What is a Third Cousin?

You probably have a good idea of who your first and second cousins are. However, what about your third cousins’ children? If you’re unsure, don’t worry – you’re not alone. 

Many people are confused about the difference between their second and third cousins. 

You may have even overheard people refer to their third cousins as their “long-lost cousins.” But, what exactly does it mean to be someone’s third cousin? 

Many people are under the impression that they already know the response to this question, even though it’s possible that they don’t. 

This article will provide you with all the information you require regarding third cousins.

So…What exactly is a third cousin?

Someone who shares a great-great-grandparent with you is considered your third cousin. This is because you share a common ancestor with one of their great-grandparents, which allows you to communicate with them. 

Because third cousins are so distant, you and your third cousins probably won’t have much in common. 

On the other hand, you may have some of the same physical characteristics, given that you have a common great-great-grandparent. 

For instance, you and your third cousin might share the same eye or hair color once removed. So even though you might not be particularly close to your third cousin, it’s still nice to know that you’re connected to someone living in a different part of the world. 

You’re already ahead of the game, considering most people don’t know who their third cousins are; congratulations!

5 Ways to find your third cousins

1: Ask your parents

Parents are the most reliable sources of information regarding the family’s history. They can regale you with stories about their parents and grandparents, and it is possible that they even have photographs or other relics of their family that they can show you. 

If you are looking for third cousins, you should ask your parents if they know of any cousins who lived in the area when they were younger and if they know any third cousins. 

In addition, you should ask your parents if they know of any third cousins who still live there. 

In addition, they may be aware of any marriages or other relationships that have taken place between your second cousins and third cousins. 

These marriages or relationships may have occurred in the past. In addition, your parents may be aware of distant relatives who would be willing to help you in your search and could put you in touch with them if they do know of anyone who fits this description.

2: Ask your grandparents

Your grandparents are an excellent place to begin looking for third cousins if that is something you are interested in doing. 

They may be willing and able to share any memories of their grandparents, and you may ask them about those memories. 

This may provide you with some hints about where your ancestors originally hailed. They might also be able to provide you with information regarding any third cousins that they are aware of. 

In addition, your grandparents will be able to provide you with copies of important family documents such as marriage licenses and birth certificates. 

Using these documents, you should be able to locate your third cousins more easily. Finally, your grandparents may be able to put you in touch with other members of your family who will be able to help you in your search.

3: Use an online genealogy tool like Ancestry.com

Although many people are content with their knowledge of only their immediate family, others are interested in learning more about their extended family. 

Finding out information about your family’s past is currently more convenient than ever, thanks to the proliferation of the internet. 

Utilizing an online genealogy tool such as Ancestry.com is one method you can use to locate your third cousins. You can gain access to a database that contains billions of records simply by entering your name and any other pertinent information. 

This may include certificates of birth and death, licenses to marry, and immigration documents. 

These records can provide you with the fundamental details about your ancestors, but they can also shed light on where they originated from and what their lives were like at the time.

4: Use a family tree software program like Family Tree Maker

Utilizing a family tree software program such as Family Tree Maker is among the most effective ways to locate distant relatives such as third cousins. 

You can search their database for matches after entering information about your ancestors into a program of this type, which gives you the ability to do so. 

You may not only be able to find your third cousins, but you may also be able to find other distant relatives who can assist you in completing your family tree by filling in the missing information. 

You can easily broaden your understanding of your family’s history and connect with relatives you were unaware existed with just a little bit of effort. 

A family tree software program is an invaluable resource if you are serious about tracing your ancestry and finding your third cousins.

5: Contact a professional genealogist

One of the options available to you when searching for your third cousin is to get in touch with an experienced genealogist

Genealogists are experts in researching family histories, and as such, they can frequently assist individuals in locating long-lost relatives they were previously unaware even existed. 

They may also be able to look through private documents, conduct interviews with family members, and search through public records. 

Although paying for the services of a genealogist may be pricey, doing so may prove to be an extremely efficient way to track down long-lost relatives. 

If you are serious about tracking down your third cousins, talking to a genealogist who works professionally may be the best course of action for you to take.

Why is it important to find your third cousins?

Finding your third cousins may be something you are interested in doing for various reasons. They can supply you with the necessary information regarding your family history to get things started. 

In addition to this, they may be able to assist you in completing missing branches on your family tree. 

Additionally, third cousins can be an excellent source of support and friendship, particularly if you and they have many of the same interests. 

Lastly, locating your third cousins can assist you in experiencing a greater sense of belonging within your extended family. 

Finding your third cousins can be a rewarding experience, including the desire to gain further insight into your family’s history or contact more distant relatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a first cousin and a third cousin?

First cousins are the type of cousins that come to mind for most people when they think of cousins. 

The children of your aunts and uncles are who you refer to as your first cousins. On the other hand, it’s possible that you also have second or third cousins. 

The children of your first cousins are considered your second cousins, while the children of your second cousins are considered your third cousins. 

Do third cousins inherit property from each other?

While third cousins may share a common ancestor, they are not considered blood relatives. This means that, in most cases, they will not inherit property from each other. 

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. First, if the cousins are named in each other’s wills, then they may be able to inherit property. 

Second, if the same family adopts the cousins, they may be considered blood relatives and can inherit property from each other. 

What happens when there is no will for third cousins

If a person passes away in the United States without leaving a will, the property they owned will be distributed following the state’s laws in which they resided. This indicates that their belongings will be distributed among their immediate family members. 

It is common practice not to include third cousins in this distribution because people generally believe third cousins are too distant to be considered immediate family. 

However, depending on the circumstances, third cousins may be able to inherit property if there are no other living relatives left to claim it. This type of succession, known as intestate succession, can be a complicated process to navigate.


Now that you know more about what a third cousin is, it’s time to search for your third cousin. With a little bit of effort, you should be able to locate them with ease. 

Once you’ve found them, take the time to know them better. You may be surprised at how much you have in common. 

If you’re interested in learning more about your family history, they may also be able to provide you with valuable information. No matter what your reasons for wanting to find your third cousins are, the process can be a rewarding one.

bryan rucker
Written by Brian Jackson

Brian is an expert in genealogy and family history tracing. He has traced his own family history for several generations and continues to trace as far back as he can. He writes guides to share his experience. Read more of Brian's articles.