Chinese Family Tree Explained with Examples

Millions of people go to China to study, live and work. Before immigrating to China, you must consider learning about the buts and bytes of the Chinese language, how to communicate with Chinese people, and, most important and most complex of all, understanding the Chinese family tree. It is a famous saying that understanding Chinese family trees is a complex task, and for understanding the Chinese housing order or the family tree, you have to consult a Chinese teacher or a person. If you want to know about the Chinese family tree and want to know the reason why it is so complicated, then you must read this article carefully.

1. The Mystery of Complicated Chinese Family Tree

If you are a fluent English speaker and suppose you are immigrating to China for any purpose, then with time, you will find a significant difference in English and Chinese family trees. First, we will talk about the English language and how it made our lives easy by ordering the family members most easily. Please close your eyes for a second, take a deep breath, now notice how the English scholars and language innovators organize our family members.

Start from the root, and see whether they are paternal or maternal grandparents; we call them just by the title of "grandfather" or "grandmother." We do not even consider from whose side they belong.

Chinese Family Tree

Click on the image to edit. Source: EdrawMax Online

And then, we have a concept or work of cousin which blankets both dad or mom's side relatives. We use the word cousin for everyone with the same corresponding family line as we have, whether they are from dad or mom's side of the family. There are many examples like this, but we don't want to make our reader board and keep the information concise.

2. The Chinese Way of Kinship

Now, come to the Chinese family trees. Chinese people are so sensitive when it comes to the topic of family. When it comes to ordering the family members, they never forget to consider dad and mom's side, blood, age, married or single, gender, generation gap, etc.

Take the example of the concept of the cousin in the Chinese family tree, as we have also pointed it in the above example. In the complex Chinese family tree, the word cousin is split into eight different ways relevant to the mom or dad's family lineage, blood, gender, etc.

Chinese Family Tree

Click on the image to edit. Source: EdrawMax Online

These discreet things make the Chinese family tree complex to understand. When seeing things from the Chinese perspective, ordering every family member accurately or pronouncing them with the correct title shows respect to them.

We suggest our readers who will meet their friend's family members understand every kinship term used in the Chinese family. The head of the Chinese family, aka grandmother and grandfather, do not take these things lightly, and they consider a granddaughter or son the best in the family due to their correct knowledge of the kinship terms. You can take the guide from the chart posted below.

3. The Correct Chinese Family Vocabulary

In China, relatives of the father and relatives of the mother have different names. It is an excellent sign of respect that you must call every Chinese family member with the correct term used in the Chinese family tree.

You do not have to worry about going through the Chinese dictionary and learning by turning thousands of pages or browsing dozens of pages on the Internet. This section will try to cover every critical concept or word related to the Chinese family tree. Below we have shared information about.

3.1 Vocabulary for Immediate Family

Below are some vocabularies you can utilize to communicate with the Chinese family.

  • Mom - 妈妈 (māma)
  • Dad - 爸爸 (bàba)
  • Wife - 妻子 (Qīzi) or 老婆 (lǎopó)
  • Husband - 丈夫 (Zhàngfū) or 老公 (lǎogōng)
  • Older brother - 哥哥 (Gēge)
  • Older sister - 姐姐 (Jiějie)
  • Younger brother - 弟弟 (Dìdi)
  • Younger sister - 妹妹 (Mèimei)
  • Son - 儿子 (Érzi)
  • Daughter - 女儿 (Nǚ'ér)

Simple Chinese Family Tree

Click on the image to edit. Source: EdrawMax Online

3.2 Vocabulary for Grandparents and Older Relatives

Dad's side:

  • Grandmother - 奶奶 (Nǎinai)
  • Grandfather - 爷爷 (Yéye)

Mum's side:

  • Grandmother - 外婆 (wài pó)
  • Grandfather - 外公 (wàigōng)

3.3 Vocabulary for Aunts and Uncles


Dad's side:

  • Older brother - 伯伯 (Bóbo)
  • Younger brother - 叔叔 (Shūshu)
  • Older sister's husband - 姑父 (Gūfù)
  • Younger sister's husband - 姑父 (Gūfù)

Mum's side:

  • Older or younger brother - 舅舅 (Jiùjiu)


Dad's side:

  • Older sister - 姑妈 (Gūmā)
  • Younger sister - 姑姑 (Gūgu)
  • Older brother's wife - 伯母 (Bómǔ)
  • Younger brother's wife - 婶婶 (Shěnshen)

Mum's side:

  • Older sister - 姨妈 (Yímā)
  • Younger sister - 阿姨 (Āyí)
  • Brother's wife - 舅母 (Jiùmǔ)

3.4 Vocabulary for Cousins

Dad's side:

  • Dad's Brother's son (if older than you) - 堂兄 (Táng xiōng)
  • Sister's son (if younger than you) - 表弟 (Biao dì)
  • Brother's daughter (if older than you) - 堂姐 (Táng jiě)
  • Sister's daughter (if younger than you) - 表妹 (Biao Mèi)

Mum's side:

  • Mum's Brother's/sister's son (if older than you) -表哥 (Biǎo gē)
  • Brother's/sister's son (if younger than you) - 表弟 (Biǎo dì)
  • Brother's/sister's daughter (if older than you) - 表姐 (Biǎo jiě)
  • Brother's/sister's daughter (if younger than you) - 表妹 (Biǎo mèi)

3.5 Vocabulary for Nieces and Nephews


  • Brother's daughter - 侄女 (zhínǚ)
  • Sister's daughter - 外甥女 (wàishengnǚ)


  • Brother's son - 侄子 (zhízi)
  • Sister's son - 外甥 (wàisheng)

3.6 Vocabulary for the In-Laws


  • Husband's father - 公公 (gōnggong)
  • Wife's father - 岳父 (yuèfù)


  • Husband's mother - 婆婆 (pópo)
  • Wife's mother - 岳母 (yuèmǔ)


  • Your older sister's husband - 姐夫 (Jiěfū)
  • Your younger sister's husband - 妹夫 (Mèifū)


  • Your older brother's wife - 嫂子 (Sǎo zi)
  • Your younger brother's wife - 弟妹 (Dìmèi)

4. Online Family Tree Maker

We care about our reader's work, so we are cherished to suggest to them the best online and offline diagram-making application that they can run on their browsers and desktops. The application is called EdrawMax Online, developed by Wondershare.

Draw Chinese Family Trees Online

EdrawMax Online is the well-known and most-desired tool with the emergence of the pandemic and remote working. The application allows its users to make almost 280 types of diagrams and contains over five thousand diagram symbols related to every kind of diagram. EdrawMax is perfect for your diagram-making because,

  • The application integrates cloud integration, so user data is always secured and synchronized.
  • The application also contains pre-generated templates, and you can use them to boost your productivity and avoid errors.
  • You can also collaborate with your team with EdrawMax.
  • EdrawMax also allows users to import their projects and share and export them in multiple formats.

5. Key Takeaways

You have detailed and complete information about the Chinese family tree and terms related to every family member. You can read this article if you have a meeting with a Chinese family in the future. You can make perfect and best family tree diagrams with the most efficient tool called EdrawMax. The application has all the features and tools that you can utilize to create an ideal family tree or any diagram.

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