Understanding the concept
Developing your Family Tree
A new generation
All of your siblings and cousins form one generation. Your parents and their siblings form the next generation. Your grandparents and their siblings make up a third. The top level of the family tree is the first generation, followed by their children (second generation) and so on, assigning each successive generation a higher number - third, fourth, fifth.
To describe someone from a generation that came before that of your grandparents, simply add the word 'great' to their title. Thus the mother and father of your grandparents are your 'great' grandmother and 'great' grandfather - and their parents are your 'great great' grandmother and 'great great' grandfather. Each time you move back another generation, simply add another 'great'.
The siblings of your grandparents are known as 'great' aunts or 'great' uncles. It would be simpler if they were called 'grand' aunts and uncles, to make it clear they are not the same generation as your 'great' grandparents - but you probably know these names anyway, without having to think too hard about it.
The term uncle or aunt has often been used, and sometimes still is, to describe someone who is not related by blood or marriage, but is perhaps a close family friend - and it is important to remember that these terms are not always used accurately.
Even official documents, such as wills, may describe people as cousins or brothers when they are no such thing - in fact they may be half-brothers or related solely through marriage, rather than blood. So care is needed when thinking about what the genuine relationships are when drawing up your family tree.