TSGS Cruiser Blog

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Shirt-Tail Kin"

Shirt-Tail Kin?

What in the world is "shirt-tail kin?" I "Googled" this term to see what I might learn about it. If your family had close friends for many years & especially over a couple generations, these friends might be dubbed as shirt-tail kin. Maybe it is a distant relative like a fifth or sixth cousin... you just barely know that they are blood relatives. Another example would be those who married into your family (the "in-laws"). We have heard of cousins that were "once-removed" or even "twice-removed" -- these would possibly qualify as shirt-tail cousins.

Speaking of these "removed" cousins, just exactly why were they removed and removed from what? I remember someone telling me about a fourth cousin three times removed! People get removed from voter lists, church rolls, honor groups or the team; but, what are we talking about when we say a "fourth cousin three times removed?" To explain this we have to go back to a common progenitor (the person two people share as the closest related ancestor). Lets use my third great grandfather, Charles H. West who was born in 1775 Chatham County, North Carolina and died in 1845 Christian County, Kentucky. He had at least five sons and several daughters. Two sons were Jesse West (my second great grandfather) & a William Ellis West. Charles H. West is in the first generation in this example with the sons in the second generation as siblings (brothers, in this case). Jesse West named a son William Ellis West after Jesse's brother (the younger William's uncle). Jesse's brother, the "Uncle" William, had a son, James Harlan West. Now, this William Ellis West, the younger and James Harlan West are in the same generation (the third) from Charles H. West and they are first cousins to one another. William Ellis West (the younger) and James Harlan West had sons: John William West & James H. W. West, respectively... that make up the fourth generation from Charles H. West and the two are second cousins with their children being third cousins. Ok, but how does the removed business work? Well, John William West & James Harlan West are in different generations from the common progenitor, Charles H. West. They would be one generation removed from each other. Making John William West & James Harlan West first cousins once removed, since John William's father William Ellis West & James Harlan West are first cousins.

Charles H. West (Common Progenitor)
[First Generation]
Jesse West {Brothers} William Ellis West
[Second Generation]
William Ellis West {1st. Cousins} James Harlan West
[Third Generation]
John William West {2nd. Cousins} James H. W. West
[Fourth Generation]
James Harlan West & John William West are 1st. Cousins, Once Removed
We use the closest "cousinship" to the common progenitor... in this case First Cousin.

Hope this makes sense!
- Submitted by JGWest

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