Family relation

of these articles describes the family relation cousin. For further meanings, see cousin (term clarifying).

The family relation expresses the kind of the relationship or in the broader sense also the affinity of persons. In the different cultures for this more have themselvesor less complex patterns develops, characterized by own linguistic names for the respective type of relationship.

Table of contents

names for family relations

the German designations described here are coined/shaped cultural and correspond essentially today into most western societies the prevailing „Eskimo system “. This is one of the six main systems of the relationship, those from Henry Lewis Morgan into system OF Consanguinity and Affinity OF were identified the human Family (1871). It does not differentiate between matrilateralen and patrilateralen relatives, i.e. between relatives on the mütterlichen and the paternal side. For example aunt does not come out from the term,whether it concerns a sister of the nut/mother or a sister of the father. In other systems there are two different names for aunt, who one with nut/mother sister and/or. Father sister to translate could make and those clear exactly this difference.„The Eskimo system “is among other things for this reason differentiates less than a descriptive system like in the old person Rome and/or. today and. A. in Turkey or China „Sudan system spread “.

Further with the indication of the degrees of relationship in the following one assumes that,that there is no generation or marriage between already relatives.


the word parents is the name for the direct ancestors of a person. In case of an adoption of foster parents or of parents one speaks also briefly. ThatWord „parents “is common only in the Plural. Father and nut/mother are per „parents “. Both together are parents.

  • Parents = father + nut/mother: With the natural (physical) descent each humans have a pair of parents. The male parents become as Father, who calls female nut/mother. Parents are used first degree. Colloquial names for the father are Pa, dad, Papi, Paps, DATA (Vorarlberg), DATE (Tirol), Tata (South Tyrol) and dad, for the nut/mother mA, Mummy, Mami, Mueti and mummy.
  • A further form the parents shank exists with an accepted (adopted) child, who is legally the physical child on an equal footing.
  • Also same sex partnerships (Homosexualität) can take over tasks of parents and - obligations and undercertain conditions also children adopt.

Parents are the legal representatives of their children under age; in exceptional cases (e.g. with the death of parents, educating inability, etc.) the juvenile court can determine the guardian.

Wikiquote: Father - quotations
Wikiquote: Nut/mother - quotations
Wikiquote: Parents - quotations

marriage partner

of the marriage partners is the related by marriage person (see marriage). With Monogamie a person has maximally a marriage partner, with Polygamie several. If the marriage partner is male, it is called married man; it is female, as a wife.To the marriage partner generally no blood relationship exists and therefore also no relationship in the legal sense, it mediated however the affinity (see: Relationship (right)).

The terms spouse for married man and marriage wife for wife are somewhat older. In the Plural becomealso spouses and married people uses the words.

life partners

of the life partners (in Switzerland: registered partner) is the person of the same sex, with whom one closed a life partnership. The female form is Lebenspartnerin. To the life partnergenerally no blood relationship exists and therefore also no relationship in the legal sense, it mediated however the affinity (see: Relationship (right)).

The terms husband and wife are used recently sometimes also with life partners, come however into no legalRegulations forwards. In life partnerships the involved ones call themselves also as „my man “and/or. „my wife “.

Also heterosexual pairs, which live in a before-similar relationship without marriage certificate, do not call themselves often as life partners, there by the realtiv recent life partner law a crucial coinagealready before the existing term regarding homosexual ones developed.


the children are the direct descendants of a person. A male child is called son, a female as a daughter. To the children one existsRelationship of first degree. Also foster children are considered as related, while the legal relationship is in principle waived to physical parents by an adoption (only the before and/or. Life partnership prohibition remains existing).

brothers and sisters

of brothers and sisters are further children of parents. Thosemale form is brother, the female sister. Brothers and sisters are used second degree.

Wikiquote: Brother - quotations
Wikiquote: Sister - quotations

the word of brothers and sisters is common only in the Plural.

