Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Cousins, degrees and removals
So here we have two sittin' on the floor babies, both of whom are my grand nephews. The musician hanging out between sessions is Calvin, son of Josh. The gambler playing solitaire is Emerson, sometimes known as Li'l E.
So what are they to each other? The answer is second cousins.
The common ancestor for these two little guys is three generations up, my parents. The first generation are siblings, the second generation whose closest relation is sharing a grandparent are first cousins, the third generation whose closest relation is sharing a great grandparent are second cousins.
So what's a first cousin once removed?
Removal deals with not being at the same generational level. The father of Calvin is Josh, the mother of Emerson is Nefera. Josh and Nefera are first cousins, Josh and Emerson are first cousins once removed, as are Nefera and Calvin. So the "once removed" relation is not symmetrical, but no special word exists to show this. The simplest non-symmetrical relation when dealing with generations but not direct ancestry is uncle (or aunt) to nephew (or niece). Here the words show which person is of the generation closer to the common ancestor.
Of course, a favorite family joke is much simpler and needs no 'splainin'.
He's my second cousin twice removed. Once for loitering, and once for vagrancy.