Single Parent Families. It is projected that 70% of white children born in 1980 will spend at least some time with only one parent before they reach 18. The proportion for black children is 94%. Of the white children born in 1980 about a third of their time will be spent in one parent family; of the black children born that year the average individual will spend 60% of his time in a single parent family.

The family as a distinct unit of study provides an opportunity to jointly examine demographic, economic, sociological and biological variables. The biological characteristics of the individual life cycles, in particular the long stage of immaturity, make it mandatory for individual and societal survival that there be a flow of resources from some other persons in the direction of the infant and child. Every individual is a sequence of net consumption, net production and, again, net consumption. The family is society's way of coping with this fact; it is the agent for transferring resources across generations.

Family demography is concerned with the determinants of the number, size, composition and change in families. Suppose "family" is restricted to a co-resident group in which all members have primary relationships (e.g. husband/wife, parent/child). Then all persons in the population may be classified according to their membership in one or another of the following groups: i)families--consisting of two generations; ii)couples--consisting of one generation (i.e. spouses); and iii)individuals--residual category of those who do not reside with a parent or a child or a spouse.



Family of orientation is the nuclear or composite family into which one is born and in which one is reared--that is, "socialized" or "oriented."

Flaw-O-Matic. John Tierney believes that the reason Manhattan has the highest proportion of households consisting of people living alone is that New Yorkers are afflicted with "Flaw-O-Matic"--an inner voice, a little whirring device inside the brain, that instantly spots a fatal flaw in any potential mate. Examples: "He ordered thousand island dressing. Enough said." "He's my age and still single. I mean come on!" "If she would just lose seven pounds." "Sure, he's a partner but it's not a big firm. And he wears those short black socks." "She's fluent in Japanese and Italian. But her French is worthless." From: John Tierney. Picky, Picky, Picky. New York Times Magazine, Feb. 22, 1995, p22.

Family of procreation is the nuclear or composite family that one helps to establish through marriage.

A basic building block of kinship is the nuclear family or parents and their children. This family necessitates two kinds of kinship relations--conjugal (marital) and consanguine (blood). Generally, the conjugal ties are of a contractual nature and can be broken. The consanguine ties, on the other hand, are a matter of birth and are irrevocable.


Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of the types of sexual networks in a population including bi- and heterosexual and women and men each with multiple partners. The diagram shows the potential for spread of sexually transmitted diseases since sexual contact with any single member of a group is functionally the equivalent of making sexual contact with each member individually.

Marriage is entered by means of a contract but turns into a status. The following conditions must be met for a person to become legally married: i)must be at least 16, not between family members or close relatives (eg. ascendants, descendants; siblings, uncle-niece, aunt-nephew or first cousins); iii)healthy mind and no VD; iv)wait 1 to 10 days.

There are two ways to become married:

  • Formal (ceremonial) Marriage--fulfill requirements of age, health and so forth and obtain a marriage certificate (for solemnization)
  • Common Law Marriage--consummation of a common law marriage is not essential to its validity. Prolonged cohabitation is not criteria. Rather emphasis on (a)proof of the parties' cohabitation; and (b) their holding themselves out to the world as husband and wife. Important distinction between this situation and palimony cases. Marriage is a contract which, by law, holds the parties to various obligations and liabilities. It is an institution that the public is deeply interested since it is the foundation of the family and of society.

    The Marriage Market

    Georgianna and the Marriage Market. "At nineteen and twenty and twenty-one she had thought that all the world was before her. With her commanding figure, regular long features, and bright complexion, she had regarded herself as one of the beauties of the day, and had considered herself entitled to demand wealth and a coronet. At twenty-two, twenty-three and twenty-four any young peer, or peer's eldest son, with a house in town and in the country, might have sufficed. Twenty-five and six had been the years for baronets and squires; and even a leading fashionable lawyer or two had been marked by her as sufficient since that time. But now she was aware that hitherto she had always fixed her price a little too high. On three things she was still determined--that she would not be poor, that she would not be banished from London, and that she would not be an old maid." (Trollope 1951:94).

