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During the last few decades, family ties have been the object of much research conducted by historical demographers and historians of the family. This is mostly due to two factors. First, the great diversity of relations existing both within and on the border of the family has been fully accounted for. Second, there has been some reflection on the complexities and implications of measuring family ties. This article provides an overview of these methodological and analytical developments. It covers, first of all, the primary relationship—marriage. Subsequently, it analyzes a broader concept of family and kinship, including actors such as grandparents, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts. Then, it focuses on the position of kinship within the broader familial and social network (taking into account how different social ties were used, and the sources available to study them). The picture is completed by an overview of the literature on the specific case of the tie of godparenthood, which until recently was considered a full-fledged kinship tie in most of the Christian world, and the study of which has greatly intensified in the last 15 years.

Guido Alfani
Vincent Gourdon
Cyril Grange
Marion Trévisi
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