To the question of the position of a child in relation to its brothers and sistersand the effects of this position see brothers and sisters constellations.

To milk brothers and sisters see under Amme.

uncles and aunt

as uncles (male) and/or an aunt (female) one designates the following persons:

  • Brothers and sisters of parents: These are used third degree (their relationshipby grandparents one mediates).
  • Before and life partner of brothers and sisters of parents: These are in the third degree verschwägert

an outdated name for uncles are Oheim or ohm. During however uncles both the brother of the father and that thatNut/mother designation, means Oheim originally only the brother of the nut/mother. In former times the Muhme for the sister of the nut/mother corresponded to the Oheim. Before uncles and aunt came from the French into the German linguistic usage, became for brother and sister of the fatherthe designations cousin and cousin uses, who were used later for their children. Cousin and cousin are still used and (regionally) for more distant relatives. „The cousin from Dingsda “is distant relatives from somewhere.

Children are sometimes trained in addition,also did not use persons like e.g. To call friends of parents/neighbours or educators Onkel and/or Tante. Frequently thereby however the not used is addressed only with uncle and aunt surname. These uncles are called frequently also nominal uncles.

(Baptizing) godfathers become, independently of the degree of relationship, frequently as uncles and/or. Aunt („godfather uncles “, „godfather aunt “) designates and addressed. After canonical right a marriage prohibition exists between the Täufling and the godfathers. This example makes clear that relationship not only something with a pure sexualisiertenand in common separates rather a multilayered community among humans, arranged by different interpretations, has blood-moderate connection between humans defined and designated.

nephew and niece

as nephews (male) and/or. Nieces (female) one designates the children of brothers and sisters. AsNephews and nieces are designated beyond that also the children of the brother-in-law or the sister-in-law, with whom one is verschwägert thus not related, but. The word Neveu for nephew, to in 20. Century unusually, did not get in German since that time(see. Nepos).

cousin and cousin

a cousin or a cousin (male) or a cousin, a cousin or a cousin (female) („first degree “) does not designate a child related, related by marriage, uncle and/or. an appropriate aunt. With cousins andCousins „first degree “one is related in the fourth degree; „first degree “means here that it concerns a child of an uncle or an aunt, and not around far distant relatives in the collateral line. In the catholic church placesthe relationship between cousins and cousins of first degree a marriage obstacle , by which however can be dispensiert. In the civil law of most countries (exceptions: some US Federal States, Korea, the Philippines and many Balkans countries) the marriage between cousin and cousin is permitted.

indication of a degree

an indication of a degree with cousins is relatively rare, since the correct use of such designations is to a large extent unknown. Each degree beyond one increases thereby the oldest generation contained in the family relation by one, withoutto change the generations of the compared persons. The following, the collateral line data concerned are not identical to the legal definition of the relationship degree.


  • A cousin of second degree is the daughter of the cousin/the cousin of the father/thatNut/mother. For a such family relation regionally also the designations “kiss cousin (e) are” or “large cousin (e)” common. The common ancestors are great-grandparents.
  • An uncle of second degree is the cousin of first degree of the own father/the own nut/mother. The own great-grandfather is at the same time the grandfather of the uncle of second degree. One is a nephew/a niece of second degree of this uncle of second degree. The degree remains between the persons.
  • A cousin of third degree: With this one has the commonUr-great-grandfather.

To assist in the understanding: The Ur-great-grandfather has two children, these is brothers and sisters, the children of brothers and sisters is cousins cousins of first degree, the children of these cousins is cousins of second degree related, their children cousins of third degree. It goes around here thusthe generations.

brother-in-law, sister-in-law

as brother-in-law or a sister-in-law one designates

  1. the before or life partner of a brother or a sister,
  2. brothers and sisters of a before or a life partner.

Brother-in-law and sisters-in-law are related not in the actual sense, but verschwägert. Uncommonlybecame the name for brothers and sisters of brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Brother-in-law brother and brother-in-law sister….

