*Kinship: Grandparents, Cousins and Other
Relatives
Slekskap: Besteforeldre, søskenbarn og annen slektninger*

This page is intended as
a guide to the various family relationships.

Everyone has two parents,
four grandparents, eight great grandparents, sixteen great-great grandparents
(also known as 2nd great grandparents), 32 3rd great-grandparents, etc. The
number doubles with each generation and quickly gets very large as one goes
back in time. If you are mathematically inclined, the formula is x = 2^{n},
where x is the number of grandparents and n is the number of generations from
yourself. For example, Erlend paa Hassagher and Baard paa Lein are two of my 11^{th}
great grandfathers, so they are 13 generations back and are two of 2^{13}
(8,192) grandparents in that generation. Lars Brøskift is the only 12^{th}
great grandparent whose name I know, and he is one of 2^{14} (16,384)
grandparents in that generation. Go back 25 generations to Viking times, and
there would be 2^{25} (33,554,432 !) grandparents in that generation.

The numbers quickly
become staggering. While the math is right, the progression seems
counter-intuitive. One exceeds the number of people in Stadsbygd and Rissa
combined sometime between the 10^{th} and 11^{th} generations
and all the people in

Not only that,
mathematical modeling of common ancestry shows that this extends to all
Europeans and to a large number of non-Europeans as well. For a fascinating look at the mathematical
modeling of common ancestry, see the web site of Dr. Mark Humphrys of the

You share 50% of your
genetic kinships with either of your parents, 25% with any of your
grandparents, 12.5% with any of your great-grandparents, and 6.25% with any of
your 2nd great-grandparents. Just as the number of grandparents doubles with
each generation, the amount of ancestry you share with any one of them halves.
Of course, since many are related to you by more than one line, you would have
to add the contribution of each line to that person's total.

Your first cousins are
the children of your parents' siblings, sharing two of your four grandparents
with you. Second cousins are the grandchildren of your grandparent’s siblings,
so they share two of your eight great-grandparents. Third cousins share two of
your sixteen 2nd great grandparents. Fourth cousins share two of your 32 3rd
great grandparents, and so on. Just as it is possible to have half brothers and
sisters, you can also have half cousins. It is also possible to have double
cousins. My grandfather and his two brothers married three sisters, so my
second cousins are really double second cousins, sharing four of our eight
great-grandparents -- the same degree of relationship as if we were first
cousins.

Lastly, the child of your
first cousin is your first cousin once (one generation) removed. Your child and that person would be second
cousins (the children of first cousins are second cousins, the grandchildren of
first cousins are third cousins, etc.). The grandchild of your first cousin is
your first cousin twice removed, and so on. In reverse, the first cousin of
your parent is your first cousin once removed, and the first cousin of your
grandparent is your first cousin twice removed, and so on.

You share 100% of your
genetic kinship with your identical twin, but 50% with other siblings,
including fraternal twins. You share 25%
with your grandchildren, nieces and nephews, uncles and aunts, and
grandparents. You share 12.5% with
grandnephews and grandnieces, first cousins, grand uncles and grand aunts, and
great grandparents. You share 6.25% with
your first cousins once removed, great grand uncles and great grand aunts, and
with your great-great grandparents. To
compute the genetic kinship with any degree of cousin, divide the genetic
kinship of the one before by four. So,
if 1^{st} cousin = 12.5%, then 2^{nd} cousin = 12.5%/4 =
3.125%; 3^{rd} cousin = 3.125%/4 = 0.78125%; 4^{th} cousin =
0.1953125%, and so on. Kinship gets
“thin” rather quickly.

Revised