A Relationship Chart by Betty Eichhorn

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

In the recent comments to earlier newsletter articles, several readers suggested that one or more relationship charts may be difficult to read. Betty Eichhorn suggested to me that she has an easier-to-read chart that is also accompanied by a description of relationships.

After looking at her chart and the accompanying description, I agree. Betty’s chart is easier to read and understand. Betty has graciously agreed to share her two page chart and description with everyone.

To view Betty Eichhorn’s relationship chart and explanation as a PDF file, click here.

To view the same chart but without the explanation as a JPG file, click here.

Thanks Betty!



The older I get, the simpler I want complicated things like this to be shown: i.e., I love it that my RootsMagic software shows the closest relationship to me (or to whomever I set it up to be shown–and this can change whenever I want in a couple of mouse clicks) in the lower left-hand corner of the family and pedigree screens through the Tools > Set Relationships tool. Any other relationships that may also occur are simple to find through the Tools > Relationship Calculator tool. ‘Works for me!


    Agreed – I love RootsMagic (RM) Set Relationships and Relationship Calculator. RM also has a Kinship List under Reports/Lists that shows your or anybody you chose relationship to many others in your database including spouses, in-laws etc. If you have a large database as I do, you have LOTS of relationships, pages and pages. RM makes me lazy by showing my relationships rather than my trying to figure them out myself.


If Betty is reading this, please would she allow a UK family history society to link to her excellent chart and understandable explanation? Credited to her of course. 🙂


Excellent piece of work. Though a couple of comments:
“The siblings of YOUR grandparents are your granduncle or grandaunt, not great uncle nor great aunt” – this is very variable. I’d never seen the term grand-aunt before I started genealogy, when I came across it in Scotland. However, it appears to be used in some English families as well. My personal view is that in England at least, the term is usually great-aunt. (Which is a shame because grand-aunt, great-grand-aunt, etc, would match grand-parent, great-grand-parent, etc!)
“There is no such thing as a half-cousin” – no. Read the Oxford English Dictionary. Yes, Black’s Law Dictionary omits it – but that’s a legal dictionary. The OED refers to the language as a whole and it’s in there.
Fundamentally, we all need to be alert to nuances of naming – her point that “An “aunt” may actually be a grandaunt…” is well made – in fact, “Aunt” may not even be a relative. Older family friends were often referred to as Aunt and Uncle in 1950s England, even when not related. And “son-in-law” originally (also?) referred to “step-son” – there is a letter from Admiral Nelson referring to his son-in-law who was actually his (in today’s terms) step-son.


Thanks, for this chart. It is easier to understand. I finally got a handle on yesterday’s chart, but I like this one better.


Thanks for Betty Eichhorn’s Relationship Chart. It is terrific!


I know Betty. She is a long time member of our local genealogical society. She is a great researcher, and in fact, teaches a beginning genealogy course once a year to our members. Betty has helped me with my own family’s research. She is always willing to share her knowledge. Thanks to Betty for sharing this relationship chart.


I need to ask a stupid question, maybe two:
1) How does one use this chart? As a model you use to recreate on an Excel sheet, Word table or genealogy software?
2) There’s only one place for a sibling. How do you add siblings (or other relatives)?
I think #2 is actually because I don’t understand #1, don’t know how to use this chart. I’d really like to because I have a slew of second cousins in another country and have trouble forming a mental picture of it all when I visit.
Thank you in advance for any light anyone can shed on Q.1.


    —> There’s only one place for a sibling. How do you add siblings (or other relatives)?

    You don’t.

    A Relationship Chart is designed to show the relationship between only two individuals. If you want to add more individuals to the chart, you need a different chart.

    I suspect it would be simple to add one, possibly two, more individuals. However, if you want to show a slew of many cousins, I suspect it would be a rather complex chart. That probably is not impossible, but not simple either.


    Thank you, Dick. Obviously I know zip about how to organize my research results. I have all the pieces of paper, notes, etc. but have never managed to sit down and organize it all. It’s paid off, though, in dual citizenship and growing relationships.