    Four stages for entering into marriage (after Henry 1972):

    1. Candidacy for marriage--the category of marriageable people includes at any moment all the persons who could marry whether they consciously wish to find a mate or not. Henry (1972) states, "In practice, exposure to marriage is not usually discernible; married people would be unable to say when they became aware that they would marry if the opportunity arose. However, many young people from the time they are nubile casually think of marriage as an event that will take place sometime in the future; but, ten years later, if they are not married, they are highly concerned about whether they will find a wife or a husband."

    2. Joining marriage circles--groups or cliques in which young men and women have a chance to meet and therefore eventually get married.

    3. Formation of couples--takes place in the circle according to rules that vary widely from one model to another. Chance may be subject to certain exclusions on account of, for example: i)religion; ii)height; iii)race.

    4. Marriage--results are acknowledged and legalized.

    How to Pick Up Girls by Eric Weber (2 million copies sold and is still in print). Line used from book by journalist (Jason) for ABC News at bar in LA. Jason (approaching a woman sitting at the bar with two girlfriends): Don't tell me a beautiful girl like you doesn't have a date tonight. Woman (skeptical look on face): Are you kidding? Jason (ad-libbing): No. Woman: that's not your best line, is it? Jason: (Groping desperately): What makes you think that was a line? Woman: Please (Turns back to her friends in disgust). NY Times 10/1/95.

    "One might conceive of the process of pairing as a sequence of hurdles: entering the marriage market, identifying (and perhaps rejecting) one (or more potential spouses, and marrying. If there is a relatively long period between one hurdle and another, all of those who are in the race may not cross the finish line before they reach an age when they are effectively disqualified". (Watkins 1984).

    Marriage Squeeze--refers to the ratio of marriageable males to marriageable females. The marriage squeeze refers to the ratio of eligible males to eligible females. Although the primary sex ratio is close to 1:1 (male:female), in many societies men prefer younger women and women prefer older men. Thus when population growth rate is changing, the number of older men to younger women will differ, depending upon whether the population is increasing or decreasing. Consider the following hypothetical population where the number in the birth cohorts changes every five years:

    Time Males Females Ratioa

    0 100,000 100,000 1:2
    5 200,000 200,000 1:2
    10 400,000 400,000 2:1
    15 200,000 200,000 2:1
    20 100,000 100,000 --

    anumber of males to females 5 years younger

    Note the following: i)equal numbers of each sex born each year; ii)the ratio favors males on the growth phase but favors females on the decline phase. Clearly marriage is a male "buyers" market during the growth phase and a female "buyers" market during the decline phase.

    Family Life Cycle

    The concept of the family life cycle brings together and synthesizes several central topics of demography: i)nuptiality; ii)fertility; iii)mortality.

    The basic model divides the family life cycle into six phases as given in the table below.

    Phases of Family Life CycleEvents characterizing Respective Phases


    I. Formation marriage birth of first child
    II. Extension birth of first child birth of last child
    III. Completed extension birth of last child first child leaves home
    IV. Contraction first child leaves home last child leaves home
    V. Completed contraction last child has left home first spouse dies
    VI. Dissolution first spouse dies survivor dies (extinction)

    Problems with this idealized cycle, especially in measurement:

    1. Ambiguity of first marriage. Is it first marriage of 'marker' individual or partner?

    2. If marriage remains childless then cycle collapses to two phases instead of six

    3. If have one child then first child is also last child so cycle has four phases;

    4. Often time when children leave home (also called launching or passage) is ambiguous

    5. Should children be counted per woman or per marriage?

    The general problem is that there are a large number of variations of family type and sequence that the 'ideal' only covers a fraction of the types. However, this model is extremely useful as a frame of reference and starting point. In general the classical concept of the family life cycle applies to stable first marriages of the nuclear family type.

    Fig. 1. Kennedy family life cycle--number of children at home by year.

