Kin Groups and Descent. An unfocused variety of cognatic descent is characteristic in the crofting townships. Within the local group, most people are related to each other. In a functional sense, precise kin ties are of little importance beyond that of first cousin. However, people will invoke the concepts of "lineage" or "kindred" to justify their associations with others in the community. Kinship is usually the basis for membership in fishing-boat crews. Strong patterns of local endogamy tend to reinforce feelings of local kin solidarity.
Kinship Terminology. Shetland kinship terms follow similar bifurcate-merging patterns in Scotland and the British Isles. Relationships to both sides of the family receive equal stress.