Black Creoles of Louisiana - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. Extensive work on Creole Kinship has not been done except for historical genealogical studies. In a society where much is made of perceived race and free ancestors, Creole concern often focuses on powerful forebears who were free in the antebellum era. In some cases, well-known female ancestors receive special attention. Women in placage relationships to White planters and mercantilists were often granted freedom and, as such, became symbols of family settlement and economic power for succeeding generations. Connection to European ancestry is also often stressed, though since the civil rights era and in a time of heightened ethnic awareness, pride in African ancestry has increased.

Kinship Terminology. Most Creole kinship terms are from the French, as in mere, pere, frere, belle soeur, beau-pere, and so on. Special focus is placed upon marraine and parrain (godmother/godfather) relationships characteristic of Mediterranean societies. Avuncular figures called nonc, often fictive uncles, are common in rural communities as sources of respected male wisdom and support. Nicknaming is common, with attributes from childhood or physical appearance as a focus, such as 'Tite Boy, Noir, 'Tite Poop. Some families appear to have African-rooted nicknames such as Nene, Soso, or Guinee.

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