    Example: Consider the family life cycle of the Joseph and Rose Kennedy Family. The information needed to complete the analysis is as follows:

    Parents (married in 1914):

    Joseph: 1888-1969
    Rose: 1890-1995


    #1. Joseph Jr. 1915-1944
    #2. John F. 1917-1963 m. 1953 to Jackie b. 1929-
    #3. Rosemary: 1918
    #4. Kathleen 1920-1948 m 1944 to William Cavendish
    #5. Eunice 1921- m 1953 to Sargent Shriver b. 1915
    #6. Patricia: 1924- m. 1954. Peter Lawford 1923-1984
    #7. Robert 1925-1968 m. 1950 to Ethel b. 1928
    #8. Jean Ann: 1928- m. 1956 to Stephen Smith b. 1927
    #9. Edward: 1932- m. 1958 to Joan 1936.

    PHASE Begin End Duration

    I. Formation 1914 1915 1
    II. Extension 1915 1932 17
    III. Completed Extension 1932 1933 1
    IV. Contraction 1933 1950 17
    V. Completed Contraction 1950 1969 19
    VI. Dissolution 1969 1995 26

    The Myth of Birth Order. There are people who maintain that just from knowing whether someone is a first-, middle- or last-born child, they predict that individual's personality and intelligence. Is the oldest the smartest? Is the middle child the peacemaker? Those are popular beliefs, but most researchers say it's just bunk. They believe that the lifelong impact of birth order is just one more example of a holdover in our psychological theorizing--that your personality is fixed by the time you're 6. That assumption is simply incorrect. (from Alfie Kohn, Los Angeles Times, March 26, 1990; also Judith Blake, Family Size and Achievement).

    1. Only one year prior to first born (Formation Phase)
    2. Took 17 years from first to last born. This was Rose's reproductive period
    3. Only one year in which all of the children were in the nest; Completed Extension Phase
    4. Was 17 years from the first born leaves (Joe) to last born leaves (Edward). Thus the Extension Phase duration equals the Contraction Phase if none of the children die
    5. Was 19 years from the time the last child left the nest to the first spouse dies; this is like 'retirement' phase
    6. Rose spent 26 years in widowhood for Rose
    7. The family life span was 81 years.


    Three ways in which the legal contract of marriage may be dissolved:

    1. Divorce--a final legal dissolution of a marriage; the separation of husband and wife by a judicial decree which confers on the parties the right to civil and/or religious remarriage.

    2. Annulment--makes the contract void from inception. Differs conceptually from a divorce in that a divorce terminates a legal status, whereas an annulment establishes that a marital status never existed.

    3. Widowed--upon the death of one of the spouses, the surviving spouse experiences the event of widowhood.
    Typical Divorce Sequence

    1. Legal Separation--begin living apart
    2. File For Divorce--formally file papers at courthouse
    3. Mediation--court-appointed mediator (usually psychologist) to arrange for childcare/support; interim arrangement
    4. Custody Trial/Settlement--legal and physical custody of children; involves child support
    5. Property Trial/Settlement--split property 50:50; typically assets acquired after married; includes spousal support (alimony)
    6. Divorce finalized--in California cannot be final until at least 6 months after original filing date

    Legal custody--responsible for child's welfare, education, etc.

    Physical custody--children live with physical custodian

    Types of Custody:

    While in divided custody only the parent with physical custody retains these incidents. Both parties have equal voice in the children's education, upbringing and general welfare. Some argue that the distinguishing trait is that parents are allowed to interact with his or her child in everyday situations rather than "visit" them.

    Marriage: A Demographic Perspective (from Waite 1995)

    In a recent paper published in the journal Demography, Waite (1995) summarized the health and longevity benefits of marriage:

    Fig. 1. Probablity of survival to age 65 by marital status and sex.

    1. Married individuals have the highest probablity of survival.

    2. Widowed females have a much better chance of survival than divorced women or those never married.

    3. However, all men who are not currently married face higher risks of dying than married men.

    4. Marriage apparently reduces the risk of dying and lengthens life by: i)reducing risky and unhealthy behaviors (drinking; smoking); ii)increases material well being--income, assets, wealth. These are used to purchase better medical care, better diet, and safer surroundings; iii)provides individuals with a network of help and support.

    Tangled Limbs of an Extended Family Tree
    The links between a couple, Annie P. and Lee S., and their former and current families
    (NY Times March 19, 1995)

    Figure 1. Extended family of Annie P. and Lee S.

