Q'anjob'al descent is traced patrilineally. There is also evidence that vestiges of traditional clans and lineages are still recognized. Children are given their father's surname. All of those people who have the same surname are considered to be members of the same clan. It is prescribed that one should marry someone with a different last name, that is, someone who does not belong to the same patrilineal clan. One is, however, expected to marry another member of the village.
Fictive kinship, or compadrazgo is also an important element of Q'anjob'al kinship. Compadrazgo is the system of ritual relations created between godparents and children and between godparents and the parents of the children. These relations serve religious and social purposes and are most often called into action during births and baptisms.