What is Kinship Chart: Explain with Examples

Last updated on August 26, 2021 by

Kinship in its simplest term is the blood-relations between individuals. On that note, the tool used to show kinship is called a Kinship chart. This detailed chart is related to genealogy and family tree charts as their function is almost the same. However, Kinship charts are more detailed compared to the latter chart, because anthropologists employ interviews to draw out the relationships between individuals. Kinship charts are detailed, as they use specialized elements and shapes. Each shape represent a certain identity of has a meaning. That is why it is more efficient to use templates to be sure that you get the composition right. To further understand what the kinship chart is all about, continue reading below.


Kinship Chart Tutorial

What is a Kinship Chart?

gitmind kinship chart
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A Kinship diagram is a chart that displays the relationships of people of different cultures. It accurately show the pattern of how a family is connected to one another. As mentioned, kinship is the relationship within a family, and the charts used to visualize it are the Kinship charts. In-general, blood-relations is not the only thing that can be described as kinship. Social interactions is also a form of kinship and can be described using this diagram. In biology, kinship can be defined as the level of genetic relationship between individuals of the same species. As seen in the chart above, each relationship is represented by a symbol that has a definite set of meaning.

Application of Kinship Charts

An anthropology kinship chart is indeed useful in mapping out relationships between family members. It is also useful in the field of anthropology since it records relevant information about culture and social standing. On that note, there are other fields where a kinship chart is deemed useful. Below are some sample ways where you can use this diagram.


As mentioned above, this diagram is often used to show biological relationship within a single family. Blood relations can be categorized into two instances namely the “Lineal” and “Collateral” categories. Lineal, as its name suggests is a straightforward relationship between immediate families. These two can be visualized in a Kinship chart. To site an example, a lineal relationship starts with a grandfather, father, son, grandson their great grandson. This is an example of lineal blood relations where all members are direct descendants of the Grandfather. On the other hand, a “Collateral” relationship includes the members of the extended family. Uncle, Aunts, and other family members which are not part of the direct lineage of the Grandfathers are part of the Collateral category.

Division of Genealogy

Division between families is also a part of a Kinship diagram. Division refers to side relationships that makes up the entirety of the chart. For example, the Son is the offspring of a Father and Mother. Since both parents aren’t blood-related, naturally they will have different parents. That is where the division comes in, because the Son has paternal and maternal Grandparents.

Binding Thread

Lastly, we have Binding Threads. Every relationship is linked by the thread that connects to another. This is how Anthropology kinship chart works. Every familial relationships have a source up to the present generations, and all are linked by different binding thread.

Benefits of Using a Kinship Chart

Kinship proves to have a lot more benefits than what you may think. Not only limited to showing family relationships. If you are wondering what other benefits you can get from using this diagram, then read the ones below.

  • This diagram clearly depicts the relationships within a lineal family. This eliminates the chances of confusion between readers of the Kinship chart.
  • Kinship guides future generations about the religious affiliations of the entire clan.
  • Kinship charts have the ability to remind each members of their individual duties and rights as members of the family.

Kinship Chart Symbols

Any chart will not be complete without the symbols that makes it what it is. Kinship diagram is no different since it has its own sets of symbols. Each symbol represents definite meanings for an accurate and complete chart. Below are the symbols, and the meaning behind them.

kinship diagram symbols
  • Triangle – This is used to represent Male in the diagram.
  • Circle – This is the one that represents Female in the diagram.
  • Deceased – For deceased members of the family, simply draw a line across the symbol.
  • Square – This is used when a family member doesn’t identify itself as either male or female in the Kinship chart.
  • Equal – To represent marriage, put this symbol in between family members who are married.
  • Approximate equal sign – This is used for couples who aren’t married, but are living together.
  • Not equal sign – For couples who ended their marriage through divorce.

Kinship Chart Examples

If you are reluctant to use the Kinship diagram because of the high-learning curve, then you can use these samples instead. Using templates doesn’t only save time, but ensures that you are using the right symbol for the right purpose. On that note, there are two templates from GitMind, which are about the lineal and collateral relationships.

GitMind Kinship Chart 1 – Lineal Chart
lineal anthropology kinship chart
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As mentioned above, lineal families only include direct descendants and nothing more. The template above is the perfect example of a lineal family. As seen on the chart, it starts with both the grandparents and then branches down to the great grandchildren.

GitMind Kinship Chart 2 – Collateral Chart
collateral kinship chart
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The Collateral kinship chart above shows the relationship between families within the same ancestry. It shows the immediate family, together with their extended family members.


Kinship is a broad and confusing subject. This is especially true individuals who don’t have an idea about the basics of Anthropology. That is why it is important use Kinship chart which needs to be as detailed and simple as possible. This enables readers to fully comprehend what type of relationships run within a family.

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Posted by: on to Tips and Resources. Last updated on August 26, 2021

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