Charting Relationships

August 20, 2014 § 4 Comments

It can be devilishly difficult to figure out relationships among people in your head, especially when your client says something like, “She was my double third cousin on my momma’s side, and she married my husband’s great-uncle’s niece after her first husband died.”

But it has to be done in estate work, property (especially partition), wrongful death, and in any case where you have to compute relationships within the third degree.

One super tool is the Nolan Chart of Relationships and Degrees of Kindred, which is reproduced below:



You can access a large-size .jpg file by clicking this link.

You will also find it at 51 So.2d 542.

I’ve posted about the Nolan Chart here before.


May 7, 2012 § 2 Comments

Every now and then you run into a statute that requires you to join a relative “within the third degree.” MCA § 93-19-3, for removal of disabilities of minority, requires that, if the parents are not living, you must join as defendants ” … two of his adult kin within the third degree, computed according to the civil law …” A similar provision is in MCA § 93-13-281, dealing with suits involving wards.

So who exactly are the kin within the third degree? Parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, great-grandparent and great-grandchild.

That’s what the Nolan Chart of Relationships and Degrees of Kindred According to the Civil Law tells us. You can find it reproduced in the Alabama case of Owen v. State, 255 Ala. 354, 355, 51 So.2d 541, 542 (1951). It has been cited in Mississippi appellate cases, such as Matter of Estate of Ford, 552 So.2d 1065, 1066-67 (Miss.1989).

You’ll find the Nolan Chart useful in many ways. When you are trying to determine heirs in an estate, it helps you to translate “She was my grandmother’s sister’s daughter’s third child” into a relationship that even a judge could understand.

An added bonus of the chart is that it will help you understand, once and for all, that your first cousin’s children are not your second cousins. Check out the chart for yourself and you’ll see.

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