Family Seniority

As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
Post Reply
darkerhorse
Master
Master
Posts: 1582
Joined: 11 Jun 2020, 18:31

Family Seniority

Post by darkerhorse »

Which cousin has seniority in the extended family - the oldest cousin or the cousin whose father is the oldest?
continuo
Rookie
Rookie
Posts: 31
Joined: 29 Apr 2019, 15:14

Re: Family Seniority

Post by continuo »

I'd be surprised if those traditions are applied to collateral descendants. They are really designed around the idea of showing respect for your elders. A cousin, even if older than you, isn't an elder in the same sense.
darkerhorse
Master
Master
Posts: 1582
Joined: 11 Jun 2020, 18:31

Re: Family Seniority

Post by darkerhorse »

In my case, the extended family were Sicilian immigrants who transplanted to the U.S.

There was a core of 1st cousins. The second oldest male, whose father happened to be the oldest uncle, was called the "president" of the family, and functioned as the organizer.

So, it looks like either he received seniority by virtue of his father being senior, or maybe he was just the most qualified or most ambitious.

I wonder if my family was an exception or maybe it's a Sicilian tradition to have a senior person named for each generation - Pippo what do you say?
User avatar
PippoM
Master
Master
Posts: 4320
Joined: 25 Aug 2004, 00:00
Location: Roma, Italia
Contact:

Re: Family Seniority

Post by PippoM »

Well, first of all, I would understand what you mean by "seniority"...
Giuseppe "Pippo" Moccaldi

Certificate requests and genealogical researches in Italy.
Translation of your (old) documents and letters.
Legal assistance in Italy for your Italian citizenship.
darkerhorse
Master
Master
Posts: 1582
Joined: 11 Jun 2020, 18:31

Re: Family Seniority

Post by darkerhorse »

By seniority I mean the one considered to be the head of the family. Of course, in the immediate family the tradition is that the father is the head and then the oldest son.

What about among cousins from different immediate families? Is one cousin considered the head of all cousins?

As I said, in my grandfather's case his cousin Salvatore was called the "president" of the family and the others looked to him for leadership. For example, he organized annual family gatherings.
darkerhorse
Master
Master
Posts: 1582
Joined: 11 Jun 2020, 18:31

Re: Family Seniority

Post by darkerhorse »

u capu
continuo
Rookie
Rookie
Posts: 31
Joined: 29 Apr 2019, 15:14

Re: Family Seniority

Post by continuo »

Yeah, that sounds to me more like a charismatic person rather than someone who is there through the rules of tradition. You could call someone capofamiglia and not mean it in a literal sense.

Suppose you have two older brothers - A and B. Next month you are planning to baptize your firstborn child and are excited to send out the invitations. However, we're living in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic and the church only allows a maximum of 10 guests. You can't invite both A and B. You have to choose.

A, you have had a close relationship with throughout your life. B, you are less close to, but he is the older brother. Who do you invite?

Now you may want to invite A, but you have to invite B. You may not even like B. But that's immaterial. If you invite A, you won't simply hurt B's feelings, you'll have shown your elder brother disrespect by violating tradition.

This is seniority based upon tradition as I would imagine it. Admittedly, my example is contrived. But now try and imagine a situation like I described above applying to a cousin. I could be wrong, but I just don't see it. Though maybe others will correct me.
Post Reply