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23 December 2013

Grandma Isn't Really Grandma

Sometimes relationship terms are also used as terms of affection, even if there is no biological relationship. Take care when a letter, diary, or a relative refers to someone as an "aunt" or an "uncle." The use of the term may have been done out of respect and not necessarily indicate a biological relationship.

Of course, you may gain some clues or insight by researching this person, but if you find no biological connection between the individual and your family be open to the possibility that "Grandma" was[n't] really "Grandma" after all.

Thanks to reader N for this suggested tip.

And thanks to anonymous who notified me of the typo! The correction has been made in red.


  1. *wasn't really "Grandma" after all.

  2. As you said, sometimes there is no relationship at all. My father had a classmate in boarding school who our family called "Uncle Gus." He was not an uncle and his name wasn't Gus. lish He was an English exchange student and the first exchange srudent had been Gus (Augustus?) so, at that school, each exchange student was called Gus.

  3. So right! I went on a wild goose chase trying to figure out the owner of an autograph album who was called "Mother" by one of the signers, in a youngish hand, and, thankfully, Mrs. Hunter by another. The two did not jive so the girl who inscribed her page to "Mother" must have been a best friend of the owner's daughter or some such. If not for the page dedicated to Mrs. Hunter, I might have assumed the album belonged to the young signer's mother.