Sunday, January 13, 2013

Numbering Styles

This is a continuation of yesterday's post. I mentioned the National Genealogical Society Quarterly's (NGSQ) "style" and I wanted to expand on that. If you plan on writing formal reports or writing for genealogical journals, you will need to acquaint yourself with the common numbering styles.

The two most common are the Register System, the style used by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEGHS), and the Modified Register System, more commonly known as the NGSQ System, used by the National Genealogical Society.

WHY are these systems in place and required by these publications? Again, it is all about CONSISTENCY. The journals published by these two societies require that you follow their standards when submitting articles so that the data is presented in a uniform and consistent manner.

If you want to submit an article/compiled genealogy to any journal/magazine, you need to check their "submission guidelines" which will tell you exactly what you need to do. Just for fun I checked to see what the submission guidelines are for a journal I am not familiar with at all. I chose the journal published by the Texas State Genealogical Society. Here are their Submission Guidelines. Though they don't specify a numbering system, they are very specific on how you are to cite your sources. If I were to submit a compiled genealogy to this journal I would use one of the accepted numbering systems.

When you are preparing a compiled genealogy for a client (whether a paid client or pro bono) you should also be following some sort of style guide. Though the above two are the most common, there are others. The best resource for to learn about the various numbering systems is Numbering Your Genealogy, Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin by Joan Ferris Curran, Madilyn Coen Crane and John H. Wray. It is excellent. Another great resource that has examples is the BCG Genealogical Standards Manual.

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment, I have some good news for you. All of the top genealogy program will put your research into one of the standard formats for you when you print a report. Legacy Family Tree gives me the option of register, modified register (NGSQ), Henry, d'Aboville, and d'Villiers/Pama. The one thing that I will warn you about is that genealogy database programs aren't perfect and you will need to go back through and check the output making changes as needed.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis

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