What to Call Your Distant Relative

When you have a big family, it’s a challenge to figure out how everyone is related. So here are some charts to help you figure it out.

The most straightforward way to find the common ancestor between you and a relative. Maybe the common ancestor is a grandparent or a great-grandparent.

Then figure out how many generations out you are from the common ancestor. Do the same for the relative. As shown below, you can then figure out what to call each other.
 

Keep selecting different people, and you’ll probably start to notice repeats and maybe pull out some patterns. Here are the above labels in a grid format that shows what you call your relatives, again based on the common ancestor.
 


 

In the first row of the grid, you have the nephews and nieces. Add “grand” and then “great” as you look at generations beyond your own.
Conversely, in the first column, you have the uncles and aunts. Again, you add “grand” and then “great” if you yourself are one who is generations out from the common ancestor.
On the diagonal, after brother and sister, it’s just cousin, second cousin, third cousin, etc. So if you’re comparing yourself to a relative who is the same generation as you, but they’re not you’re sibling, they’re your cousin. The first, second, third, etc comes from the number of generations in between you and your common ancestor.
But really, once you get past the first row and column, everyone is your cousin. If you want to say once, twice, thrice removed, you just count the number of generations that separate you and the other relative.

 

Or, if you don’t want to figure it out, just use the dropdown menus at the beginning. That’s what I’m gonna do.

Become a member. Support an independent site. Make great charts.

Join Now

Favorites

A Day in the Life: Work and Home

I simulated a day for employed Americans to see when and where they work.

When Americans Reach $100k in Savings

It was reported that 1 in 6 millennials have at least $100,000 saved. Is this right? It seems high. I looked at the data to find out and then at all of the age groups.

A Day in the Life of Americans

I wanted to see how daily patterns emerge at the individual level and how a person’s entire day plays out. So I simulated 1,000 of them.

10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2017

It was a rough year, which brought about a lot of good work. Here are my favorite data visualization projects of the year.