Sengseng - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. Each Sengseng traces Membership in several cognatic descent categories, composed of all those who share a named, remote, common ancestor, who may be a bird or a supernatural being. Sometimes a food taboo is associated with the category, but the members do not constitute any sort of social group. A settlement is composed of some of the descendants, through both men and women, of the founder, and though in theory descendants through men have authority over descendants through women and can expel them if a quarrel arises, in practice this rarely happens. Sengseng genealogies are long and enable people to trace connections with all those with whom they normally interact. A strong preference is expressed for marriage between certain categories of kin, particularly, for a man, with a daughter of a woman called taso, "father's sister." Most feel, however, that first cross cousins are too closely related to marry; if they do, they have to pay off any aggrieved kin. Marriage between first parallel cousins is forbidden, and sexual Relations between them are considered incestuous. Kin ties are extended by adoption; the traditional pattern of killing Widows left many children parentless, and even an unmarried man might adopt a child old enough to be weaned.

Kinship Terminology. This does not fit any usual classification. Cousin terminology is of the Hawaiian type, so that distinctions between various kinds of cousin rest on description of the links. Mother and mother's sister are called by the same term, with a separate term for father's sister, but there are separate terms for father, father's brother, and mother's brother.

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