Thursday, 24 April 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: U is for Uncle
Uncle.  Everybody knows what an uncle is, right?  A male relative, who is the brother of your direct ancestor.  But did you know that 'uncle' was used much more extensively in the last century?

I remember (when I was small) having an 'Uncle George'.  When I got older, and began researching my family history, I wasted precious months trying to find a 'George' in my mother or father's family who would qualify as my uncle.  It turned out that he was no blood relation at all - he was a family friend, and my parents always considered it polite for small children to address male family friends as 'Uncle'.  (I had an 'Aunty Joyce' as well...)

This confusion can extend to earlier times, as well.  Say you are looking at a census, and there is a four-year-old son-in-law.  ?  Well, the term 'son-in-law' was often used in place of where today we would say 'stepson'.  So, keep alert, and 'never say never'...


  1. Once again a very interesting post especially about the "in-law" other usage. I am an "Aunty" in name only to various friends' children - it does seem so much politer as well as establishing those close ties we have with certain friends (godmother just doesn't sound so good - does it?) Over from the A to Z Challenge

    1. Hello, Aunty! Just visited your blog and left a comment - very interesting post. Now a new follower.

  2. Oh I called my first cousin Uncle as he was soooo much older than me and my parents had good friends and my brother and I called them Aunt and Uncle. I still feel like it is the polite thing to do but I was raised old school. My dad would be 101 if he were alive (He was 51 when I was born) and my mom is German (she's 86). I did not know about son-in -law though so have to keep that in mind

    1. I still think it is polite. If I had children, I would teach them to do this, as well.

      Thanks for stopping by!



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