Monday, January 29, 2018

Now, How Is He Related to Me?!

Ok, a show of hands, please, if this has happened to you…

You have just uncovered a fascinating story about a relative, and can't wait to tell everyone. You begin the story, and you have your audience hooked...until someone says, “now, how are we related to him?”.

As you start to explain, their eyes start glazing over...and you know you've lost them!

I know, because it has happened to me. A while back, I discovered that one of our cousins would be acting alongside Daniel Radcliffe, in the film, “Imperium”. Exciting news that I couldn't wait to share with my son, right?!  And he was excited, until he had to go, and ask THE QUESTION.  (The answer by the way was my son’s 3rd cousin)

So, I hope this chart might help you, and your audience, as you discover new relatives, and old ancestors.

  1. Find the common ancestor(s).
      (Ex. ~ In my story above, that would be Henry & Carrie Haessig.)

   2. Go right across the top blue row, filling in each generation until       reaching the one you are researching. Start with the Common             Ancestor’s child, grandchild, etc.
     (Ex. ~ Henry & Carrie > Ethel > Gene > Diane > My son. My son
     would be the 2nd Great-grandchild of Henry & Carrie.)

  3. Now, repeat Step #2 (going down the left blue column) with the           other line that you are researching.
      (Ex. ~ Henry & Carrie > Clara > Robert > R.G. > The Actor. The               Actor would also be a 2nd Great-grandchild of Henry & Carrie.)
     *I am being vague with some names for privacy’s sake.
  4. After finding the two relatives along the top blue row and the             left blue column, trace their lines until they meet in the chart.             This will tell you how two people are related.
      (Ex. ~ My son is 2nd Great-grandchild along the top blue row.              The Actor is 2nd Great-grandchild along left blue column.                     Where they meet in the chart, states they are 3rd cousins.)

I am sure this is as clear as mud right now, but it honestly gets easier each time you try it! I know it works best for me if I always try to keep my right pointer finger on my top row relative, and my left pointer finger on my left column relative. Then, I can just move my fingers until they meet.

You may need to write your relatives’ names in the boxes. Whatever works best for you is the best way to use this chart.

Now...a short quiz to test your newfound skills!

I am related to an Indiana Governor from the early 1900’s. His name is Winfield Taylor Durbin, and our Common Ancestor is Elijah Sparks.

Winfield’s line ~ Elijah >Eliza > Winfield

My line ~ Elijah > Hamlet > Mary > Anna > Carrie > Ethel > Gene > Diane

How are Governor Winfield Taylor Durbin and I related to each other?


  1. This is a subject that is hard for many people to understand. I still look at the charts and feel like I should carry a laminated copy of the chart around if I am speaking with someone about cousins or include one in an email.

  2. Marie, just a day or two ago, I found a printable that allows you ample space to write names in each square. I printed and kept it, so this chart is always handy. To make it even easier, you can use the term my dad always did: "shirt-tail relations"! Lol

  3. Great post ~ Great chart and surprisingly...I got it!

    1. Thanks! I'm glad to hear it! It actually gets easier the more you use it.