Most of us are often confused when it comes to what to call which relative what. It is important to understand these thoroughly when tackling general blood relation problems in various banking exams like IBPS PO and others. We need to understand who is an uncle, aunt, cousin, grandmother, grandfather etc. We need to understand the difference between ‘maternal’ and ‘paternal’. Here is a short conversation among three children and their understanding about uncle, aunt and cousins relations.
Akshay – Hi Nikhil! Meet my cousin Bhavna.
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Nikhil – Hey Bhavna!
Bhavna – Hello!
Nikhil – Cousin means who exactly?
Akshay – She is the daughter of my mother’s brother.
Nikhil – Oh! Your maternal cousin.
Akshay – Yes.
Bhavana – What does ‘maternal’ mean?
Akshay – ‘Maternal’ means relations from mother’s side. Relations from father’s side are called ‘paternal’ relations.
Bhanva – That means you are my paternal cousin.
Akshay – Exactly.
Bhavan – But why ‘cousin’? Why not ‘paternal brother’?
Nikhil – ‘Paternal brother’ is not used because we use the words ‘Brother’ & ‘Sister’ for those who share the same mother and father. On the other hand, the word ‘Cousin’ is one whose mother or father is the brother or sister of your mother or father. Got it?
Bhavan – Yeah! But what about male – female?
Akshay – For both pateranal or maternal brother and sister, we use the same word ‘cousin’.
Bhavana – Ok. Then what about aunty or uncle?
Akshay – It’s not aunty, dear. It’s aunt and uncle.
Bhavana – Ok, but are they maternal or paternal?
Nikhil – Both.
Bhavna – What do you mean?
Akshay – I’ll tell you. Aunt is your father’s sister or your father’s brother’s wife. This is from paternal side. The sister of your mother or your mother’s brother’s wife is your aunt from the maternal side.
Bhavana – Then uncle is your father’s brother or your father’s sister’s husband. This is from the paternal side. Your mother’s brother and your mother’s sister’s husband are both your maternal uncles. Right?
Nikhil – Correct!
Akshay – Same is for our grandfather and grandmother.
Bhavana – Yes, I got it, mother and father of our mother are maternal grandmother and grandfather whereas mother and father of our father are our paternal grandmother and grandfather.
Nikhil – And if we are using just grandmother or grandfather then they can be either paternal or maternal. Ok?
Bhavana – Yes. Got it!
Understanding Complex Blood Relations
The easiest way to remember complex blood relations is to visualize them. Here are a few family trees to help you remember complex blood relations.
Family tree showing blood relations: Niece and Nephew
Note 1: For both male and female siblings, children of siblings are nieces and nephews where girl child is niece and boy child is nephew.
Note 2: The siblings become uncles and aunts to the children. A female sibling of your parent is an aunt. A male sibling of your parent is an uncle. This is true for both your father’s and your mother’s siblings.
Family tree showing blood relations: Father-in-law and Mother-in-law
Note 3: The word in-law is used to express relations which you get only after marriage or when a sibling gets married. But in the case of father-in-law and mother-in-law, you must be the one to marry.
Note 4: If you are a woman, the mother and father of your husband are your mother-in-law and father-in-law respectively. Similarly, if you are a man, the mother and father of your wife are your mother-in-law and father-in-law respectively
Note 5: For your father-in-law and mother-in-law, you are their daughter-in-law (if you are a woman) or their son-in-law (if you are a man).
Family tree showing blood relations: Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law
Note 6: If you are a man, then your wife’s brothers and sisters are your brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. You also become a brother-in-law to your wife’s brothers and sisters. Similarly, if you are a woman, then your husband’s brothers and sisters are your brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. You also become a sister-in-law to your husband’s brothers and sisters.
Note 7: When you have more than one brother-in-law and sister-in-law, they are called brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. It would be wrong to call them brother-in-laws and sister-in-laws. But the group as a whole are called in-laws.