What is a Step Cousin?

Marc McDermott
First Published: | Updated: April 2, 2024

Welcome to another exciting genealogical chapter, and a fascinating one at that as we look into all things step-cousins. But what is a step-cousin, and how are they related to us?

Well, a step-cousin is either a stepchild of someone’s aunt or uncle. They are the niece and nephew of your step-parent or the children of one parent’s stepbrother or sister. Confused yet? Well, you don’t have to be. We’re going to take a closer look at step-cousins, to shed some light on your family tree.

Are step-cousins related?

No, they are not in the eyes of civil law and are not blood relatives. People can become step-cousins when one’s grandparents had offspring, divorces, remarried, and when the new partner entering the family already has children of their own. When these are “cousins” they are not blood-related and are called step-cousins.

From a legal viewpoint, it is acceptable that step-cousins may marry, and not completely unheard of. 

What do you call a step step-cousin?

Any stepfamily occurs when one parent has a child that is not biologically related to them but related to their spouse. A step-cousin entering the family means an uncle or aunt has remarried and their new spouse has children from a different relationship. 

These children become your step-cousin. If they were to have children, they would become your step-step-cousin. 

Are second cousins and step cousins related?

No. Step cousins are not related to anyone in your family besides their immediate relatives. This is usually their siblings and the parents that married into your family tree. 

For example, if your uncle remarries and his new wife has a child from a previous relationship. The child’s immediate relations that appear in your family tree are their siblings (and these too are step-cousins of yours), and the parent (in this case their mother who married your uncle).

Is a step-cousin a blood relative? 

No, the term “step” does not usually refer to someone who shares the same DNA as you. A step-cousin is not a blood relation, instead, they are entered into the family usually via marriage, in this case, often of their parents. 

Step-cousin is not an official relationship according to civil law. Instead, it is an easier way of describing someone who has become this type of cousin.

The word “step” may be too much of a stretch for some people to use when describing a cousin who has entered their family. However, it is the easiest way to describe their relationship to your side of the family. 

Final Word

Many extended relatives that go beyond the usual cousins and even siblings are called cousins. When it comes to genealogy, it is useful to save step-cousins to describe them. Many close friends of the family are often called uncles and aunts, sometimes even cousins. Even when they have no shared DNA and aren’t even related to the family via marriage, the family can use it endearingly.

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