    The Complexity of Extended Families

    First Annie and Ivan married. They had two children. They divorced. Later, Barry moved into Annie's house. Annie loved him. Her children did not. Three years passed, and he was gone. Two years later, Annie moved her children into Lee's house. Annie loved him. Her children did not. For nearly three years, Annie and Lee and her children have circled one another warily, trying to decide whether this newest family could endure. Annie's children, like countless across the country, are part of an increasingly common American family--one that is formed, shattered, reformed and shattered again in the wake of repeated divorces and breakups. These children struggle to navigate a bewildering succession of stepparents, stepsiblings and live-in relationships that have no formal name (from New York Times 3/19/95).

    From Annie's perspective, note the following:

    1. She first married Ivan who had one daughter from a previous marriage.
    2. She and Ivan had two children so this formed a "blended" family consisting on two biological children (Annie's) and a stepdaughter. This step daughter to her was a half-sister to the other two children.
    3. She and Ivan then divorced
    4. Annie moved in with Barry L. who had two children from his previous marriage. At this point Annie was connected with five children: i)her two biological children by Ivan; ii)one stepchild from Ivan's earlier marriage; and iii)two new stepchildren from Barry's first marriage. Therefore her two children had to adjust to two new stepchildren (and they to them), both of whom were likely shuttled to their mothers; and they themselves were likely shuttled to their father's place (Ivan).
    5. Annie now move in with Lee who has three biological children from his first wife. He divorced and remarried a woman with two children. He divorces again and brings his three biological children to live with Annie (his third potential wife).
    6. Their children (Annie and Lee) now must adjust to yet a third parent (biological and 1st and 2nd stepparents) and a third set of stepsiblings.


    Goodman, L. A., W. Keyfitz, and T. W. Pullum. 1974. Family formation and the frequency of various kinship relations. Theor. Pop. Biol. 5:1-27.

    Krishnamoorthy, S. 1979. Family formation and the life cycle. Demography 16:121-129.

    Queen, S. A. R. W. Habenstein and J. S. Quadagno. The Family in Various Cultures. Harper & Row, Publishers, New York.

    Retherford, R. D. and W. H. Sewell. 1988. Intelligence and family size reconsidered. Social Biology35:1-40.

    Ryder, N. B. 1978. Models of family demography. In: Population Bulletin of the United Nations. No. 9. pp43-46.

    Watkins, S. C. 1984. Spinsters. J. Family History 9:310-325.

    Waite, L. J. 1995. Does marriage matter? Demography 32:483-507.

    Yi, Zeng. 1988. Changing demographic characteristics and the family status of Chinese women. Population Studies 42:183-203.



    Kinship is really an extension of racial, genetical or ethnic groupings in that all of these can be further divided into relatedness categories such as tribes, clans or families. Individuals within family groups are typically organized around a central person (designate this person as 'Ego') in one-of-two ways:

    Family of Man. Science writer Guy Murchie explains, "no human can be less closely related to any other human than approximately fiftieth cousin, and most of us are a lot closer. The main point about our universal interrelatedness is not that we are all descended from some common ancestors. Rather it is that each of us contains genetic contributions from practically everybody who ever lived. A single indirect genetic contact between Africa and Asia in a thousand years can make every African closer than fiftieth cousin to every Chinese. This can occur simply in consequence of the wanderings of nomads in intermediate territory. (from The Mountain of Names, Alex Shoumatoff, 1985).

    Kin are divided into two general categories:

    1. Lineal kin which are your direct descendents (children, grandchildren, etc.) and progenitors (parents, grandparents, etc.)

    2. Collaterals which are all other kin. The collaterals can, in turn, be divided into two types:

      Colineal--aunts/uncles, sibs, nephews/nieces. These are the siblings of lineal kin

      Ablineal--cousins. These are the siblings of the colineal kin.

    Cross-classification of Cousinships

    A person can only have one set of, say, first cousins in his or her own generation but may have two sets of first cousins once removed: i)your parent's first cousins are your first cousins once removed; and ii)your own first cousin's children are also your first cousins once removed. In the former case these first cousins are once removed back a generation and in the latter case they are once removed forward a generation.

