the canonical family tree

following up on a reader request, here is an extended family tree for ya with names (boy, it's HARD to pick names for kids!).

everything is from the point-of-view of “jack” (ego). i went for double-barrelled names in order to give some sort of hint as to any given individual’s relationship to jack. so, his father’s brother (his paternal uncle) is “frank bob.” and his father’s brother’s daughter (his paternal first-cousin) is “frances betty” (see what i did there?).

here they all are (click on charts for LARGER images – should open in new tab/window):

now, in father’s brother’s daughter marriage (i can see your eyes glazing over already!), jack marries his uncle frank’s daughter, cousin frances. in a society where this is a common practice (eg. arab world), they do this over and over again, although maybe not in every generation. if it were every generation, it would look like this:

so, all of the jacks marry their cousins frances betty. see how the lineage keeps folding back in on itself? this is some close inbreeding.

also, see the left side of the canonical family tree? — where uncle mike and aunt martha are? mom’s brother and sister? that side of the family tree doesn’t really exist in an fbd system, ’cause mom’s brothers and sisters are ALSO dad’s paternal cousins. in an fbd system, the left side of the family tree should really be over on the right side. (*facepalm*) maybe i’ll try to draw that one day. it’s no wonder that most peoples in the world consider fbd marriage to be too incestuous — interesting that most people figured that out and avoid it.

now, here’s mother’s brother’s daughter marriage, the most common variant of cousin marriage and the most common form found (traditionally) in china:

again, all of the jacks marry their mother’s brother’s daughter (mbd) — mary beth. but this time, dad is NOT related to mom’s side of the family via his patrilineage. this is a sort-of inbreeding, but not so close as fbd marriage above. not always within the same lineage. mom’s brother, mike, is probably married to a woman from some other lineage, so cousin mary beth is not so closely related to jack. dad’s brother, frank, on the other hand, is probably also married to a woman from the patrilineage, so (in fbd marriage) jack and frances betty are probably more closely genetically related.

what the canonical family tree needs, really, are surnames. (why didn’t i think of that sooner?!)

imagine the fbd marriage system above — jack’s new wife, cousin frances betty, doesn’t have to change her last name ’cause she’s in the same patrilineage as jack. jack smith, let’s say, marries his father’s brother’s daughter — uncle frank bob smith’s daughter, cousin frances betty smith. see?

in the mbd marriage system, on the other hand, jack smith marries his mother’s brother’s daughter — uncle mike bill jones’ daughter, cousin mary beth jones. mary beth needs to change her name ’cause she’s from another patrilineage. like confucius say marriage is “the union of two surnames, in friendship and in love.”

previously: genealogical terminology

(note: comments do not require an email. confucius!)

5 Comments

  1. “see how the lineage keeps folding back in on itself?”

    yes, that’s the critical bit when you see it laid out over generations. DIY cloning.

    Reply

  2. I was reading some of Steve Sailer’s old posts and a comment made me realise something:

    “And we have defacto polygamous arrangements in the black community where one guys has kids with lots of women. But I don’t see a renewal in tribalism or kinism. I suppose street gang thuggery is a form of tribalism, but its ties and loyalties aren’t really bound by anything.”

    Actually you do a bit but not in the US. In the UK the inner city is divided up into a patchwork of small working class housing projects / estates scattered among areas of more prosperous streets. What’s happened over the last 50 years is the working class bits have mostly been cleansed and replaced. Because each pocket is small you do get a *bit* of clan structure developing with each estate having their own gang and lots of accidental inbreeding and unstructured kinism based on everyone on the estate gradually becoming cousins. It is only happening by accident though as a product of the small breeding population in each pocket.

    In the US this doesn’t happen to the same extent even by accident because the ghetto areas are bigger and more contiguous. The tribal divisions are more likely to be at standard geographical boundaries like rivers.

    This made me realise one of the key neccessities for the formation and maintenance of clans and tribes – someone has to keep score. In black (and increasingly white) underclass areas there’s no lineage – no-one is keeping track of who is who. So there’s lots of inter-relatedness but no long-term structure or pattern to it because no-one is maintaining a lineage.

    This made me wonder if parts of Africa are the same – hence Todd’s frustration.

    Reply

  3. @g.w. – “This made me realise one of the key neccessities for the formation and maintenance of clans and tribes – someone has to keep score. In black (and increasingly white) underclass areas there’s no lineage – no-one is keeping track of who is who. So there’s lots of inter-relatedness but no long-term structure or pattern to it because no-one is maintaining a lineage.

    This made me wonder if parts of Africa are the same – hence Todd’s frustration.”

    aaaaah, yes! that makes sense. you don’t get a lineage (or clan or tribe) unless you work at it. like you say, somebody has to keep track of what’s going on, otherwise what you get is just a mishmosh (<< very technical term). that's the impression i got reading about the amhara in ethiopia — the mating practices were a bit all over the place.

    seems like an iq thing, doesn’t it? or maybe even being able to plan for the future? otoh, the australian aborigines have some very complicated ways of keeping track of lineages and so forth, so maybe not. hmmm.

    yeah, no wonder todd just threw his hands up in despair (ras le bol!) ’cause the definition of family in many african societies does seem to be pretty loose.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s