transcribing the process in another form. Now I get it!!! LOL!!! I love hearing about how you reconnected with our family from Caserta. Great story!!!

  4. Thank you, Joann! Years ago, I was confused about that too, so EVERYONE was called "cousin". Now, I understand it better and the chart really helped me to decipher the levels and degrees! Thanks for responding!

  5. I'm so excited my last name is Inserra and my sisters and I are really starting to research our family tree. My Dad's family came from Vizzini too. Do you think we could be related?