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Free Printable Cousin Chart Templates [PDF, Excel, Word]

    Family relationships can be complicated, especially when it comes to extended family like cousins. Keeping track of who’s who in your family tree is challenging. That’s where a cousin chart comes in handy. A cousin chart provides a visual diagram of how your cousins are related to you and each other.

    Mapping out these connections makes it easy to see at a glance how cousins fit into your family structure. In this article, we’ll look at different types of cousin relationships, how cousin charts work, and how to make your own chart. To help you get organized, we’ve included a link to download and print a free custom cousin relationship chart PDF template. Read on to finally make sense of cousin ties.

    What Is a Cousin?

    Cousin Chart
    Cousin Chart

    A cousin is a family relative with whom you share a common ancestor, typically a grandparent. Your cousins are the children of your aunts and uncles. More specifically, cousins are related to you through blood ties on at least one side of your family.

    The children of your father’s siblings are your paternal cousins, while the children of your mother’s siblings are your maternal cousins. The degree of cousin relationship depends on how many generations separate you from your common ancestor. Understanding the different levels of cousins is key to mapping out your extended family connections.

    Cousin Chart Templates

    A Cousin Chart pdf is a visual diagram outlining familial relations and describing how relatives are connected within a family tree. This type of chart clearly maps out the specific relationships between cousins by depicting a standard family pedigree with different levels of cousins branched out. It provides clarification on cousin types such as first cousins, second cousins, once removed cousins, etc.

    The pdf cousin chart has family titles on the left side including grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Horizontal lines extend from each family title to the right, connecting the different generations. The cousins are shown intersecting these generational lines, with their cousin type and relationship described. For example, your parent’s sibling’s child would be your first cousin.

    This cousin relationship pdf chart simplifies the extended family connections that can be confusing to figure out. It’s an excellent reference tool for anyone researching genealogy or who wants to understand exactly how they are related to cousins at various genetic distances. The pdf can be easily saved, downloaded and printed for quick access anytime you need clarification on how extended families fit together.

    What Is a Cousin Chart?

    A cousin chart is a visual diagram that maps out extended family relationships between cousins. It shows how you are related to each of your cousins by depicting family members in a tree structure. Your grandparents form the top branches, with lines descending down to your aunts/uncles and then to your cousins. Cousins are grouped together by aunt/uncle. Charts typically use symbols like squares and circles to indicate male and female. The different levels of cousins are labeled to clarify which line of grandparents you share. Cousin charts provide an organized, easy-to-read reference for keeping track of your connections within the extended family tree.

    Basic Terminology: Understanding the Cousin Chart

    Family relationships can be intricate and sometimes confusing. Terms like “first cousin,” “second cousin,” “removed,” and different types of siblings often leave people scratching their heads. Understanding these terms helps not only in genealogical research but also in everyday social interactions. Below is a detailed explanation of these familial terms, complete with examples.

    First Cousin, Second Cousin, etc.

    First Cousin

    Definition: Your first cousins are the children of your aunts and uncles on either your mother’s or father’s side. You share one set of grandparents with your first cousins.

    Example: Imagine your mother has a sister, and that sister has a child named Sarah. Sarah would be your first cousin, as you both share the same grandparents (your mother’s parents).

    Second Cousin

    Definition: Your second cousins are the children of your parent’s first cousins. You share great-grandparents with your second cousins but do not have the same grandparents.

    Example: If your mother’s first cousin has a child named Tim, then Tim is your second cousin. You both share the same great-grandparents but not the same grandparents.

    ‘Removed’ Cousins Explained

    First Cousin Once Removed

    Definition: A first cousin once removed could be either your first cousin’s child or your parent’s first cousin. The term “once removed” indicates a one-generation difference.

    Example: If Sarah (your first cousin) has a child named Emily, then Emily is your first cousin once removed. Alternatively, if your grandparent has a sibling who has a child, that child would also be your first cousin once removed.

    Second Cousin Once Removed

    Definition: A second cousin once removed is either your second cousin’s child or your parent’s second cousin. Again, the “once removed” signifies a one-generation gap.

    Example: If Tim (your second cousin) has a child named Mark, Mark would be your second cousin once removed.

    Siblings, Half-Siblings, and Stepsiblings


    Definition: Siblings are children who share both biological parents.

    Example: If you and your sister Emily have the same biological mother and father, you are siblings.


    Definition: Half-siblings share one biological parent but not the other. They could share the same mother but have different fathers, or vice versa.

    Example: If you and your brother Tim share the same biological mother but have different fathers, you are half-siblings.


    Definition: Stepsiblings are not biologically related but become siblings due to the marriage of one of their biological parents to the other’s biological parent.