Thank you for sharing the chart, Betty. And Dick for inspiring me to link the chart to my family Facebook page.


Children of half-siblings ARE half-cousins to each other. The statement that there is no such thing as half-cousins is incorrect. Full cousins have a common ancestral COUPLE. Half-cousins have a common ancestor INDIVIDUAL by different spouses.


Two things, first: LOVE, LOVE THE CHART. Thank you both.
Second, I have a paternal half-sister whose children are my half-niece and half-nephew and ergo half-cousins to my children. In the family there is no delineation, she’s my sister, but outside the family unit she is referred to as my paternal half-sister. This way there is no mix-up about my Mother being hers.


Reblogged this on GENCOM, Genealogical Computer Society of North Louisiana – Located in Shreveport, Louisiana and commented:
A different easier to read relationship chart with explanation from Betty Eichhorn and Dick Eastman. Any comments on what you think about this chart?


Excellent,easy to read chart. There are a few of us, however, who have grandparents and their siblings who married sisters, or brothers. This provides double first cousins among our parent cousins. What are the relationships, then, of subsequent generations of those descendants of the double first cousins? Do we need to have another chart to show this?


Re: Ducklady
January 21, 2015 at 9:20 am
Thank you, Dick. Obviously I know zip about how to organize my research results. I have all the pieces of paper, notes, etc. but have never managed to sit down and organize it all. It’s paid off, though, in dual citizenship and growing relationships.

Ducklady, I recommend you immediately get a genealogy program like Legacy, so you can print pedigree charts, books, relationship charts, etc. It is far easier to “see” relationships by printing them out than trying to visualize them. It also helps when doing DNA research to check for “cousin” relationships that go back 11 generations and come back down 11 more, etc. I remember one member of our genealogy group in Orlando FL who said he had put two? file cabinets worth of research into his computer and thrown out all the contents of the file cabinets. I do not recommend getting rid of all your ” pieces of paper, notes, etc”. But you can scan things and add them to the program that way.



    Yes, it’s one of those “I’ve been meaning to” projects. I’m a very visual person so I think a chart will help greatly. I’ve been thinking of doing a DNA thing but have no idea which one might be best. I actually sent in to 23 and Me, got the little tubes the week FDA shut them down. How ironic. Now they’ve started up in the UK. I’m moving to Europe in the spring, but not to the UK. More irony.


    Ducklady, FamilyTreeDNA.com appears to be the best for genealogy purposes.


    Thank you. I’ll have to go look it up.


Betty, Thanks for your charts. I suggest the file name when saved for the pdf version should be “Relationship_Chart and Explanation by Betty Eichhorn.pdf”

Another “relationship” that could be included in your explanations is that in some places and times, Jr. and Sr. may not be related. Both people may have the same name, but Sr. is just older than Jr. It gets messy when we find multiple people in the same time and same place, and all the data we have are names.



Nice chart! It does look awesome and really does lay out the fundamentals.


It can get confusing. At a party my Grandfather Niels Bang could introduce you to his half brother Preben Lind and his half sister Magrethe Bang, but Preben and Magrethe are not related to each other.


Unfortunately, there are numerous errors in this chart. Please see other sources for more credible information.
Betty claims there is no such thing as half-cousins for instance. Half-cousins are the children of two half-siblings.
This document should be pulled and flagged as bad information.

Liked by 1 person

    —> Half-cousins are the children of two half-siblings.

    Black’s Law Dictionary (the standard reference used by attorneys and judges in the USA), several churches, and numerous other authorities will disagree with you. See my earlier article, Is There Any Such Thing as a Half-Cousin?, at https://blog.eogn.com/2015/01/21/is-there-any-such-thing-as-a-half-cousin/ for further information.

    Lots of families will say they have half cousins, but the lawyers and the people who write dictionaries will disagree. The relationship chart by Betty Eichorn uses the dictionary definitions, not the commonly-used but unofficial use by various families.


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