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Clan Families

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Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging
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Clan families are a group of families or households that claim descent from a common ancestor. These types of social groups create a sense of belonging to and with one another based upon claims that manifest into a form of active solidarity with and between clan members. Oftentimes the ancestral connection is to a common DNA ancestor, a supernatural being, totem, or geographical location. Membership into a clan family is acquired through birth, marriage, or adoption, and unlike ethnicity or race, clan membership is easily identifiable because of the family names or the families’ or to the ancestors’ geographical place of origin (Yang 2019).


There are different clan systems found in Europe, India, North American, and Africa so clan system rules/customs/traditions can greatly differ. Some common characteristics are that clan families are most often located in villages that are typically comprised of about 100 households or less (Yang 2019). The name of the village...

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Correspondence to Anastacia Schulhoff .

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Schulhoff, A. (2019). Clan Families. In: Gu, D., Dupre, M. (eds) Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-69892-2

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