Kin Groups and Descent. Ladino families are isolated groups that can trace their descent back two or three generations but rarely maintain solid relationships with collateral kin. Their relationships tend to be extended through compadrazgo , which provides an opportunity for betterment, if not in economic terms, at least in terms of status.
Children of nuclear families, if both of their parents are living, carry the paternal name, and when they form their own families they frequently maintain their patrilocal residence. There are cases of single mothers, and among them a lack of continuity in family names is more frequent. Some children take the name of the putative father, others that of their mother.
Kinship Terminology. Ladino kinship terminology is the same as that used by other Spanish-speaking groups in the area. That is, one speaks of grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, cousins, brothers- and sisters-in-law, fathers- and mothers-in-law, and sons- and daughters-in-law in the same way in which these terms are used within Hispanic culture. The only unusual characteristic is the rather frequent incorporation of an entenado —a child given into someone's care by its parents, or semiadopted by another family for various reasons. The child may have been orphaned, been mistreated at home, or come from a family in dire economic straits. A child facing such circumstances may be sent to another family to be cared for in exchange for doing some work. The entenado is almost always a relative by marriage or a more remote family member—perhaps a godson or goddaughter.