Kinship diagrams, or kinship charts, are used to organize information on familial lineages. A kinship diagram is a family tree that uses both symbols and letters to designate position and relation. Kinship diagrams can focus on the relatives of one person or the relationships of an entire family. To make a kinship chart, collect as much information about your family tree as possible.

Some basic symbols are used in kinship diagrams. One set of symbols is used to represent people. The other set is used to represent relationships or connections between people.

Kinship diagram symbols

Kindship Diagram Notation Explained

Kinship is reckoned in several different ways around the world, resulting in a variety of types of descent patterns and kin groups. Anthropologists frequently use diagrams to illustrate kinship relationships to make them more understandable. The symbols shown here are usually employed.  They may be combined, as in the example below on the right, to represent a family consisting of a married couple and their children.

In kinship diagrams, one individual is usually labeled as EGO.  This is the person to whom all kinship relationships are referred. In the case below on the right, ego has a brother (Br), sister (Si), father (Fa), and mother (Mo).  Note also that ego is shown as being gender nonspecific–that is, either male or female.

Kinship diagram notation explained

Relationships are traced through a central individual labeled EGO. These various elements are joined to produce a kinship diagram as follows:

Kinship diagram example

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Using Legend in Kinship Diagram

Kinship diagram with legend

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