I have a puzzling genealogical question, but first you must be prefaced.

My family tree contains two half-siblings. (Google "half-sibling family tree" to see what I mean.)

Now my half siblings and I share the same mother. My father's last name is Smith and my half-brother's father's last name is Jones

In what ways am I related to the Jones?

For example, am I related to my half-brother's father, because I am related to his son, who is obviously related to him?

To clarify, my mother never married with one of the Smiths, only with the Jones. This is why I used the terms "marriage" and then "relationship", respectively.

Basically, my relation to the Jones' only extends to my half-brother, anything afterwards, and the relation dissolves or isn't present?

  • 1
    Which of your mother's marriages/relationships came first?
    – bgwiehle
    Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 17:58
  • @PolyGeo: The (potentially) living persons aspect is irrelevant to the question. user1405 is asking for relationship terms. How is this question unacceptable when "What is my relationship to the spouse of my cousin?" & "Determining name for family relationship that involves a step daughter?" were ok? My previous comment addressed whether the other family were stepfather and step-grandparents, etc. or just the ancestors of a half-sibling.
    – bgwiehle
    Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 23:21
  • Waiting on clarification of relationship order from the OP. However, the basics of an answer were in my 2nd comment, minor elaboration possible, if warranted. The OP was already conscious of his relatives' privacy, as a substitute (and I thought unnecessary) family image was supplied. (Just occurred to me that you may not have recognized the image's individuals as famous and long-dead persons).
    – bgwiehle
    Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 23:56
  • @bgwiehle: My mother's marriage with the Jones' came first, they were then divorced, and my mother's relationship with the Smiths' occurred. Not sure how this helps though.
    – user1405
    Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 0:54
  • @bgwiehle The question is now re-opened. George Washington is known even here but I was not certain whether that family tree was meant to be a one-to-one mapping to that of the "Smith" and "Jones" names.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 1:50

1 Answer 1


Bear with me through the obvious stuff.

Family relationships fall in to 3 categories:

  • related by blood (mother, father, siblings, grandparents, etc.)
  • related by marriage (spouse, step-parent, etc.)
  • related by adoption, which can be formal or informal. Normally used only for nuclear family relationships, but I include other voluntary connections or associations for the purposes of this discussion.

In your family, you are related by blood to both of your parents, and all their ancestors. Because of your mother, you are related to your half-brother, and he to you.

Your "Jones" half-brother would be related to your father as step-son, because the "Smith" relationship (common-law marriage?) came 2nd. But you cannot say you are Mr. "Jones'" stepson because that marriage was already dissolved.

While not a given, most grandparents will acknowledge step-grandchildren, who are brought into the family through marriage. (In fact, obituaries don't always make the distinction, which complicates verifying counts of descendants). So, your "Jones" half-brother also has step-grandparents, because the "Smith" marriage came 2nd.

But any relationship you have with your half-brother's paternal relatives is not through marriage or blood, but only because of your half-brother. "Adoption" of children of a subsequent marriage into the family of a previous marriage does happen, although rare. There is no "official" name for these informal relationships between living persons, although individuals likely will use normal relationship words to each other.

In general, you have no relationship to your half-brother's relatives, the "Jones" family.

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