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In human society, family (from Latin: familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of society. Ideally, families would offer predictability, structure, and safety as members mature and participate in the community. In most societies, it is within families that children acquire socialization for life outside the family, and acts as the primary source of attachment, nurturing, and socialization for humans. Additionally, as the basic unit for meeting the basic needs of its members, it provides a sense of boundaries for performing tasks in a safe environment, ideally builds a person into a functional adult, transmits culture, and ensures continuity of humankind with precedents of knowledge.

Anthropologists generally classify most family organizations as matrifocal (a mother and her children); patrifocal (a father and his children); conjugal (a wife, her husband, and children, also called the nuclear family); avuncular (for example, a grandparent, a brother, his sister, and her children); or extended (parents and children co-reside with other members of one parent's family).

Members of the immediate family may include spouses, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters. Members of the extended family may include aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, and siblings-in-law. Sometimes these are also considered members of the immediate family, depending on an individual's specific relationship with them, and the legal definition of "immediate family" varies. Sexual relations with family members are regulated by rules concerning incest such as the incest taboo.

The field of genealogy aims to trace family lineages through history. The family is also an important economic unit studied in family economics. The word "families" can be used metaphorically to create more inclusive categories such as community, nationhood, and global village.

Family Media

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HM the Gyalmo, HH Prince Palden, HH Princess Hope

HM the Gyalmo, HH Prince Palden, HH Princess Hope

Photograph shows Queen Hope Cooke with her children, Prince Palden and Princess Hope Leezum, Gangtok, Sikkim.

Enjambée de la sainte famille des Thuilleries à Montmidy

Enjambée de la sainte famille des Thuilleries à Montmidy

Print shows Marie Antoinette taking an enormous step from the rooftop of the Tuileries Palace in Paris to Montmédy, she is holding the royal scepter, from which the tip has broken off, in her right hand, Louis ... More

Le roi arrivant a Paris avec sa famille, escorté de plus de trente mille ames, le 6 Octobre 1789 Prieur inv. & del. ; Berthault sculp

Le roi arrivant a Paris avec sa famille, escorté de plus de trente mil...

Print shows the arrival in Paris of Louis XVI and his family accompanied by a large mob of citizens. Title from item. Illustration from: Collection complète des tableaux historiques de la révolution française. ... More

[Portrait of ten men including Anderson D. Johnston (seated second from right)]

[Portrait of ten men including Anderson D. Johnston (seated second fro...

Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection (Library of Congress).

[Mary Bannister, wife of Private George H. Bannister of Company H, 13th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment]

[Mary Bannister, wife of Private George H. Bannister of Company H, 13t...

Photo shows identified woman. Title devised by Library staff. Case: Berg, no. 3-19. Found in case with tintype of George Bannister, processed as AMB/TIN no. 2351. Gift; Tom Liljenquist; 2010; (DLC/PP-2010:105).... More

Dr. Wm. Bryant Johnston, Germantown, Kentucky

Dr. Wm. Bryant Johnston, Germantown, Kentucky

Dr. William Bryant Johnston, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly left. Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection (Library of Congress).

Little Mollie Garfield & her father, Mathew Brady Photograph, 1850s.

Little Mollie Garfield & her father, Mathew Brady Photograph, 1850s.

James Garfield, full-length portrait, seated, facing right, with daughter Mollie at his knee. No. 4. Copy of Brady original photograph. Forms part of: Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection (Library of Congress).

President A. Lincoln reading the Bible to his son / retouched and photographed by A. Berger, 285 Fulton Street, Brooklyn.

President A. Lincoln reading the Bible to his son / retouched and phot...

Photograph shows Abraham Lincoln, seated, facing right, reading to his son Tad, standing to the President's left, facing front.

The home of Washington / painted by T.P. Rossiter & L.R. Mignot ; engraved by Thos. Oldham Barlow.

The home of Washington / painted by T.P. Rossiter & L.R. Mignot ; engr...

Print shows George Washington standing on the patio at Mount Vernon, talking with a man who is holding a paper that may be a "Pennsylvania" newspaper; two women are sitting at a table on the right with a young ... More

[Zieber family outside their Philadelphia home at Broad and Girard Ave.]

[Zieber family outside their Philadelphia home at Broad and Girard Ave...

Stereograph showing Zieber family group on the lawn. Inscribed on verso: From left Mrs. W. B. Zieber, Miss Rebecca Vanderslice, Mr. W.B.Z. with Anna L. Zieber on his lap, Eugene on his velocipede, Will Zieber s... More

Cora Berliner, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing slightly left

Cora Berliner, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing slightly ...

Originally housed in Joseph Sanders Collection Box 5. Stamped Clinedinst Studio. Mounted in folder labeled on front: "Clinedinst Studio, 733 14th St N.W., Washington, D.C."

Cora Berliner having tea with unidentified group

Cora Berliner having tea with unidentified group

Verso: " Cora Adler Berliner (Mrs. Emile)".

President Grant at his cottage by the sea

President Grant at his cottage by the sea

Photograph shows President Ulysses S. Grant on vacation, seated on porch with his wife, Julia, and son, Jesse, in Long Branch, New Jersey. Copyright by G.W. Pach.

Winema or Tobey Riddle and son--Celebrated Modoc Indian who saved Col. Meacham's life in 1873
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