Cousins are fun to be with – they are almost like your siblings but you don’t have to share all your prized possessions with them all the time. In general, cousins are relatives with whom we share an ancestor, though in many cultures the term is commonly used to refer to the children of our aunts and uncles. In genealogy, which is the study of families and their history, a relationship between cousins – two people who have a common ancestor – is named after which generation they belong to.
When cousins are from the same generation, they are known as first, second or third cousins. For example, first cousins are children of siblings – your uncle and aunt’s children will be your first cousins. The children of first cousins are second cousins, and the children of second cousins are third cousins. On the other hand, when two people are not from the same generation, their relationship is described by adding the word removed. First cousin once removed, for example, is used to describe the relationship between a person and the children of his or her first cousin – your first cousin’s child will be your first cousin once removed. First cousin once removed can also be used to refer to a parent’s first cousin.
Celebrated every year on July 24, the unofficial holiday is also sometimes known as National Cousins Day.
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