Genealogical numbering systems
Several genealogical numbering systems have been widely adopted for presenting family trees and pedigree charts in text format. Among the most popular numbering systems are: Ahnentafel (Sosa-Stradonitz Method), and the Register, NGSQ, Henry, d'Aboville, Meurgey de Tupigny, and de Villiers/Pama Systems.
Ascending numbering systems
Ahnentafel, also known as the Eytzinger Method, Sosa Method, and Sosa-Stradonitz Method, allows for the numbering of ancestors beginning with a descendant. This system allows one to derive an ancestor's number without compiling the list and allows one to derive an ancestor's relationship based on their number.
The number of a person's father is the double of their own number, and the number of a person's mother is the double of their own, plus one. For instance, if the number of John Smith is 10, his father is 20, and his mother is 21.
The first 15 numbers, identifying individuals in 4 generations, are as follows:
(First Generation) 1 Subject (Second Generation) 2 Father 3 Mother (Third Generation) 4 Father's father 5 Father's mother 6 Mother's father 7 Mother's mother (Fourth Generation) 8 Father's father's father 9 Father's father's mother 10 Father's mother's father 11 Father's mother's mother 12 Mother's father's father 13 Mother's father's mother 14 Mother's mother's father 15 Mother's mother's mother
atree or Binary Ahnentafel method uses the same numbering of nodes in the binary ancestors tree as Ahnentafel method, but uses binary numbers instead. For a female in the root the correspondence between binary and atree numbering is straightforward, but for male in the root - the first digit is 1 (i.e. M anyway) - to avoid trimming 0s. The advantage of atree system is easier understanding of the genealogical path (as a path from the root) and binary numbering system is natural for the binary tree.
The first 15 numbers in 4 generations in atree system (note that "M" and "F" represent "male [ancestor]" and "female [ancestor]" respectively, as opposed to "mother" and "father"):
_ [Placeholder for subject, to be filled with M if subject is male or F if subject is female] _M Father _F Mother _MM Father's father _MF Father's mother _FM Mother's father _FF Mother's mother _MMM Father's father's father _MMF Father's father's mother _MFM Father's mother's father _MFF Father's mother's mother _FMM Mother's father's father _FMF Mother's father's mother _FFM Mother's mother's father _FFF Mother's mother's mother
Explanation of the correspondence between atree IDs and Ahnentafel decimal IDs:
|person||Ahnentafel format||binary format||atree (for women)||atree (for men)|
Genealogical writers sometimes choose to present ancestral lines by carrying back individuals with their spouses or single families generation by generation. The siblings of the individual or individuals studied may or may not be named for each family. This method is most popular in simplified single surname studies, however, allied surnames of major family branches may be carried back as well. In general, numbers are assigned only to the primary individual studied in each generation.
Descending numbering systems
The system was created in 1870 for use in the New England Historic and Genealogical Register published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society based in Boston, Massachusetts. Register Style, of which the numbering system is part, is one of two major styles used in the U.S. for compiling descending genealogies. (The other being the NGSQ System.)
(–Generation One–) 1 Progenitor 2 i Child ii Child (no progeny) iii Child (no progeny) 3 iv Child
(–Generation Two–) 2 Child i Grandchild (no progeny) ii Grandchild (no progeny) 3 Child 4 i Grandchild
(–Generation Three–) 4 Grandchild 5 i Great-grandchild ii Great-grandchild (no progeny) 6 iii Great-grandchild 7 iv Great-grandchild
The NGSQ System gets its name from the National Genealogical Society Quarterly published by the National Genealogical Society headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, which uses the method in its articles. It is sometimes called the "Record System" or the "Modified Register System" because it derives from the Register System. The most significant difference between the NGSQ and the Register Systems is in the method of numbering for children who are not carried forward into future generations: The NGSQ System assigns a number to every child, whether or not that child is known to have progeny, and the Register System does not. Other differences between the two systems are mostly stylistic.
