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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...."
(Source: Excerpts from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, copyrighted and posted here with the permission of the author, Richard W. Eastman)
Click this link for more from this article and others on interesting genealogy topics, available free, at
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.
If TFA members have any genealogy questions, please submit them to us. We will be posting common questions and answers as we receive them.
Towne Cemetery in Londonderry, NH
Photography courtesy of
Heather Wilkinson Rojo
The Boyd and Towne Families of Londonderry, New Hampshire
(Source: Excerpts from the Nutfield Genealogy blog of Heather Wilkinson Rojo by Elizabeth Hanahan)
A few years ago two portraits were donated by a descendant to the Londonderry Leach Library, and their story was printed in the Derry News. They were primitive style paintings of Robert W. Boyd and his wife, Mary Lund Towne Boyd painted by the itinerant portrait painter, Horace Bundy,in 1851. In the days before photography, it was common to hire these self-taught artists to capture the family on canvas.
Robert Boyd died only one month after sitting for his portrait. The Boyds are buried in the Valley Cemetery on Pillsbury Road in Londonderry.
Robert Boyd and Mary Towne were married on 24 December 1812 in Londonderry, and were descendants of some of the original settlers of Londonderry. The Towne family removed to Londonderry from Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts. Mary was descended from Jacob Towne (William, Jacob, Jacob, Jabez, Jabez, Moses, Mary) .
Mary's parents were Moses Towne and Charlotte Underwood who lived on Boyd Road right next to a small family cemetery at the corner of John Street and Boyd Road in Londonderry.
On page 136 of a small book published by the Londonderry Historical Society in 1962, Early Londonderry, Volume II, it states
The Boyd and Towne Families of Londonderry
...the Towne Home, occupied by Jabez Towne, who lived to be over 90 years of age...across the field on the opposite side of the road, is the "Townes Cemetery" , just beyond the present Jackson place. It is the last resting place of the Towne and Boyd families. Heather adds,
Today, I can no longer see any Boyd grave markers. there appear to be many missing stones, and a third of those still standing are broken. There are eleven legible stones in this cemetery. The oldest stone in the cemetery is that of Moses Towne, who died in 1828. His wife, Charlotte, is also buried there along with a son, John, and a daughter, Charlotte Towne AMBROSE.
To see the 11 headstones remaining, compliments of Heather Rojo, please visit the cemetery link. In addition to the family members named above, you will also find Charlotte Ambrose's husband, David, Betsey and Joseph REED , Sarah and Andrew ROBINSON , Jacob S. LEACH , Rebecca, wife of Cap. Joseph W. GRAMMER , Samuel and Martha DREW , and Susannah TOWNE , daughter of Jabez and Mary Towne .
Shirley Drury Patterson wrote a detailed About Towne article about the son of John Towns , who moved South and was a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. To read that article,which contains extensive genealogical information about several generations of this family, click this link for Volume 27, No. 2. 2007-2 June Vol. XXVII, P.21-40
You will find the article on pages 24-30.
To read the full blog postings, click on the links below:
The Towne Family Burial Ground in Londonderry, Part 1
The Boyd and Towne Families of Londonderry, Part 2
The Boyd Dairy Farm
NOTE: If members have any stories related to any media postings - photos, cemeteries, headstones, etc. that you would like to share here, we can periodically add them, when your new items are posted.
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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.
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Please direct inquiries to the TFA Genealogist,
CHAIRMAN Gail Garda
Associate Genealogist for DNA Project: Margaret Press
Associate Genealogist for English research: Karen Johnsen
Research by Charles Farrow, a professional genealogist, is also funded in England.
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William Towne and Joanna Blessing were married at St. Nicholas Church, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England
Click below for a report of 4 generations of William Towne's family:
William Towne Descendents