Complexity of Cousins

Perhaps there are some people (Southerners by stereotype) who are good at figuring out familial relationships between individuals. So that, when introduced, someone might even be able to say “oh, your mother’s sister’s cousin on the “jones” side, isn’t she married to…..? and even understand the relationship.

Me, I understand first degree relatives (parents, sibs, and children) and the rest of the world. That is probably helped by the fact that I have few relatives and my children have even fewer.

Well, that is not completely true; there are also grandparents, cousins, nieces, and nephews. It is that cousin category where all of this gets me completely confused and that is before I even consider the generational issues. (Actually, the linked Wikipedia article is extremely clear.)

What has this to do with deployment? Very little, except that I am in Afghanistan trying to figure out what I want to send Andrew for his birthday. It is scary when I realized that figuring out a present for a teenage young man was easier than describing the relationship.

Background: my mother (84) was an only child. Ends pretty much all discussions of relatives on that side. My father (84) has one sister (younger than 84) and she had two children. You with me so far? I have two first cousins, one of whom has two children. Technically those two children, essentially contemporaries of Ms Maus (my youngest), are first cousins, once removed. I think. In reality, I think of them in the niece and nephew category because of their ages.

Back to the thought of presents. I finally worked out what I wanted to send him and headed for the door. Just in time to feel the building rattle from a nearby impact. Since there was no prior warning of a planned detonation, we all voted for target practice from the hills. The second impact was barely over when the Apaches launched (since they are just over the back fence it caused more window rattling). Watching the chat might just be interesting, but “donning IBA and sheltering in place” leaves me less than thrilled. It might just wind up forcing me to change choices from iTunes to Amazon!

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7 Responses to Complexity of Cousins

  1. Todd Jordan says:

    Enjoyed this post. We’ve got a bit more family than you but so split off it seems much the same.
    Never had to dodge mortars while on submarines, but it did make me think a lot about relationships. I still do today and wonder where my favorite long lost friend (should have been brother) is at these days.

    Cheers and my blessings to you out there in the field.
    @tojosan just about everywhere.

  2. Diane says:

    Cousins?? Relatives?? You want to see cousins and relatives…..then just start your family tree. In the early days of my research I used to send out Christmas cards to all of them (and those who I could remember birthdays and anniversaries). I must have helped contribute to the deforestation of some place on this earth. What is frightening is that I can still recall, to memory, the list of who is related to whom without the benefit of my laptop database.

    There is more out there than you realise 🙂

  3. Carmen says:

    I use FamilyTreeMaker for the more complicated relationships.

    I think it is a rural thing rather than a southern thing. It is in stable (older) small towns that people are more interested in the kinship issues. In Two Harbors that sort of conversation was common – old small town. Not so in Silver Bay (new small town, so people were not related to anyone.)

  4. Beverely says:

    From your resident genealogist: It’s really easy. Andrew is your first cousin, once removed. He is the second cousin of your children.

  5. Mary says:

    I hope you will have managed a good, restful sleep after experiencing this latest round of shelling.

    Dear friend, does this happen a lot?

  6. Hollly says:

    Shelling is common on a lot of posts. Mostly at night which gives them a little bit of protection from observation and the attack helicopters which go hunting. Their normal aim is pretty bad and it is not common that they hit anything.

  7. George says:

    Cousins are, in fact, funny. The best relatives I have are really distant cousins—

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