What does 5th cousin once removed mean?

Have you ever seen the term “5th cousin once removed” and wondered what it means? This term is often used in family trees, but it can be confusing to those who are unfamiliar with the concept. Let’s take a closer look at this term so that we can better understand how cousins are related.

The Basics of Cousin Relationships

At its core, a 5th cousin once removed simply refers to two people who are related through a shared ancestor, but not directly related to one another. To put this into perspective, let’s break down the meaning of “5th cousin once removed.” The first part—5th cousin—refers to the number of generations between two people and their common ancestor. In this case, these two individuals would have four generations separating them from their most recent shared ancestor (i.e., each person has four great-grandparents). The second part—once removed—refers to the difference in generation between two people who share an ancestor. In this example, there would be one generation separating them (i.e., one person is a grandparent while the other is a child).

This concept can also be applied to more distant relatives; for example, 8th cousins twice removed would refer to two people who have seven generations separating them from their most recent shared ancestor and two generations separating them from one another. It is important to note that the word “removed” does not indicate whether or not two people are blood relatives; instead, it simply indicates how many steps away they are from their most recent shared ancestor.

Understanding How Cousins Are Related

In order to further understand how cousins are related, it helps to look at an example family tree. Let’s say that Person A has a great-grandparent named Jack and Person B has a great-great-grandparent named Jack as well; this makes Person A and Person B 5th cousins once removed since they share an ancestor but there is one generation between them (Person A’s grandparent is Jack’s child while Person B’s parent is Jack’s grandchild).

It is also important to remember that even though Person A and Person B share an ancestor, they do not necessarily have any direct genetic connection; however, they may still share certain traits due to having similar ancestors in their family tree.


At its core, understanding 5th cousins once removed comes down to understanding how many generations separate two people from their shared ancestor as well as how many generations separate them from one another. As you can see from our example above, knowing how distant relatives are related can help us better understand our own family trees and gain insights into our ancestral heritage. By taking some time to research your own family history, you may be surprised by what you find! ​​​​


1. What is the definition of a 5th cousin once removed?

A 5th cousin once removed is a term used to describe two people who are related through a shared ancestor, but not directly related to one another. This relationship is typically determined by counting the number of generations separating two cousins from their most recent shared ancestor and the difference in generation between them.

2. How is a 5th cousin once removed different from other types of cousins?

There are many different types of cousins, and the way that they are related can vary depending on how far apart they are from their most recent shared ancestor. For example, first cousins share one set of grandparents, second cousins share a set of great-grandparents, and so on. Compared to other cousin relationships, 5th cousins once removed have the greatest degree of separation from one another, as there is typically one generation in between them.

3. How can you determine if someone is your 5th cousin once removed?

There are several different methods you can use to figure out if someone is your 5th cousin once removed. One approach is simply to count the number of generations that separate you from a shared ancestor, and compare this with the generation difference between you and your cousin. You can also use online tools or family tree software to look up your relationship with another person and determine how you are related.

4. What are some possible benefits of researching your family history?

One potential benefit of researching your family history is that it can help you better understand the people who came before you and the experiences they went through. This can be a great way to learn more about your ancestors’ cultural backgrounds, personal tastes, and unique family traditions. In addition, learning more about your family history can also be a good opportunity to connect with other relatives and build stronger relationships.​