My sister’s grandchildren are our cousins

relationship

An extended family includes children, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and perhaps more distant relatives.

Relatives belong to the same family. There are close relatives such as siblings, parents or their own children. We also call this a small family. The extended family also includes more distant relatives such as uncles and aunts, cousins ​​and grandparents.

Where the boundary between the small family and the extended family lies depends very much on what relationships the relatives maintain. It also depends on the country and the culture in which you live. Grandparents can therefore be counted as part of the immediate family or not.

A distinction is also made between consanguinity and other relationships. Blood relatives are parents with their children or the siblings among themselves because their bodies have numerous identical properties. It used to be said: "They have the same blood". Parents have a special relationship with their children, including special rights and obligations. That is why they have their own article in the dictionary.

A wife and her husband must not be blood relatives before they get married, otherwise deformities can result in the children. Marriage does not make them blood relatives either, not even if they have children together. The parents still have "different bloods".

Another difference is this: the man who fathered a child is the biological, the biological father. This also applies if the child does not know him at all. He could have died, disappeared, or whatever. But then maybe the mother will live in a new relationship. If this man takes good care of the child, then he is a kind of “surrogate father”. This is also called "the social father". If he adopts the child, he is treated like his own before the law.

What are grandparents and grandchildren?

In this painting you can see a grandfather telling a story.

Grandparents are the parents of the parents. The biological grandparents are each two grandfathers and two grandmothers. Often these are called "Grandma" and "Grandpa". Conversely, grandchildren are then the children of the children.

In the picture on the right, Wilma and Paul as well as Clara and Helmut (top) are the common grandparents of the three children Conny, Ben and Jenny (bottom). So the three children are the grandchildren of these grandparents. But only Clara and Helmut are also the grandparents of Justus and Hendrik (the other grandparents of the two, i.e. the parents of Klaus, are not in the picture).

Usually, grandparents, parents and their children are directly related to each other, unless someone has been adopted.

In many cultures around the world, grandparents live with the rest of the family. They help around the house when they can and look after their grandchildren so that their parents can go to work and earn money. This is no longer common in our countries. They mostly live for themselves and move to a retirement home when they can no longer run their own household.

When do we speak of uncles and aunts or nephews and nieces?

In this picture you can clearly see the different relationships: there are grandparents and grandchildren, uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces, cousins ​​and much more.

An uncle is either a father's brother or a mother's brother. But it can also be the husband of the father's sister or the husband of the mother's sister. It is very similar with aunts: an aunt is either the father's sister or the mother's sister. But it can also be the wife of the father's brother or the mother's brother. So there are also four options. We all have the same name. But there are other cultures and languages ​​with more different terms. There is a different word for each type of uncle or aunt, for a total of four.

Let's take Conny, Ben and Jenny from the picture above as an example: Here their father Peter has a sister, namely Karin. So Karin is the aunt of the three, her husband Klaus is the uncle. But the mother of the three also has a sister, namely Anne. Anne is also an aunt of the three. Steffi and Peter are aunt and uncle of Justus and Hendrik.

Conversely, Steffi and Peter have two nephews, namely Justus and Hendrik. The girls Conny and Jenny are the nieces of Karin and Klaus, Ben is their nephew. The same goes for Anne: Conny and Jenny are her nieces, Ben is her nephew.

How are cousins ​​related to each other?

Cousin and cousin are also called cousins ​​and cousins. Siblings have the same parents, and cousins ​​have the same grandparents. They are the children of one parent's siblings, i.e. uncles and aunts. Our parents say of our cousins: “They are our nephews and nieces.” To our grandparents, they are just as much grandchildren as we are.

It's like this in the picture above: Conny, Ben and Jenny (bottom left) are siblings. Her father has a sister who is the aunt of the three. Aunt Karin has two children: Justus and Hendrik. So Conny, Ben and Jenny have two cousins. Conversely, Justus and Hendrik have a cousin (Ben) and two cousins ​​(Conny and Jenny). The grandparents of the five children are grandpa Helmut and grandma Clara.

Cousins ​​are not as closely related as siblings. Because of this, cousin relationships and marriages are legal in most countries. This is forbidden among siblings.

Are brother-in-law and sister-in-law also related?

Brother-in-law and sister-in-law are not related by blood. The connection exists only through siblings and a marriage, they are said to be "related by marriage".

This can best be explained with an example from the picture: Peter and Steffi are married. Peter's sister is called Karin. Steffi and Karin are then sisters-in-law. Each of them can say of the other: “She is my sister-in-law.” But Steffi is also the sister-in-law of Karin's husband Klaus. Peter can say: "Klaus is my brother-in-law." And Klaus also says: "Peter is my brother-in-law." Anne, Steffi's sister is also Peter's sister-in-law and Peter is her brother-in-law.

Anne and Karin, however, are related by marriage even further away. They are therefore no longer real sisters-in-law. In some areas of Germany they are called Schwipp sister-in-law. Klaus is therefore the Schwipp brother-in-law of Anne.

What are ancestors?

Ancestral family tree from the 19th century

Ancestors are people who lived before you, i.e. your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on. Such a “level” is called a generation. It's easy to do arithmetic: you have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and so on, i.e. always twice as many. This of course refers to the biological, i.e. the biological, parents.

Such a list is called a family tree or ancestral family tree because it looks like a tree: the child is the trunk, then the thick, then the thinner branches, depending on the generation. From the child's point of view, this is an ascending family tree. The experts call this the "ascendant family tree".

There are very simple and very graphic, well-designed family trees. Anyone who researches them is a genealogist. They are also called genealogists because ancestors are often called ancestors. Many people do family research out of interest. They want to know where they are from and who was before them.

Often one speaks of the ancestors of a people. Of course, you don't know who it is about each and every one of them. It is all the people who have contributed to the current population. Immigrant people can also be there. This also results in the mixing of skin colors.

What are descendants?

Descendant pedigree. Individual lines have become extinct or have not been recorded.

Offspring are children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on. Such family trees are difficult to record because they are very different. A woman cannot have children at all, one, two, three or more. In addition, she may not all have children from the same man. Maybe the man already had children from a relationship with another woman.

So it is not the same whether a child records his ancestors or whether he records his descendants from the grandfather's point of view. This is no longer done often in individual families today. However, there are family trees of kings. There it is important to know who is allowed to be the successor, i.e. the new king.

Descending family trees are called descending family trees. The experts call this the "descendant family tree". Some grandparents do this as pride or joy in their offspring. Many grandparents also have their grandchildren in their heads and could draw the family tree by heart. Descendant pedigrees are also very important when a person dies and you don't know who should inherit their property.

  • An ancestral family tree from the child to the parents and grandparents to the great-grandparents


There is also an article on “Relationship” for beginners on MiniKlexikon.de and other search results from Blinde Kuh and Ask Finn.

The Klexikon is like a Wikipedia for children and schoolchildren. The most important things explained simply, with definition, many pictures and maps in over 3000 articles. Basic knowledge suitable for children, everything easy to understand and good for presentations in school.