The novel is about ancestors, who are called kindred.
The word “kindred” refers to those of one’s own kind, or one’s relatives. The book involves time travel back to Dana’s family. The people she comes into contact with are her ancestors. Therefore, they are all basically in it together even though they are from different time periods.
Well, maybe, if I wasn’t completely out of my mind…if the child before me was real and telling the truth, he might be one of my ancestors. (p. 28)
As Dana travels back in time again and again, she meets several of her ancestors. She is in fact related to Rufus. She has seen his name in her family Bible, along with Alice. She knows that Alice is one of her ancestors, but she thinks she is slave. At first she does not see how a free black child could be married to Rufus and one of her relatives. She later finds out, and comes to know and understand her relatives more than she could any other way.