Southern Relativity

I recently watched one of those “finding your roots” type shows on TV and thought I’d take a minute to discuss the complicated matter of Southern genealogy.

FamilyTree_webBasically, it goes like this: Southerners extend the branches of the family tree to include any leaves, twigs or nuts that happen to brush against them.

For example, I tell people I have relatives in Chicago. My brother’s wife’s younger sister lives there. I like to refer to her as my sister-in-law, once removed. By Southern calculations we are blood kin, because both of us are “aunt” to the same children—who, by the way, are brilliant and beautiful because we’ve never had an ugly child in our family

My sister-in-law, once removed, whom we’ll call “Alyson,” since that’s her name, got married a little over a year ago. Her husband, whom the brilliant, beautiful children call “Uncle Mike,” got grafted onto the family tree as well. He’s now related to me by marriage. However, his parents, whom I met only briefly at the wedding—lovely people— would be considered distant relations.

How far do the branches on your family tree extend?