More details is in the articles brother-in-law and affinity.

See also Schwippschwager.

word formation


on use of the prefix largethe family relation is designated outgoing from parents. By on the paternal side or mütterlicherseits the appropriate parents can be marked.

Common uses are:

  • Grandparents = parents of parents,
  • grandmother = the nut/mother of parents, colloquially also granny or Omi, Omama (South Germany), Ahnl and/or. Ahna, Nahni (alps), Gromu, Grosi (Switzerland),
  • grandfather = the father of parents, colloquially also Grandpa or Opi, Opapa (South Germany), Ähnl and/or. Ehni, Nehni (alps),
  • large aunt = an aunt of parents,
  • large uncle = an uncle oneParents,
  • large cousin = colloquial inaccurate name for a cousin of parents (aunt of second degree) or a daughter of aunt/uncle of second degree,
  • large cousin = colloquial inaccurate name for a cousin of parents (uncle of second degree) or a son of aunt/uncle secondDegree (grandparents were in this case always brothers and sisters).

The terms large nephew and large niece, who are direct descendants of a nephew or a niece, form an exception (for large child see among „grandchild “).


the word component of grandchild originally designatedthe family relation outgoing from the children:

  • Enkelkinder = the children of a child, in Switzerland also large child,
  • grandson = the son of a child,
  • grandchild daughter = the daughter of a child.

Nowadays one uses also simply the independent terms

  • grandchildren = Enkelkinder/grandson,
  • granddaughter = grandchild daughter.

being silent he

the word component being silent he designates no relationship separate an affinity. This concerns the relatives of the before or life partner.

Details are located in the articles affinity, mother-in-law, father-in-law and Schwiegerkind.


the prefix Ur is used only before large or grandchild, can be set forward however several times. Each Ur shifts the starting point of the indication of relationship a step in the appropriate direction.


  • Great-grandmother = the nut/mother of oneGrandmother or a grandfather.
  • Ururgrossmutter = the nut/mother of a great-grandmother or a great-grandfather. A Ururgrossvater is called also old father.
  • Great-grandchild = either the children of a grandchild (Plural) or also the son of a grandchild (singular; - also: „Great-grandchild son “). Great-grandchild is used every now and then also for arbitrary descendants of the grandchildren.
  • Great-granddaughter = the daughter of a grandchild (or also „great-grandchild daughter “).
  • Ururenkel (- son) = grandchild (- son) of a Enkelkindes.

Urahn one calls any ancestor of grandparents. Beyond that it givesin the genealogy special names for the generations, around the use of Urur, Ururur, Urururur etc. to go around.


the prefix half designates that a family relation runs only over an ancestor of the oldest contained generation instead ofover both. This prefix is common however only with direct brothers and sisters and is used if this characteristic of the relationship is to be emphasized.

A half brother is thereby a brother, with whom the regarded person has only parents in common. Appropriateapplies to a half sister. In order to take their Verwandthschaftsbeziehung off from (vollbürtigen) brothers and sisters, half brothers and sisters are called also halbbürtige brothers and sisters. The every now and then occurring designation „Stiefgeschwister “is here however wrong.

Half brothers and sisters may marry the reason of a life partnership in Germany in no case andbetween them is not permissible.

The prefix is usable however even in the more general connection. A half uncle e.g. is. in accordance with above definition the half brother of parents, a half cousin its son. Female designations apply accordingly.


the prefixes Stiefdesignates a not used person, with whom one is verschwägert by the marriage or life partnership of parents. A stepmother is a later wife of the father (or Lebenspartnerin of the nut/mother). In the same way a stepfather is a later married man of the nut/mother (or life partnersthe father). Stepparents conditions can develop also for not-conjugal children.


the word component of foster designates one by adoption justified relationship. One can adopt both physical related and physical related persons. The latter is the rule. Not physicalrelated foster children take legally the place relatives of a person in a foster family. So, that means e.g. on an equal footing is not a foster child physical related its foster family, but a physical child of the foster family. with the related foster parents - exactlike a physical child - hereditarylegally related. It becomes simultaneous also by the adoption related to other (physical or likewise adopted) children, which possibly. straight with older children to problems to lead can (marriage prohibition, life partnership prohibition).

