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Standard Igbo Family Tree

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

To celebrate the International Day of Families, we explore the standard Igbo family tree. The Igbo extended family universe consists of three ascendant and three descendant generations from EGO, the central individual. Very few Igbo people live long enough to be personally acquainted with members of all these categories, but as corporate groups, they exist and can be activated when such important events as title-taking, the burial of elders or other major life events occur. Each generation of the extended family can be grouped into a number of clusters or categories.


Cluster 1 consists of EGO, the parents, siblings and children.


Cluster 2 consists of EGO's father's wife or wives, their children and children's children.


Cluster 3 is located in the ascendant generation and consists of EGO's mother's siblings, their children who belong to EGO's generation and EGO's mother's and father's father.


Cluster 4 consists of a category of relations with whom EGO might not have much contact with. But a successful Igbo is "found" by his remote relatives. This category of relations consists of EGO's father's wives mothers and fathers as well as EGO's mother's, mother's father and mother.


Cluster 5 consists of the in-law group of relations for whom Ogo is a reciprocal term of address, no matter the generation. EGO's daughters create this relationship, which is further strengthened by EGO's grandchildren who in the status of Okene or Okene ukwu, depending on the generation, are treated with privileged consideration and indulgence.


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