    Example: If your mother remarries and your stepfather has a daughter from a previous marriage named Sarah, then you and Sarah become stepsiblings, despite not sharing any biological parents.

    Reading a Cousin Chart: A Guide to Understanding Familial Relationships

    Navigating familial relationships can sometimes feel like a labyrinth. A cousin chart serves as a helpful tool to demystify the complexities of cousin relationships, half-siblings, stepsiblings, and various other connections. To use a cousin chart effectively, you need to understand its structure, which involves horizontal rows, vertical columns, and intersection points. Here’s a breakdown of what these components mean and how to interpret them.

    Horizontal Rows

    What They Represent:

    In a cousin chart, horizontal rows often represent generations within a family. The first row usually starts with you, the point of reference. Subsequent rows include your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on.

    How to Read:

    Moving horizontally from left to right, you’ll typically find siblings, then first cousins, then second cousins, etc., within the same generation. These labels clarify your direct relationship with individuals in the same row.


    If you find yourself in the first row and move right, the person labeled as “First Cousin” in the same row would be the child of one of your aunts or uncles. You share one set of grandparents with this person.

    Vertical Columns

    What They Represent:

    Vertical columns in a cousin chart indicate different branches of the family, often differentiated by degrees of “removal” and types of cousins (first, second, third, etc.).

    How to Read:

    As you move down a column, you navigate through different generations of a specific familial relationship. For example, if you start with a first cousin in one column and move downward, you’ll find the first cousin’s child, who would be your first cousin once removed.


    If you look at the column under “First Cousin,” moving downward will show you your first cousin once removed, then twice removed, etc. These are either the children of your first cousins or people who are one or more generations above you but share the same set of grandparents or great-grandparents.

    Intersection Points

    What They Represent:

    The intersection points on a cousin chart provide the key information about your relationship to another family member. They connect a horizontal row (representing your generational level) with a vertical column (indicating the type of cousin or degree of “removal”).

    How to Read:

    Find your position on the horizontal row, then trace it vertically to intersect with the column representing the type of cousin or relationship you want to identify. The intersection point will tell you exactly what your relationship is with that family member.


    If you are in the first row (representing your generation) and you intersect with a column labeled “Second Cousin,” the point where these meet will indicate who your second cousins are. These would be the children of your parents’ first cousins, and you share great-grandparents with them.

    Types of Cousin Charts

    Understanding family relationships can often be a complex endeavor. Cousin charts come in handy to demystify these familial complexities, making it easier to comprehend how everyone is connected. While the basic purpose of all cousin charts is the same, they can be presented in various formats, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’ll explore three main types of cousin charts: Standard Chart, Circular Chart, and Tree-Style Chart.

    Standard Chart

    What It Is:

    The Standard Chart is perhaps the most straightforward of cousin charts. It usually appears as a grid, with horizontal rows and vertical columns used to identify relationships.


    • Easy to read and understand.
    • Ideal for straightforward genealogical tracking.
    • Well-suited for printing and sharing in a physical format.


    • Can get cluttered and confusing when the family structure is complex.
    • May require multiple pages or a large format to accommodate all relatives.

    When to Use:

    The Standard Chart is best used for simpler family structures or when you’re focusing on understanding the basics of cousin relationships. It’s also great for educational purposes or as a quick reference guide.

    Circular Chart

    What It Is:

    In a Circular Chart, family relationships are represented in a circular format, often with you at the center and other family members radiating outward in concentric circles.


    • Visually appealing and often easier to read for complex family structures.
    • A great way to show interconnectedness between different branches of a family.
    • Saves space compared to standard grid charts.


    • May be harder to produce or update, often requiring specialized software.
    • Can become difficult to read if too many generations are included.

    When to Use:

    A Circular Chart is particularly useful when you’re looking to display complex relationships in a more visual and less linear manner. It’s excellent for showing how different branches of a family intersect and relate to one another.

    Tree-Style Chart

    What It Is:

    The Tree-Style Chart uses a tree structure to represent family relationships, with ancestors branching out into descendants. This style is commonly seen in traditional genealogical research.


    • Ideal for tracing lineage and ancestry.
    • Natural visualization of generational progressions.
    • Great for focusing on direct lineages, such as tracing back through only the maternal or paternal line.


    • Can get cumbersome for large, sprawling families.
    • Generally not the best for understanding lateral relationships like cousins, aunts, and uncles.

    When to Use:

    Tree-Style Charts are particularly helpful when you’re interested in vertical relationships, such as those between parents and children or between you and your direct ancestors. They’re often used in historical or academic genealogy.

