Kinship Patterns Kinship is recognized differently around the world, resulting in different patterns. Anthropologists typically use diagrams to illustrate the kinship pattern. In kinship patterns, one individual is labeled the “ego”. In tracing a kinship, all relationships would be traced to this person (ie if you were tracing your kinship). Unilineal Descent Most cultures limit the range of descent to a single line of ancestors. Patrilineal descent is traced through the father’s kin. Only males pass on the descent line to their children. Unilineal Descent Matrilenal descent is traced through the mother’s kin. Only daughters can pass on the descent line to their children. Matrilineal In matrilineal line, special importance is placed on the mother’s brother. In the Ashanti Kingdom of Central Ghana, a king traditionally passes his title and status on to his sister's son. A king's own biological son does not inherit the kingship because he is not a member of the ruling matrilineal family group. Women usually inherit status and property directly from their mothers in matrilineal societies Bilineal 40% of societies around the world trace descent through both mother and father’s line. The Yäko of southeastern Nigeria are an example of a society with bilineal descent. Their important portable property, including livestock and money, are inherited matrilineally. Fixed property, such as farm plots, pass down through the patrilinal line as do rights to trees and other forest products Parallel Descent Men trace their ancestry through male lines and women trace theirs through female lines. Ambilineal Descent Descent from either males or females is recognized, but individuals may select only one line to trace descent. Choosing one side over the other often has to do with the importance of each family. Bilateral Descent Most people in Europe and North America trace descent from all biological ancestors regardless of their gender and side of the family. All male and female children are members of both their father's and mother's families People do not always follow their culture's descent principles precisely. Kinship is often manipulated. People may create or deny links to particular ancestors in order to make their genealogy come out to their advantage. Naming Systems All societies have standard names for specific kinds of relatives. For example – aunts and uncles. Anthropologists have discovered there are only 6 naming systems in the world Eskimo Hawaiian Sudanese Omaha Crow Iroquois Eskimo The Eskimo naming system is the most common in Europe and North America. Members of the nuclear family are given terms of reference based only on gender and generation (father, mother) One other relative holds this name. Hawaiian The least complex naming system Nuclear family is de-emphasized Relatives of extended family distinguished only by gender and generation. Ego’s father as well as all male members of the same generation would have the same reference name (likewise for females). This naming system is practiced in Hawaii and Polynesian Islands Sudanese The most complex naming system. Each category of relative is given a specific term. Therefore there can be as many as 8 different terms for cousins. This naming system is found in Sudan and Turkey It mirrors the society in how naming can reflect class, occupation and political power. Omaha, Crow and Iroquois Though different, these three naming systems emphasize parallel cousins and cross cousins. Omaha use patrilineal descent Crow use matrilineal descent Iroquois is ambilenal descent Assignment Using one of the kinship patterns illustrate your family’s genealogy. Indicate if what pattern your family uses. If possible try to trace back at least 3 generations (great-grandparents). Use your name instead of Ego.