Bridging Generations

Ancestors and descendents of Joyce Verla Pratt and Mark Richard Berrett

Now, how are we related?

Is she my cousin or my aunt? How many greats is that grandfather?  If my grandmother is your great grandfather’s sister, what does that make us?  One of the most confusing parts of family history can be figuring out how all of these family members are related to each other and how we are related to them.  As we add more generations and more names, the relationships become even more complicated.  And sprinkled throughout our family history, we have plural marriages, second marriages, half-siblings, and step grandparents.  Our family tree appears to be a little gnarled at times.

Outside of immediate family and grandparents, many of our relatives are cousins. Cousin is a term for someone who is descended from a common ancestor.  A first cousin is someone who has the same grandparents as you do.  We share great-grandparents with our second cousins, and mutual great-great grandparents create third cousins.  “Removed” simply means that you and that relative are from different generations.

Use this chart to help figure out how you are related to your many cousins.

  • Determine what relative ? you have in common with another relative.
  • Find your relationship to ? in the left column.
  • Find your relative’s relationship to ? in the top row.
  • Figure out where your row and column meet and see your relationship.

generation chart new-1

For example:  Lynnette Berrett Butler and Gwen Daniels Orton are both related to Harriet Brown Berrett.  Although they are the same age, Lynnette is Harriet’s granddaughter, and Gwen is Harriet’s great-granddaughter.  Lynnette and Gwen are first cousins once removed.

Have fun figuring out how you are related to the people you meet in this blog!

“I have a family tree with branches by the dozens.
I have grandmas.  I have grandpas.
I have uncles, aunts and cousins.”
‘I Have a Family Tree’, LDS Children’s Songbook, p. 199






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