Kinship Diagrams
Basic Elements

Before we begin to understand kinship, we need to define some basis symbols that are used in constructing kinship diagrams, the fundamental tool for defining concepts and representing case studies.

Kinship Symbols
A circle

represents a female
A triangle

represents a male
An equal sign represents a marriage
A vertical line represents descent or parentage
A horizontal line represents a sibling bond.

Relationships are traced through a central individual labelled EGO.

These various elements are joined to produce a kinship diagram as follows:

Figure 1: Kinship Diagram

Can you identify all of Ego's relatives depicted above?

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© 1995 Brian Schwimmer
University of Manitoba
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