In families, into that German aristocracy federations are organized, is this different: (Former) the aristocracy right, which finds still on association level application, differentiates strictly between physical and adopted members of a family, these distinctions is obligatory however only in the context of the association regulations. Thus is e.g. called.legally the adoptive daughter of Heinrich count Wasserstein with surnames „countess boiler scale “(if it the names [foster] of the nut/mother does not lead) whether this is approved of now by the aristocracy federation or not.

In the reverse case a foster child is also not in legal regard any moreits physical relatives, the origin family, related (only the before and life partnership prohibitions remain to exist). The foster family takes legally the place of the origin family. If a foster child speaks nut/mother of its (physical) „” is this biologically correctly, but from legal view strictlytaken inkorrekt.

During of age adoptions and with adoptions details related apply however partially. deviating rules.

the proximity

of the relationship of a person defines degrees of the relationship the degree of relationship to another.

In accordance with the legal definition § 1589 exp. 1Sentence 3 BGB determines itself the degree of the relationship according to the number that it mediating births, which comes the medical relationship formula very close. Same applies for 1590 exp. to the determination of the degree of the affinity, there the definition §. 1Sentence 2 BGB on that § 1589 exp. 1 sentence 3 BGB constructs.

Verwandtschaftsbezeichnungen und -grade nach altem Kirchenrecht (links unten) und neuem Kirchenrecht bzw. nach bürgerlichem Recht (rechts unten)
Relationship designations and - degrees after old church right (left down) and new church right and/or. after civil right (right down)

differently than concrete relationship designations (father, nut/mother, sister, brother, uncle,Great-great-aunt etc.) gives the designation after degrees from itself to information over the relationship proximity. The own children and parents are used first degree (a mediating birth), grandparents, Enkelkinder and brothers and sisters such second degree (two mediating births), uncle, aunts, nephews andNieces (three mediating births) are in the third degree related and so on.

In the canonical right of the catholic church one used another kind of the determination of the degree of relationship until 1983: In direct line the degree of relationship corresponded to the civil right, in thatCollateral line the generations up to the common ancestor were counted. The degree of relationship was then the larger of the two numbers. Uncles and niece are thus related just like cousins and cousin in the II°.

The term of the degree of relationship serves in particular in the genealogy, the medicine (for instance with the research of hereditary diseases) and the jurisprudence (e.g. with the rules over the right to refuse to give evidence or the exclusion of the practice of the justiceship) of the abstract designation of family relations of individual persons. In vomit however becomesthe family relation arranged according to orders.

general relationship board

 ancestor ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ grandfather ♂ grandmother ♀ grandfather ♂ grandmother ♀ on the paternal side on the paternal side mütterlicherseits mütterlicherseits |___________________________________| |_____________________| | | | | | | Uncle ♂ aunt ♀ father♂ nut/mother ♀ uncles ♂ aunt ♀ _|_________ __________|___________________|__________________ | | | | | Cousin ♂ cousin ♀ brother ♂ person ∞ marriage partner sister ♀ | _____|____ _|__________¦______ ____|_____ | | | | | | | Nephew/niece 2. Degree nephew♂ niece ♀ son ♂ daughter ♀ nephew ♂ niece ♀ ____________|_ _|____________ | | | | Grandson ♂ grandchild daughter ♀ grandson ♂ grandchild daughter ♀ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ great-grandchild


  • Ernst Erhard Mueller: Grandfather, grandchild, son-in-law- Investigations for the history of the family relations in German. To Carl winter university University of, Heidelberg 1979

see also

geneological table, family, mould semper certa est, Patchworkfamilie, rainbow family, widow, family tree, central child, pointed ancestor

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