    An important aspect in understanding all kinship relations involves the biological pathways by which someone came to be your kin. This is especially true for all collaterals but is also important for lineal kin. For example, you have eight great grandparents representing four surnames (traditionally), three of which are not your own. That is, two of these three are associated with your mother's side and one of these three is associated with your father's mother's side. Thus in identifying grandparents it is important to keep the paths straight so that collaterals can be organized and traced accordingly. For example, your first cousins may be derived from either your father's side or your mother's side and your second cousins may be derived from four sources. These are the siblings of either: i)your paternal grandfather; ii)your paternal grandmother; iii)your maternal grandfather; and iv)your maternal grandmother.

    Genealogy and Family History

    Note the various levels of information for genealogical research in Table 1. First level includes data sheets such as family group sheets. Second level are data summary sheets such as ancestral and lineage charts. Third level are personal and family biographies. One of the most useful references for researching your own family tree is the book by Eakle and Cerny (1984). In general, books on genealogy provide techniques and approaches for finding your remote kin. However they seldom provide broad overviews of kinship and pedigree relations. (Eakle, Arlene and Johni Cerny. 1984. The Source. A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Ancestry Publications Company, Salt Lake City, Utah).

    Pedigree Collapse

    If you kept multiplying your progenitors by two every generation--doubling your parents, their parents and so on--when you reached the time of Charlemagne (ca. 800 AD) you would have between four and seventeen billion of them. But obviously there were nowhere near that many people alive then or at any time. What prevents the theoretical population implosion from taking place is called "pedigree collapse". This is caused by cousins marrying cousins--the intentional mating between close cousins and random mating between distant ones who don't even know they are related. Each time cousins marry, duplication occurs in their descendant's pedigrees, because cousins already occupy a slot there. The farther back one traces any person's genealogy the greater the rate of duplication grows, until finally, when there is more cousin intermarriage than input from new people, the shape of one's pedigree stops expanding and begins to narrow. Each person's complete family tree, in other words, is shaped like a diamond. In the beginning it expands upward from him in an inverted triangle. At some point, hundreds of years back, the rate of expansion peaks, the base of the inverted triangle is reached and, overwhelmed by "collapse," the pedigree starts to narrow again, eventually coming to a point at a theoretical first couple--Adam and Eve. (from The Mountain of Names, Alex Shoumatoff, 1985).

    Hereditary Titles

    Higher Nobility

    Was Queen Victoria a bastard? In a new book--Queen Victoria's Gene--two British brothers suggest that Victoria (1837-1901) was illegitimate; the product of an elicit liaison. The key to the mystery is in the royal DNA. Why, ask coauthors Malcolm Potts, an embryologist at Berkeley and William Potts, a zoologist at Lancaster University in Britain, did the interlocking European ruling families' history of hemophilia begin with Victoria? Previous genealogical work rules out any of Victoria's forebearers. That leaves only two possibilities: a spontaneous mutation (1-in-50,000 chance) or Victoria was the daughter of someone other than the Duke of Kent. Circumstances tend to argue for an unknown lover. The implications of the Duchess's colossal unlucky choice of a hemophiliac lover are breathtaking. Consider the Boshevik revolution. Czar Nicholas II's wife, Alexandra, was Victoria's granddaughter, and she transmitted hemophilia to their heir. The little boy's disease drove Alexandra to Rasputin, the diabolical monk who could calm the boy--but whose dark power at court weakened the family at the worst possible time. No hemophilia, no Rasputin. So no Rasputin, no revolution? (Newsweek, July 24, 1995)

    Lower Nobility


    Surname Formation. (Taken from Roberts and Roberts, 1983)

