In my class on genealogy research, I try to spend some time on relationships. Truthfully, I have family tree software that calculates how I’m related to the 39,700 people in my data base. Really? 39,700??? Yes, really. Many of my maternal lines go as far as Plymouth Colony (Yes, there’s a Mayflower or two in the mix) And you know those folks from way back before TV and the internet….they had kids, lots of kids! So those fecund families spread their names far and wide across this country. That also holds true for my paternal lines. My direct great grandfathers were mostly in Alabama and Tennessee but their progenitor, I believe, was an early 1700′s Scotch-Irish immigrant who may have settled first in New England and then gradually migrated south. (Oh….”fecund”…it’s not a bad word but I challenge you to look it up…I just never get a chance to use it!!)
But I digress. Archives.com has published an excellent article that describes in simple terms what those simple terms mean: First cousin, once removed, third cousin 4 times removed and so forth. I won’t get into “Mother-In-Law of the 7th cousin twice removed of the grandson of the 3rd cousin three times removed” but they’re out there.
Anyway, click the “Archives” link above and see if that’s a description you can live with. I also have a chart by Alice J Ramsey that you might like to look at. I can e-mail that to you by you requesting it at email@example.com.