Old Believers - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. The family forms the basic unit, with kin relations of the extended family an important adjunct. Kinship is traced through the male family name, with a version of the father's name used as the middle name of all children. In accordance with their church writings, People closer than eight steps of kinship are not permitted to marry. Since few records are kept, a young couple deciding to marry must seek out elder members of their families to determine if the proper distance exists. The family of a godparent is also considered kin, hence ineligible for marriage. Therefore, Old Believers assign actual kin, often brothers or sisters, to be the godparents of the young. Living memory of the ancestors usually extends back at least three generations.

Kinship Terminology. Since the extended kin of the Family are important in work teams and cooperative efforts, the kinship terminology is specific and intricate. One set of terms is used for consanguineal kin, and another set for all inmarrying members. The latter also differs depending on whether the relative by marriage is male or female.

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