Kin Groups and Descent. Descent is omnilineal or ambilineal. Descent groups form and disperse depending upon the particular land claim that is being prosecuted. Persons who are allies for one purpose are enemies for another. This does not follow the familiar pattern of "fission and fusion" described by Evans-Pritchard for the Nuer ( 1940), in that groups are not segments of larger groups but are based on a particular individual's genealogical relations in a particular parish. He or she will be brought together with a distinct collection of people in each parish and at each genealogical level. These associations do not achieve the kind of solidarity that would make them useful for purposes other than land claims. Kinship is bilateral and, like descent, is traced through any combination of males and females. The importance to each household of having at least one herd boy leads to boys often being brought up in the household of a father's or mother's brother or sister, as adjustments to household work forces require.
Kinship Terminology. Tigray kin terms reflect their bilateral kinship and omnilineal descent. Generation and linealtty are distinguished. Sex is distinguished only in Ego's generation and for parents. Kin types are grouped as follows: son and daughter, brother, sister, father, mother, father's and mother's brother, father's and mother's sister, and father's and and mother's father and mother. All eight great-grandparents are referred to by a single term.