Family Relationships in genograms

Family relationships are used to describe the union of two individuals. In GenoPro, a union is defined as the combination of two adult individuals joined for the purpose of creating a family unit. This union may be strong, such as marriage or non-existent, such as divorce. GenoPro defines 22 types of unions:

Family Relationships in genograms key
Family Relationships in genograms Key

Each type of family relationship is described in the table below:

Family Relationship: Marriage Symbol

This family relationship represents a married couple. There is no special symbol to distinguish a civil marriage from a religious marriage. This information is easily added to the family properties.

Family Relationship: Separation Symbol

This is the generic symbol to describe a married couple who is no longer living together. A separation is displayed by a single oblique bar.

Family Relationship: Legal Separation Symbol

The married couple is separated and has begun legal procedure for an eventual divorce. If you know that a couple is separated, but you are not sure at what point they are in the legal procedure, it is recommended to use the separation in fact symbol.

Family Relationship: Divorce Symbol

The married couple has been granted a divorce.

Family Relationship: Nullity

The marriage was annulled. This is a rare case and legally, it signifies that the marriage never really took place. However, it could be useful to include an annulled marriage in the genogram.

Family Relationship: Widowed

One of the spouse died while the two individuals were married. Use this symbol only when the surviving spouse re-married, otherwise everyone in your ancestry will be widowed.

Family Relationship: Engagement

The two individuals are planning to marry. This status is often achieved by an exchange of engagement rings or an engagement party.

Family Relationship: Engagement and Cohabitation

The two individuals that where planning to marry and have broken their engagement and are no longer planing to marry.

Family Relationship: Engagement and separation

Same as above, except the individuals are living together before the wedding.

Family Relationship: Legal Cohabitation

There is a legal paper trail about the cohabitation. The two individuals have a written contract about the cohabitation status, involving benefits such as parental responsibility, common ownership, and inheritance.

Family Relationship: Legal Cohabitation and Separation

The two individuals no longer live together, and are involved in the process of terminating their cohabitation contract.

Family Relationship: Legal Cohabitation and official (legal) Separation

The two individuals no longer live together and have officially and legally terminated their cohabitation contract.

Family Relationship: Cohabitation

Although there is no legal definition of cohabitation, it generally means to live under the same roof as a couple, without being married. Use this relationship to define the generic common law spouse. There is no such thing as illegal cohabitation!

Family Relationship: Cohabitation and Separation

The generic symbol for two individuals no longer living together.

Family Relationship: Non-Sentimental Cohabitation

A relation where two individuals live together, but there is no exchange of affection. This could be said of a couple who do not share a bedroom.

Family Relationship: Non-Sentimental Cohabitation and Separation

A relation where two individuals used to live together, but there is was no exchange of affection. This could be said of a couple who did not share a bedroom. They no longer live together.

Family Relationship: Dating

The action of seeing someone or dating. This does not involve any type of cohabitation

Family Relationship: Dating and Separation

The two individuals are no longer dating. This could be called ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. Be aware, the term ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend may also be used for cohabitation and separation

Family Relationship: Temporary Relation

This is the polite term for having a mistress or a one night stand. Include this type of relationship in the genogram if a child results from such a relationship.

Family Relationship: Rape

One individual is abusing or has abused the other individual, including including date-rape, drug-rape, and wife-rape. This type of relationship is mostly used in therapy or when a child was the product of such relationship.

Family Relationship: Other or Unknown

A relationship not specified in the list above or unknown to the creator of the genogram. Use this symbol to highlight a unusual type of relationship.

Family Relationship: Not Specified (blank)

Since GenoPro does not create information, a blank value is used to describe an unspecified relationship when creating a new family. This is the symbol used by GenoPro to indicate the user has not yet specified the type of relationship.

Genealogy Tip A family has always two parents. Use the appropriate family relationship symbol to describe the status of the family. For instance, a single parent family (single mother or single father) is still a result of the union of two individuals, however one individual left. If a new partner or spouse is replacing one parent, create a new family to describe the relationship of the new couple. For more information, read rules to build a genogram.

Previous: How to create a genogram walkthrough

Next: Emotional Relationships in Genograms