What are the important forms of family groups?


Hoebel has defined family group. According to him a family group is a wide and one sided group comprising a common ancestor and his successors having blood ties and it does not last for more than five or six generations.

In this way a family group is a group of successors of one and the same ancestor. In a modern family, members of the families, father’s family and mother’s family are included in a family gorup. It has therefore been called a bilateral grouping. But, as has been said before, family groups in primitive societies are one sided. Their family groups may be matrilineal and also patrilineal.

1. Matrilineal kinships


In this, a family group starts from a female ancestress. Children of a sister are included in the family group. This family group is found in a matrilineal system.

2. Patrilineal kinship

In our society, we have a family group of this type. In this, the children of a sister are excluded from the family and the children of a brother are included in one and the same family. In counting the lineage of a family unit, father’s father and his father are counted. On the other hand, in a matrilineal family, mother’s mother and her mother alone are counted.

Besides the matrilineal and patrilineal kinships, cognate kinships and collateral kinships are also found. Cognates are those who make a lineage from father to a son in a straight line. When other relations, like uncle and nephew, maternal uncle and his sons are included in considering the lineage of a family, they are called collaterals as they are not in a straight line.

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