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What does “Beyond Kin” mean?

“Beyond Kin” refers to people who had an important connection to each other, without being biologically or legally kin.  This project recognizes that a person’s life story might have been more fundamentally affected by non-kin relationships than it was by traditional kinship. Our genealogy becomes all the richer for connecting the Beyond Kin to our ancestor’s stories.

We place the emphasis in The Beyond Kin Project upon the life-altering connections between slaveholders and the enslaved persons who shared their environments. Creating these ties in software also automatically creates Beyond Kin relationships between the enslaved persons, who shared their life circumstances without necessarily being related to each other.

There are a number of other possible Beyond Kin relationships, including:

  • Orphans in institutions
  • Prisoners
  • Apprentices and indentured servants
  • Neighbors
  • Business partners
  • Military comrades

The software documentation method we propose here can be used to connect any of these relationships.

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