changing relations

So lets say you are married and your wife’s younger sister is interested in your (adult) nephew. If they got married would your wife’s sister be both sister and niece?

I’ve never heard “niece” used to refer to the spouse of one’s nephew.

No. Niece and nephew are blood relations.

In my family, the wives of uncles became aunts.

If you count back a thousand years or so, you will find that your ancestors outnumber the population of the earth. Everybody was related to you in several different ways at the same time. If you are Caucasian, your European family tree has more branches than the population of Europe at the time of Columbus. There will be some people you are not descended from at all, but some others you are connected to through a dozen different limbs, each one with its own separate lineage.

So everybody is your cousin, many times over. Maybe 53rd cousin 6 times removed.

I knew a couple who were step-sister and step-brother (her father married his mother). They got married, and she often commented that her children were also her niece and nephews.

I’d never heard this before. In both of my marriages, I’ve referred to the relevant in-laws as nieces and nephews, and I was “Uncle” to them. Is the blood relation supposed to be inherent in the definition?

Unless you’re drawing up a will or something like that there’s little reason to care if a niece or nephew is related by blood or marriage. I consider my wife’s brother’s wife to be my sister-in-law, it’s the easiest way to describe the relationship. And it would really only matter within the family, the specifics of the relationship are nobody else’s business.

That seems bizarre what do you call the wife of your dad’s brother? Aunt right? So if that woman is your Aunt why wouldn’t you be her nephew (or niece)?

I’ll amend that; one’s spouses’ siblings are treated as equivalent to one’s own. Your sister-in-law’s son is equally your nephew, as your own sister’s son. But their wives do not become your nieces.

This is just my understanding of the traditional British and American reckoning; obviously it is possible to have views and terms which are more or less inclusive, and more or less specific.

Yes, per amendment above. But my wife is not her niece.

According to the Unabridged Random house dictionary next to me:

Niece n. 1. a daughter of a person’s brother or sister. 2. a daughter of a person’s spouse’s brother or sister.

There is a difference between courtesy titles and a blood relationship. My uncle’s wife was referred to as my aunt, but when I talked to my doctor about family history and health, she was never mentioned.

So, in kidding, you could call her sister and niece, but it’s ju by marriage, not blood.

Yeah, I’m finding Chronos’s and Peremensoe’s flat statements a little odd as well. I have several aunts and uncles by blood who are married and their spouses are my uncles and aunts as well, even if it’s technically uncles- and aunts-in-law and I don’t see why the same logic doesn’t apply here.

That’s what I’m saying. It’s not “3. a spouse of a person’s nephew.”

My brother and I are married to sisters. I guess in some strange way my brother is also my brother-in-law.

That reminds me of the old joke: If a man and wife get divorced in Arkansas, are they still legally brother and sister?

Guy Lombardo weighed in on a similar issue.

Right, a spouse of an aunt or uncle is also an aunt or uncle, and a niece or nephew of one’s spouse is also one’s niece or nephew. But a spouse of a niece or nephew doesn’t have any particular title.

At least, that’s the standard definition. Different families might use different definitions. But in that case, you have to ask that family, not us.

It depends on the family. My aunt, my moms sister, is called “Aunt Martha” by my cousins on my dads side. To be as clear as I can be tonight, my dads brothers kids call my moms sister Aunt Martha. Legally though, they are of no relation.

No, she is not married to anyone, so no weird “my aunt is my mom” or other such oddness.

I call my nephews wife my niece, she calls me Uncle 48. I also call my cousins kids my niece & my nephew, although, AIUI, they are my 2nd cousins. We are fairly loose with all of the niece/nephew stuff.

IMHO, Whatever works for your family is fine. Legally though, I suppose it matters to someone. Not I, but someone may care.

My parents. A few years after they were married, my widowed maternal grandfather married my widowed paternal grandmother. This all happened before I was born, so they were the only grandparents I ever knew.

To complicate things, my (paternal) grandmother and her sister were identical twins, and they were originally married to identical twin brothers.

No, they are your first cousins, once removed. Some of my cousins are great-grandparents. All of their descendants are my first cousins, removed various amounts.

Your kids and your cousins’ kids are second cousins to each other.