    In England, following the requirement of Edward II, surnames were widespread by the 14th century though with some localities and families slower to assume them. In the mid-16th century records of Northumberland, one still finds individuals marrying and dying without surnames, though certainly by 1600 they were universal even in these outlying areas. In the northern isles, however, Scandinavian naming traditions remained quite late, and indeed in Shetland right up to the beginning of the 19th century one finds little surname transmission but instead the patronymic system, in which a man's second name was his father's first name with the suffix "son" and a woman's second name would be that of her father's first name with the suffix "daughter," sometimes abbreviated to "daugh." Indeed, the same woman, say the daughter of Peter Johnson, may appear in the records with any of four names, (e.g. Elizabeth Petersdaughter, Elizabeth Paterson, Elizabeth Johnson, or her married name Elizabeth Sanderson). An eldest son tended to be given the first name of his grandfather, but otherwise naming depended on the preference of the parents, so the system was in essence random. The North American Indian regards his name, not as a mere label, but as a distinct part of his personality. Traditionally named for personal qualities, natural forces, animals, plants, brave deeds, memorable events or dreams. However, they have no surname thus there is no clue to descent.

    In a society where the occupation or trade passes traditionally from father to son, inheritance of nicknames was natural. In the Middle Ages feudalism regulated succession by law so the sons, grandsons and great grandsons of a person who made bread were Bakers by name as well as bakers by trade. Pulgram (1954) recounts the story of a census taker in the remote Alpine districts of Austria in 1816 before surnames were widespread in the country. Very few of the people living in the remote huts knew anything about family names. People use a peculiar form to indicate their descent and membership in a family. Take Kathi-Hani-Waba-Mirz-Margareth. There Kathi is the great-great-grandmother of Margareth. Thus the full name is a chain of ancestral first names.

    The keeping of more accurate civil records necessitated better distinction and identification of persons, and in consequence, surnames were invented and assumed on a large scale in Britain. Such names were in part derived from:

    Numbers of Surnames. The Japanese use as surnames roughly seventy-one thousand combinations of characters; and have around 107,000 distinct surnames. Some, like Sato and Suzuki, are borne by millions of people. Others occur only in remote villages. The Chinese who currently number over one billion have only about 500 surnames and the Koreans about 250 (20, 15 and 8% of Koreans are named Kim, Lee and Park respectively) . Some European countries have, if variant spellings are counted, about 10,000 surnames.

    Extinction of Surnames

    Suppose 25% of fathers are replaced by no sons, 50% by one son and 25% by two sons. The size of the population and thus the number of males, is fixed over time. However, the number of patrilines (names) becomes smaller with each generation since some of the fraternities have no sons in the next generation. After 5 generations only 40% of all names have survived and after 35 generations less than 10% of all names have survived (Ryder, 1987).

    Genetics of Personality

    A well-replicated finding in behavior genetics, and its implications are straightforward--the similarity we see in personality between biological relatives is almost entirely genetic in origin. If we wish to study environmental influences on personality development in families, we must look for influences that operate differentially among children in the same family. Current thinking holds that each individual picks and chooses from a range of stimuli and events largely on the basis of his or her genotype and creates a unique set of experiences; people help to create their own environments. The five main determinants of personality (from Bouchard 1994):

    1. Extraversion (introversion-extraversion, dominance, positive emotionality):
      • Outgoing, decisive, persuasive, and enjoys leadership roles
      • Is retiring, reserved, withdrawn, and does not enjoy being the center of attention
    2. Neuroticism (anxiety, emotional stability, stress reactivity, negative emotionality):
      • Is emotionally unstable, nervous, irritable, and prone to worry.
      • Quickly gets over upsetting experiences, stable, and not prone to worries and fears
    3. Conscientiousness (conformity, dependability, authoritarianism, constraint):
      • Is planful, organized, responsible, practical, and dependable
      • Is impulsive, careless, irresponsible, and cannot be depended upon
    4. Agreeableness (likability, friendliness, pleasant, aggression):
      • Is sympathetic, warm, kind, good-natured, and will not take advantage of others
      • Is quarrelsome, aggressive, unfriendly, cold, and vindictive
    5. Openness (culture, intellect, sophistication, imagination, absorption):
      • Is insightful, curious, original, imaginative, and open to novel experiences and stimuli
      • Has narrow interests, is unintelligent, unreflective, and shallow

    Table 1. Kinship relative to Ego among seven generations. Note that the children of the relatives in one entry are the entry one generation down and one collateral step to the right. For example, your grandfather's children (excepting your parents) are the entry to the lower right of grandfathers/grandmothers which are your uncles/aunts. And their children are your first cousins which is the entry to the lower right of uncles/aunts. Collaterals 2, 3 and 4 represent first, second and third cousins, respectively for the lineal kin in the same generation. For example, the second cousins twice removed in generation -2 for Ego are the second cousins of Ego's grandfather/grandmother.

