Saturday, February 15, 2014

Great Uncles or Grand Uncles?

by Pa Rock
Family Researcher

I read a piece in today's UK Daily Mail about the grandfather of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall (Prince Charles' wife), and his three brothers.   Harry, Alick, and Hugh Cubitt were all killed in the trenches of the Western Front in World War I, leaving only the youngest, Rolle, who was "raring to go."  But, a' la Saving Private Ryan, an order came down at the last minute blocking the boy's entry into war.  Later Rolle and his wife had a daughter who went on to become Camilla's mother.

Apparently Rolle, a Sandhurst cadet and graduate, held a lifetime resentment over being denied the opportunity to fight in the war - and he never found out who issued to order to keep him at home.

The thing that particularly caught my interest in this story was a term used to describe the three young men who were brothers of Camilla's maternal grandfather.  The person who wrote the article referred to them as "great uncles" of the Duchess of Cornwall.    Though that usage is by far the most common, the correct descriptor would have been "grand uncles."   A grand uncle is a brother to a person's grandfather.   Also, it logically follows that the brother of a person's great-grandfather is a great-grand uncle - and so forth on up the line.  (And it works the same way for aunts!)

Okay, it's a fairly useless bit of information , but, as an amateur family researcher of many years standing, I have developed an idiosyncrasy for properly labeling every nut that dangles from the family tree.  I can also identify third cousins four times removed - and I can clearly show my children how they are first cousins of Benjamin Franklin - eleven times removed.

But - it's all relative!

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

Suddenly I am reminded of algebra.