    How to Create Your Own Cousin Chart

    Creating a cousin chart can be an interesting and fun way to map out your family connections. You can make it simple or detailed depending on your needs, but the essential concept remains the same: to illustrate how different people in your family are related to you and each other. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create your own cousin chart.

    Step 1: Gather Information About Your Family

    Before you can create a chart, you’ll need information about your family tree. Gather names, dates, and relationships among family members. You may have some of this information already, or you might need to do some research. You can use family records, interviews with relatives, and online genealogy resources to collect this information. Make sure to note the generations clearly (e.g., grandparents, parents, siblings, cousins) and the connections between individuals (e.g., who is married to whom, who are siblings).

    Step 2: Decide on the Format

    You have several options for the format of your cousin chart. You could create a simple hand-drawn tree on paper, use a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel, or use specialized genealogy software. The format you choose will depend on the level of complexity you’re comfortable with and the tools you have at your disposal. For instance, if your family is quite large and spans many generations, software might be easier to manage.

    Step 3: Create a Starting Point

    Begin by creating a place for yourself on the chart. This is usually done by putting your name at the base or center of the chart. From there, build upwards (or outwards) to add your parents, grandparents, and so on. For example, place your parents above or beside your name, and then add your grandparents above your parents. Make sure to clearly label each generation.

    Step 4: Add Siblings and Direct Relatives

    After setting up your immediate ancestors, you can begin to add siblings, aunts, uncles, and direct cousins. Place siblings next to each other and connect them to their parents. Likewise, aunts and uncles should be placed next to your parents and connected to your grandparents. Once this is done, you can add your first cousins next to your aunts and uncles, connecting them appropriately.

    Step 5: Distinguish Different Types of Cousins

    Now comes the more complex part—adding various types of cousins (like second cousins, first cousins once removed, etc.). The key to understanding these relationships is to focus on common ancestors. First cousins share grandparents, second cousins share great-grandparents, and so on. “Removed” refers to generational differences. For example, your first cousin’s child would be your “first cousin once removed.” Clearly label these different types of cousins on your chart.

    Step 6: Review and Verify

    Once you’ve added as many relatives as you can, take a step back and review the chart for accuracy. You may need to consult with family members or genealogical records to confirm relationships and spellings of names. Make any corrections as necessary.

    Step 7: Share and Update

    Share your cousin chart with family members, either in digital format or in print. Family gatherings and reunions are great occasions to bring your chart and discuss it with others. Keep in mind that families grow and change, so make it a living document that you update as new family members are born or other significant events occur.


    With its web of intricate connections, your extended family can be hard to map out. Making a cousin chart provides you with a handy visual reference to clarify these relationships. Having an organized diagram makes it easy to explain cousin ties to others as well. Whether you need a chart for your own use or to display at a family reunion, the templates in this article will allow you to customize your own chart easily.

    We’ve included free printable cousin charts in various formats like Word, PDF, and PowerPoint that you can download, edit, and print. Visualizing your family connections on a chart makes grasping even complex cousin relationships simple and straightforward. Keep the chart on hand for a quick way to understand your family origins and bonds whenever questions arise.


    Why is it Useful to Create a Cousin Chart?

    Cousin charts are helpful for several reasons. They can serve as an educational tool to help family members understand how they are related. Cousin charts can also be valuable for genealogical research, tracing inheritance, or medical history tracking. Additionally, they can serve as keepsakes to pass down through generations.

    What Information Do I Need to Create a Cousin Chart?

    To create a cousin chart, you’ll need information on family members spanning multiple generations. This includes names, generational labels (like “grandparent,” “parent,” “sibling,” “cousin”), and how each individual is related to the others (who are siblings, who are parents of whom, etc.).

    How Do I Differentiate Between Different Types of Cousins?

    Different types of cousins are categorized based on their closest common ancestor. First cousins share grandparents, second cousins share great-grandparents, and so on. “Removed” cousins have a generational difference, indicated by the term “once removed,” “twice removed,” etc.

    Can I Create a Cousin Chart Digitally?

    Yes, you can create a digital cousin chart using various software tools designed for genealogy, or even general-purpose software like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Some specialized genealogy software also offers the option to create detailed and extensive family trees, which can include cousin charts.

    How Accurate is a Cousin Chart?

    The accuracy of a cousin chart depends on the quality and completeness of the information used to create it. Errors in family records, or incomplete information, can lead to inaccuracies. It’s a good idea to double-check the information with multiple sources whenever possible.

    Can a Cousin Chart Help with DNA Testing Interpretation?

    Yes, a cousin chart can be a valuable resource when interpreting the results of DNA tests for ancestry or genealogy purposes. It can help you understand how closely you’re related to DNA matches by providing a visual representation of familial relationships.

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    Betina Jessen

    Betina Jessen

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