Sunday, May 4, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - How Many Cousins Do You Know You Have?

From Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1) Take both sets of your grandparents and figure out how many first cousins you have, and how many first cousins removed (a child or grandchild of a first cousin) you have.

2) Extra Credit: Take all four sets of your great-grandparents and figure out how many second cousins you have, and how many second cousins removed you have.

3) Tell us the grandparents and great-grandparents names, but don't give the name of living cousins unless you want to.

4) Are there any of those lines that you don't know all of the cousins names? Do you care? 

5) Tell us about them in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post of your own. Be sure to drop a comment to this post to link to your work.

Here is my entry: 
I struggled to come up with respectful terms for non-biological children. It is something that is tough to describe but easy in real life because they are just considered part of the family and equal to all other family members. For simplicity's sake, I will refer to all children the same but understand that a few of these relationships are based on love, not DNA. 

Part 1: 
My Carter grandparents were Thomas Richard & Fern Lyndell (Cotton) Carter. They had four sons. My father is the oldest. 

Son #2 has two daughters and one son. Child #1 (female) has one daughter; Child #2 (male) has no children; Child #3 (female) has one son and one daughter. 3 first cousins, & 3 first cousins, once removed. 

Son #3 had three daughters. Child #1 two daughters; Child #2 has one daughter and one son; Child #3 does not have children yet. 3 first cousins & 4 first cousins, once removed

Son #4 had three daughters. Child #1 has three daughters and one son; Child #2 has one son and one daughter; Child #3 has no children. 3 first cousins & 6 first cousins, once removed

My Blake grandparents were Clayton Leonard & Linona Alice "Peggy" (Yates) Blake. They had three daughters. My mother is the oldest. 

Daughter #2 has two daughters. Child #1 has three daughters; Child #2 has no children. 2 first cousins & 3 first cousins, once removed

Daughter #3 has two sons and 1 daughter. Child #1 (male) has no children; Child #2 (female) has two daughters; Child #3 (male) has three daughters. 3 first cousins & 5 first cousins, once removed

I have 14 first cousins and 21 first cousins, once removed. None of my first cousins have grandchildren. I am the oldest of the Carters and I have the first grandchild - born in October 2013. 

Extra Credit:
My great-grandparents:
1) Edward Mellen & Fanny (Capen) Carter - Had 5 children but only two had children and one of those was my grandfather. 

  • Edward Augustus Carter had one son & one daughter. The son had three daughters and the daughter had no children. Of the three daughters, only one has children - two boys and one girl. 
  • Rebecca Williamson (Carter) Bailey
  • My grandfather, Thomas Richard Carter had four sons.
  • Stanley Capen Carter
  • Paul Albert Carter 

Total = 2 second cousins & 3 second cousins, once removed & 3 second cousins, twice removed. I know everyone in this line. 

2) Ray Everett & Annie Florilla (Gibbs) Cotton - Had 8 children but only three had children.  

  • Albert Francis Cotton had one daughter. She had a son & a daughter. There are at least 4 grandchildren for Albert and at least 3 great-grandchildren. 
  • Nina Mae (Cotton) Laflin died at age nineteen without children.
  • Marion Elizabeth Cotton died young.
  • Ray Everett Cotton, Jr had one daughter and five sons. I know of 12 grandchildren of Ray, Jr. and I'm sure there are some great-grandchildren but I do not know their names. Yes, I wish I did. 
  • Thelma Jane Cotton died young. 
  • Leonard Henry Cotton died young. 
  • Ada Lillie Cotton had one son and two daughters. The son had 3 daughters & the daughters had 2 sons and a son and a daughter, respectively. I know all their names but I lose track of some at the next generation. I know of 4 great-grandchildren of Ada. 
  • My grandmother Fern Lyndell (Cotton) Carter had four sons. 

Total = 4 second cousins & 11 second cousins, once removed and bunch of second cousins, twice removed. I feel pretty good that I at least know a few of the second cousins, twice removed names. 

3) Harriet Blake - never married and had only my grandfather. No second cousins here. 

4) Estes & Eva Delphinia (Hayes) Yates - Had 8 children and these are harder for me. 

  • Lawrence Yates had at least two sons and two daughters and then I lose track. I know one of his daughters has one son and two daughters. 
  • Georgie Anna (Yates) Haines had at least three daughters and one son. I know the two children of the son. 
  • Carroll Yates had two sons but nothing further on this line. 
  • My grandmother Linona Alice (Yates) Blake had three daughters. 
  • Russell Yates had no children. 
  • Viva (Yates) Whitman had one son (no idea if he has children) and one daughter. I know the daughter has two daughters and several grandchildren. I know the names of her daughters but not Viva's great-grandchildren. 
  • Laura (Yates) (Adams) Hutchins had one son and one daughter. I know the daughter has one son and two daughters and several grandchildren. 
  • Bryce Yates had one daughter and two sons. I believe that both sons have not had children and the daughter has at least one daughter, one or two sons. 
Total = at least 17 second cousins & an unknown number of second cousins, once removed.  

At least 23 second cousins, and 27+ second cousins, once removed. 

Geography seems to play a part in this. Some lines I know more of the descendants because they lived nearby, went to the same schools, and family got together more often. On my mother's side, the extended family did not have the same get-togethers that my father's side did. I know more of the families of my mom's cousins who lived in the towns in our school district but not those who lived just a little bit further away. I wonder what it will be like for my children because the family is becoming increasingly separated by geography but increasingly connected by social media.


  1. You have some really interesting thoughts here - particularly the one about greater physical distance which can be reduced somewhat by the all pervasive social media. And yes, I agonised too about respectful ways of describing relationships. Well done on your mission.

  2. I'm still working on mine. I also decided to count children who joined the family through adoption along with those who joined by birth. And I've found geographic distance a real factor in how well I know cousins, although with the advent of fb, I now know some I never met very well.