Whether the relatives are once, twice, thrice, ... removed can be determined
by subtracting the difference between the number of greats in their common
grandparent. For example, Javin, another web site author and I are third
cousins once removed, because our common ancestor, Johann (1812), is great3
for him and great2 for me. Three minus two is one or once removed.
considering relatives not in the same generation, use the grandparent
with the fewest number of greats. In other words, Johann is Javin's
great3 grandparent but only my great great grandparent. Using Javin
as a base would make us 4th cousins - an erroneous determination.
Instead, adding one to my great2 per the table shown above arrives at our
correct third cousin status. Making determinations other
than from common grandparents is probably best done via the circular
The degree of kindred numbers, shown in blue within each cell, are
Civil Law kinship references prevailing when the statutes don't
govern. For example, the ME with a degree
number of 0/zero as the base point, could be a decedent with an estate
going through probate. The chart shown here should not be used as a
legal reference. Check with the laws (and charts) in
your own locale for the definitions governing the circumstance you
encounter in need of a legal kinship determination.