    COLLATERALS (Colineal and Ablineal)


    -3 Great Great 1st Cousins 2nd Cousins 3rd Cousins
    Grandfathers/ Grand Uncles/ Thrice Thrice Thrice
    Grandmothers Aunts Removed Removed Removed

    -2 Grandfathers/ Great 1st Cousins 2nd Cousins 3rd Cousins
    Grandmothers Uncles/ Twice Twice Twice
    Aunts Removed Removed Removed

    -1 Father/ Uncles/ 1st Cousins 2nd Cousins 3rd Cousins
    Mother Aunts Once Once Once
    Removed Removed Removed

    0 Ego Brothers/ 1st 2nd 3rd
    Sisters Cousins Cousins Cousins

    1 Sons/ Nephews/ 1st Cousins 2nd Cousins
    Daughters -- Nieces Once Once
    Removed Removed

    2 Grandsons/ Grand Nephews/ 1st Cousins
    Granddaughters -- -- Nieces Twice

    3 Great Grandsons/ Great Grand
    Granddaughters -- -- -- Nephews/

    Table 2. Consanguinity and equivalencies of genetical relatedness in genealogy.


    Lineal Colineal Ablineal

    Self Identical twin -- 1

    Parents & Siblings -- 1/2

    Grandparents & Uncles, nephews & Double 1st 1/4
    grandchildren half-sibs cousins

    Great Great uncles & 1st cousins 1/8
    grandparents/ grand nephews

    2nd great Great grand 1st cousins 1/16
    grandparents/ uncles & great once removed
    grandchildren grand nephews

    3rd great 2nd great grand 2nd cousins & 1/32
    grandparents/ uncles/great 1st cousins
    grandchildren grand nephews twice removed

    4th great 3rd great grand 1st cousins 1/64
    grandparents/ uncles/great thrice removed &
    grandchildren grand nephews 2nd cousins
    once removed

    5th great 4th great grand 3rd cousins & 1/128
    grandparents/ uncles/great 2nd cousins
    grandchildren grand nephews twice removed

    6th great 5th great grand 2nd cousins 1/256
    grandparents/ uncles/great thrice removed &
    grandchildren grand nephews 3rd cousins
    once removed

    7th great 6th great grand 4th cousins & 1/512
    grandparents/ uncles/great 3rd cousins
    grandchildren grand nephews twice removed

    8th great 7th great grand 3rd cousins 1/1024
    grandparents/ uncles/great thrice removed
    grandchildren grand nephews

    Table 3. Types of data, summaries and narratives involved in genealogical and family historical research.

    Type of Form Description

    Data Forms
    Family Group Sheets
    Summarizes information on parents, grandparents and children by family
    Individual Biography
    Provides detailed information on individuals that goes beyond the basic vital rates including physical attributes (e.g. adult height), education, career and so forth.
    Activities Sheet
    Notes on family activities for a variety of time scales
    Contains information on origin, derivation and etymology of surnames from both maternal and paternal sides
    Summary Forms
    Family Life Cycle
    provides summary of age structure, generation time and major phases of family
    Demographic Summary
    provides demographic summary information on individuals and families
    Ancestral Chart
    Provides pair-wise branching scheme of 2 parents, 4 grandparts, 8 great grandparents and so forth; includes names and places of birth, death and marriage.
    Pedigree Diagram
    Schematic 'map' of consanguinal relationships for parent and offspring
    Personal Biographies
    Biography on selected individuals
    Family Biographies
    Biography on selected families

    Table 4. Family activities, events and routines on different time scales (1 life=100 years=400 seasons=1200 months=5218 weeks=36,521 days).

