My first cousin's son Zak and his family came to Arcata from New York for a visit two weeks ago. They were on a journey from Seattle to San Francisco, driving the coast highways and enjoying their spring break. We took them to the marsh for a nice hike and to the Interpretive Center to take a look the exhibits and maps.
the Interpretive Center is this fantastic wingspan chart. Zak's
daughter Ella stood in front of it and spread her arms. Her arm
span is somewhere between a Red-tailed Hawk and a Canadian Goose's
wingspan. It's a beautiful graphic to really get a sense of just how big
a bird's wingspan is. The Bald Eagle isn't even on the chart, it's an
inch bigger than the pelican's span! I photographed Ella while her
younger brother Waylon looked on. About a week later, I sent her the
photo, and she responded.
Her email was delightful,
full of exclamation points, enthusiasm, and capital letters. I loved it,
and it started me thinking about family trees. How are Ella and I
related? What is the common nomenclature for such a relationship? When I
was in college I was an anthropology major, I always loved the way
kinships were defined.
Ella is my first cousin twice
removed. Her father Zak is my first cousin once removed. My cousin (Zak's mother) is her grandmother. Ella's great-great grandmother was my
grandmother. That's how the family tree works.
the difference between first cousins and second cousins. If I had
children they would be second cousins to my first cousin's children. My
children and my cousin's children would have the same
great-grandparents. If I had grandchildren, they would be third cousins
to my cousin's grandchildren Ella and Waylon.
So, here's a question, what would the relationship be between my children and Ella? Can you guess?