What Do I Call My Cousin’s Child?

Nope, they're NOT your second cousin...

Children of your cousin are actually called your first cousins once removed.  But your cousin’s child would be a second cousin to your own children.

So, What do you call your Cousins’ Daughter, or your Cousins’ Son?

While from a genealogy standpoint, your cousin’s child is your first cousin once removed, but the common name to call them is niece or nephew. They would call you aunt or uncle, and your children would simply call them cousins…although of course, they are really second cousins.

But that Sounds Crazy…My Family Doesn’t Call a Cousin Their Niece!

While many Asian and European cultures have specific names for distant cousins, alas, the English language does not.  This isn’t a cultural distinction in the United States either.  Whether you live in the Northeast or the South or the West coast, the specific ‘word’ for “first cousin once removed”, just doesn’t exist in the the English language.

So many families adopt their own names based on family tradition, or simply who is the oldest, rather than on genealogy accuracy. This is why ‘Aunt Sally’ may actually be your first cousin once removed, hence more accurately your niece.  Age has nothing to do with it; it’s all about generational layers.  Confusing, hey?

Why Shouldn’t I Call Them First Cousin Once Removed?

Well, technically, you can.  But nobody writes a Birthday card, or a name-tag  to my Dear “First Cousin Once Removed.”  Seriously, nobody in the United States does that, unless they are a genealogist, which would of course make them correct.

So calling your cousin’s son your nephew, or your cousin’s daughter your niece, is really a matter of family tradition, or commonly used practicality.  But we suppose you could impress them with your genealogy knowledge, and write on their birthday card ‘first cousin once removed’!  Just don’t call them cousin…

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