Sunday, November 18, 2012

Question About Numbering Systems

Public Service Announcement: I sent a request for a duplicate Find-A-Grave memorial to be deleted. I couldn't send the request to the person who had added the memorial because that person was no longer an active member. I sent the request to edit@findagrave.com on 02 Oct 2012. I got my response on 17 Nov 2012.

Thank you for contributing to Find A Grave! The memorials have been merged.
Take care,
Find A Grave admin.

So the corrections will be made, you just need to be patient.


Elaine asks:

Thanks for letting us all know about this webinar*. I listened to it and now have a "novice" question. Linda Geiger mentioned a genealogical numbering system - Ahnentafel (also mentioned something about sosa-stradonitz) - are these the same thing? Is this numbering system just for pedigree's? I started using the Legacy Family Tree recently and put myself first (number 1) and then added my husband (so now he's listed as number 2) and then my father/mother (numbers 3/4). Then I added my children and siblings, etc. Linda was talking about filing things according to the Ahnentafel numbering system.... ??? Your thoughts?
*Elaine is referring to Genealogy for Novices: Where Do We Being?

Ahnentafel and Sosa-Stradonitz are the same thing. This is a numbering system for ASCENDING genealogists. This is what you will see on direct line pedigree charts.

Your starting person will be #1. To find the father of any person on the chart you take their number and multiply it by 2. To find the mother of any person on the chart you take their number and multiply it by 2 and then add 1. All males on the chart will be even numbers and all females will be odd numbers. The person in the #1 spot can be male or female. Your #1 person is whoever your starting person is for the family you are writing about. If I am writing about my great-grandfather and his ancestors then my great-grandfather is my #1. His father would be #2.

If you are writing a compiled genealogy report (not a simple direct line pedigree chart), you can add in the non direct line siblings by using lower case Roman numerals.

Here are examples. They aren't the best quality because I am having to do screen shots so that I can save them as jpg images which are a lot easier to post on the blog than pdfs. If you click on the image it will get bigger

1)This is a 4 generation pedigree chart with my dad as the #1 anchor person. Everyone's Ahnentafel number is right before their name.

2) This is a small section of a report using the Ahnentafel/Sosa-Stradonitz system. You can see where I have added lower case Roman numerals for the non direct line children. Because of the number of footnotes, I can't get the entire generation on one page. The anchor person for this report is James Elexander Simmons. These are children iv - vii for James and his wife Corrine. James is actually #4 on the above pedigree chart but in this report he is my anchor person so he is #1. The green squiggly lines are just Microsoft Office telling me that it doesn't like my formatting.

There is another system for recording ascending genealogies (in reports, not on pedigree charts) called the multi-surname system. I have never used it so I am not going to explain it here. It is explained in the booklet that I recommend below.

There are two numbering systems for DESCENDING genealogies. The Register System and the NGSQ System which is also known as the Modified Register System. These are the ones you will see in the top journals. You CAN use the Sosa-Stradonitz system but it is much less common and it must conform to the standards in the Register or Modified Register, depending on the journal. Since I want you to join some genealogical societies that publish journals, I won't post examples of these. You can read more about why you need to join genealogical societies HERE.

There are several other systems out there but these are the most common. The numbering systems aren't that big of a deal though for the average genealogist. All of the genealogy programs will put your numbers in for you when you generate reports. However, if you plan to write an article for any of the top journals then you will need to know these systems inside and out because each journal has its own requirements for which one you must use. Many times the reports that are generated by genealogy programs are just not 100% sufficient. You will either need to edit or write it up from scratch.

An excellent resource is Numbering Your Genealogy : Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin By Curran, Crane and Wray.

I wouldn't use Ahnentafel numbers for my filing system because they are very limiting. Your direct line ancestors are the only ones that are assigned numbers. You could add a lower case Roman numeral behind the number to denote a non direct line sibling but once you get any more collateral than that you won't have a filing number. People that use numbers to file usually use their computer database generation RIN or MRIN numbers (record identification number or marriage identification number). To learn how to file by MRIN, you can go through Karen Clifford's Organize Your Paper Files tutorial.


Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis

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