Kin Groups and Descent. Antiguans and Barbudans trace family relationships bilaterally through blood and law. Family is very important, both to one's social identity and for social, economic, and political support. A woman is said to have a child "for" a man, a way of noting that children create new social bonds and alliances. Marriage is the preferred form of union, but many persons marry later in life after their families have been established. Families are generally large, and they may include legitimate ("inside") as well as illegitimate ("outside") children who are socially acknowledged. Because of the small populations of these islands, people have extensive knowledge about kinship ties and histories.
Kinship Terminology. Antiguans and Barbudans inherited the kinship terminology of the British colonists who settled these islands, but they do not make a linguistic distinction between "half and "whole" siblings. "Aunty" and "uncle" may be used as terms of respect for elders. Another departure from English tradition is that men and women who have lived together for some time may refer to each other as "wife" or "husband" even though the couple is not legally married.