Kyrgyz - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. Kyrgyz society is organized on agnatic descent principles. The basic, and in some respects, most important social group is the oey, or patrilineally extended family. The oey includes a man, a wife or wives, all sons and unmarried daughters, and the wives and offspring of the married sons. All of these people typically live together in a single yurt. Several oeys, all sixth- or seventh-generation descendants of the same apical male ancestor, belong to a kechek oruq (patrilineage) which is also conceptualized as a large exogamous patrilineally extended family known as bir atanyng baldary, or "children of the same father." Members of this group often live together in one camp and assist each other in trade, herding, migration, and religious activities. Above this level, Kyrgyz are organized by chung oruq (clan) and orow (tribe). Kyrgyz place great emphasis on being able to trace their patrilineal ancestors seven ascending generations, in order to prove membership in an oruq. In earlier times, those who could not prove oruq membership in this fashion were made slaves ( qul ).

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