    Occurence Examples


    Early Morning
    Wake up time, breakfast, paper, chores, feed pets, exercise
    Work, school, housework, cooking, daytime meal, sports practice, music practice
    Reading, TV, supper, bedtime, children activity, evening walks, study
    Week Day
    Grocery shopping, music lessons, baking bread, sports
    Church, social gatherings, sports games, theater, music concerts
    Social gatherings, meetings, scouts, 4-H, school board, PTA)
    Summer camp, tennis clinic, vacations, sailing
    Resume school, football games, canning vegetables, start school
    Skiing trips, debate club
    Baseball, planting, school ends
    Holidays (relig.)
    Easter, Christmas, Jewish Holidays
    Holidays (civil)
    New Years, July 4th, Halloween, Thanksgiving
    Birthdays, wedding anniversaries
    Medical, dental, orthodontist
    County fairs, tournaments, picnics, school plays, music recitals

    Business trips, school trips, field trips, school abroad
    Rites of Passage
    Weddings, births, funerals, graduations, first communions, bar mitzvah (boys = 13), bat mitzvah (girls = 12)
    High recognition, Golden Anniversary
    Sudden death, fire, major accident or disease, catastrophies hurricanes, earthquakes


    Atkins, John R. 1974. On the fundamental consanguineal numbers and their structural basis. American Ethnologist 1: 1-31.

    Beardsley, T. 1996. Vital data. Scientific American March issue, pp. 100-105.

    Bouchard, T. J. Jr. 1994. Genes, environment, and personality. Science 264:1700-1701.

    Cavalli-Sforza, L. L. and W. F. Bodmer. 1971. The Genetics of Human Populations. W. H. Freeman, San Francisco.

    de Breffny, Brian. 1982. Irish Family Names. Sackville Press, Ltd.

    Faber, Bernard. 1971. Kinship and Class.

    Filby, P. William (Ed.) 1981. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index. Vol. 1. Gale Research Company, Detroit.(Call No. CS68 P36)

    Goodman, L. A., W. Keyfitz, and T. W. Pullum. 1974. Family formation and the frequency of various kinship relations. Theoretical Population Biology 5:1-27.

    Grun, Bernard. 1979. The Timetables of History. Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York.

    John Walter Woodbury, 248 University St., Salt Lake City, UT (801) 582-0563

    Lasker, G. W. 1985. Surnames and genetic structure. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Levi-Strauss, Claude. 1969. The Elementary Structures of Kinship. Beacon Press, Boston.

    Lineages, P.O. 417, Salt Lake City, UT 84110, Joni Cerny (owner), talked with Bruce Harmon (801) 531-9297

    MacLysaght, Edward. 1969. The Surnames of Ireland. Barnes & Noble, Inc., New York.

    Marlyn Twitchell, 4444 Immigration Trail, Salt Lake City, UT 84108

    Moberg, Vilhelm. 1951. The Emigrants. Simon and Schuster, New York.

    Moberg, Vilhelm. 1954. Unto a Good Land. Simon and Schuster, New York.

    Morton, N. E., S. Yee, D. E. Harris and R. Lew. 1971. Bioassay of kinship. Theoretical Population Biology 2:507-524.

    Pulgram, Ernst. 1954. Theory of Names. American Name Society. University of California Press, Berkeley.

    Queen, S. A., R. W. Babenstein and J. S. Quadagno. 1985. The Family in Various Cultures. 5th Ed. Harper & Row, Publishers, New York (HQ503 Q4).

    Roberts, D. F. and M. J. Roberts. 1983. Surnames and relationships: an Orkney study. Human Biology 55:341-347.

    Schusky, E. L. 1965. Manual for Kinship Analysis. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York.

    Siebert, C. 1995. The DNA we've been dealt. New York Times Sunday Magazine, September 17.

    Thernstrom, Stephen (Ed.) 1980. Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.

    White, H. 1963. An Anatomy of Kinship. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs.

    Yasuda, N., L. L. Cavalli-Sforza, M. Skolnick and A. Moroni. 1974. The evolution of surnames: an analysis of their distribution and extinction. Theoretical Population Biology 5:123-142.

    Return to the Course Syllabus