The article highlights the significance of alliances of blood and marriage in early modern England and beyond, including both positive and negative relations among kin. Examining different historiographical approaches, it emphasizes the role of kinship in explanations of historical change and continuity. Rather than focusing on the isolated nuclear family or, conversely, on an alleged decline of kinship, it highlights the importance of enmeshed patterns of kinship and connectedness. Such patterns were not only important in themselves (whether culturally, socially, economically, or politically), it is suggested, but they also invite new comparisons with other early modern societies, and in the long run. Even patterns typical of present-day ‘new families’ and ‘families of choice’, or aspects of the present-day language of kinship may bring to mind some similarities with notions of kinship and related ‘household-family’ ties characteristic of the early modern period, the article proposes.