Fun Fact! Did you know that July 19, 2017 was declared Rebecca Nurse Day in Massachusetts?
Photograph courtesy of Dianna Estee Emerson
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
What Is a "Second Cousin Once Removed?"
"A term often found in genealogy is "removed," specifically when referring to family relationships. Indeed, almost everyone has heard of a "second cousin once removed," but many people cannot explain that relationship. Of course, a person might be more than once removed, as in third cousin, four times removed.
In short, the definition of cousins is two people who share a common ancestor. Here are a few definitions of cousin relationships:
First Cousin: Your first cousins are the people in your family who have at least one of the same grandparents as you. In other words, they are the children of your aunts and uncles.
Second Cousin: Your second cousins are the people in your family who share the same great-grandparent with you.
Third, Fourth, and Fifth Cousins: Your third cousins share at least one great-great-grandparent, fourth cousins share a great-great-great-grandparent, and so on.
Removed: When the word "removed" is used to describe a relationship, it indicates that the two people are from different generations. "Once removed" indicates a difference of one generation, "twice removed" indicates a difference of two generations, and so forth.
For example, the child of your first cousin is your first cousin, once removed. That is, your cousin's child would be "almost" your first cousin, except that he or she is one generation removed from that relationship. Likewise, the grandchild of your first cousin is your first cousin, twice removed (two generations removed from being a first cousin).
Many people confuse the term "first cousin, once removed" with "second cousin." The two are not the same.
Keep in mind that you and a relative only need to share one grandparent to be first cousins, or share one great-grandparent to be second cousins, etc. If the ancestor in question had more than one spouse and the two of you are descended from different spouses, you are full cousins. There is no such thing as a "half cousin" although you will hear people use that term occasionally...."
Susannah Towne and Thomas Hayward - Clarification
We frequently get questions on the website about Susannah Towne who was married to Thomas Hayward. The daughter of William and Joanna Towne was Susan who was baptized on October 26, 1625 at St. Nicholas Church, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, and died in Great Yarmouth on July 29, 1630 before the family emigrated to America.
Lois Hoover, on page 5 of her book, Towne Family:Five Generations of Descendants, clears up the confusion between Susan and Susannah:
Many have identified Susan as Susannah, wife of Thomas Hayward. In New England Marriages Prior to 1700, Clarence Almon Torrey suggests the wife of Thomas Hayward was the Aunt of Peter Towne of Charlestown. This was based on Peter identifying Susannah Hayward's children as cousins in his will; however, Torrey places the name Towne in brackets [-], indicating this claim is not proved. Susannah, wife of Thomas hayward, was born at least 20 years before Susan, based on the ship logs when the Hayward family came to New England.
We have no further information about this family.
If TFA members have any genealogy questions, please submit them to us. We will be posting common questions and answers as we receive them.
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PLEASE NOTE: The information in our database is provided as a member service and is for the exclusive use of TFA members. While vital records are open to the public, member stories, photographs and the like are not without written permission from TFA and the member who submitted the information.
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Please direct inquiries to TFA genealogist Elizabeth Hanahan
Photograph courtesy of Isaac Cummings Family Association
Did your ancestors live in Boxford, Massachusetts? If you live in the area, Robin Siegel, the archivist for the Boxford Historic Document Center, would like you to visit the center, which is now open at 173A Washington Street in Boxford on Wednesdays and the first two Saturdays of the month. (Call first since schedule is subject to change: 978-352-2733.) If you are unable to go in person, visit the website at https://www.boxfordhistory.org/ or contact Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.