The "removed" means that there is a generation between you and whom ever you are refeering to. As in my cousin once removed means that the person is a cousin but is one generation younger or older that you. Twice removed would be 2 generations etc..
It refers to the distance two people from a common ancestor. Removals are used when two people are not in the same generation.
Take my husband and his 4th cousin. (Please .... :D ) To calculate how they are related, first you need to identify their common ancestor. They share the same great-great-great-grandparents. The easiest way to calculate it is to count the number of greats and add 1. So three greats plus 1 makes 4th cousins. If the number of greats were different, say for one it was a 3rd great grandparent and one it was a 4th, the difference would be the removal. So my daughter then, would be a fourth cousin, once removed.
Have you ever gotten your first cousins twice removed confused with your second cousins once removed? Well, you're not the only one. This chart attempts to explain the relationships that exist between cousins. It may be extended in either direction for as many generations as is necessary.
parents child g-child gg-child ggg-child gggg-child
aunt first cousin first cousin once removed first cousin twice removed first cousin thrice removed
g-aunt first cousin once removed second cousin second cousin once removed second cousin twice removed
gg-aunt first cousin twice removed second cousin once removed third cousin third cousin once removed
ggg-aunt first cousin thrice removed second cousin twice removed third cousin once removed fourth cousin
The parents represent the common ancestors you have with your relative. Count across the top row until you reach your generation. Now count down this column until you reach your relative's generation. This gives you your relationship to your relative. If you have only one common ancestor with your relative (perhaps this ancestor had multiple marriages), then the same chart applies but the relationships are half blood instead of full blood.
In general, the person in the first row is the ***** of the person in the first column where ***** stands for the appropriate table entry, eg. sister, uncle, second cousin, etc.
Suppose I want to find out my relationship to the son of my grandmother's brother. Then the common ancestors that we share are my great-grandparents which are his grandparents. (I am assuming a full blood relationship). Therefore, reading from the chart we find that
parents child g-child ME
aunt first cousin FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED
I am the first cousin once removed of this relative!
Well Lisa I think once removed ... twice removed means to do away with. And probably means maybe or most likely. And no you don't sound silly. You would be surprised at how many people don't under stand the word thay use or the text thay use them in.