(–Generation One–) 1 Progenitor + 2 i Child 3 ii Child (no progeny) 4 iii Child (no progeny) + 5 iv Child
(–Generation Two–) 2 Child 6 i Grandchild (no progeny) 7 ii Grandchild (no progeny) 5 Child + 8 i Grandchild
(–Generation Three–) 8 Grandchild + 9 i Great-grandchild 10 ii Great-grandchild (no progeny) + 11 iii Great-grandchild + 12 iv Great-grandchild
The Henry System is a descending system created by Reginald Buchanan Henry for a genealogy of the families of the presidents of the United States that he wrote in 1935. It can be organized either by generation or not. The system begins with 1. The oldest child becomes 11, the next child is 12, and so on. The oldest child of 11 is 111, the next 112, and so on. The system allows one to derive an ancestor's relationship based on their number. For example, 621 is the first child of 62, who is the second child of 6, who is the sixth child of his parents.
In the Henry System, when there are more than nine children, X is used for the 10th child, A is used for the 11th child, B is used for the 12th child, and so on. In the Modified Henry System, when there are more than nine children, numbers greater than nine are placed in parentheses.
Henry Modified Henry 1. Progenitor 1. Progenitor 11. Child 11. Child 111. Grandchild 111. Grandchild 1111. Great-grandchild 1111. Great-grandchild 1112. Great-grandchild 1112. Great-grandchild 112. Grandchild 112. Grandchild 12. Child 12. Child 121. Grandchild 121. Grandchild 1211. Great-grandchild 1211. Great-grandchild 1212. Great-grandchild 1212. Great-grandchild 122. Grandchild 122. Grandchild 1221. Great-grandchild 1221. Great-grandchild 123. Grandchild 123. Grandchild 124. Grandchild 124. Grandchild 125. Grandchild 125. Grandchild 126. Grandchild 126. Grandchild 127. Grandchild 127. Grandchild 128. Grandchild 128. Grandchild 129. Grandchild 129. Grandchild 12X. Grandchild 12(10). Grandchild
The d'Aboville System is a descending numbering method developed by Jacques d'Aboville in 1940 that is very similar to the Henry System, widely used in France. It can be organized either by generation or not. It differs from the Henry System in that periods are used to separate the generations and no changes in numbering are needed for families with more than nine children. For example:
1 Progenitor 1.1 Child 1.1.1 Grandchild 18.104.22.168 Great-grandchild 22.214.171.124 Great-grandchild 1.1.2 Grandchild 1.2 Child 1.2.1 Grandchild 126.96.36.199 Great-grandchild 188.8.131.52 Great-grandchild 1.2.2 Grandchild 184.108.40.206 Great-grandchild 1.2.3 Grandchild 1.2.4 Grandchild 1.2.5 Grandchild 1.2.6 Grandchild 1.2.7 Grandchild 1.2.8 Grandchild 1.2.9 Grandchild 1.2.10 Grandchild
Meurgey de Tupigny System
The Meurgey de Tupigny System is a simple numbering method used for single surname studies and hereditary nobility line studies developed by Jacques Meurgey de Tupigny of the National Archives of France, published in 1953.
Each generation is identified by a Roman numeral (I, II, III, ...), and each child and cousin in the same generation carrying the same surname is identified by an Arabic numeral. The numbering system usually appears on or in conjunction with a pedigree chart. Example:
I Progenitor II-1 Child III-1 Grandchild IV-1 Great-grandchild IV-2 Great-grandchild III-2 Grandchild III-3 Grandchild III-4 Grandchild II-2 Child III-5 Grandchild IV-3 Great-grandchild IV-4 Great-grandchild IV-5 Great-grandchild III-6 Grandchild
de Villiers/Pama System
The de Villiers/Pama System gives letters to generations, and then numbers children in birth order. For example:
a Progenitor b1 Child c1 Grandchild d1 Great-grandchild d2 Great-grandchild c2 Grandchild c3 Grandchild b2 Child c1 Grandchild d1 Great-grandchild d2 Great-grandchild d3 Great-grandchild c2 Grandchild c3 Grandchild
In this system, b2.c3 is the third child of the second child, and is one of the progenitor's grandchildren.
The de Villiers/Pama system is the standard for genealogical works in South Africa. It was developed in the 19th century by Christoffel Coetzee de Villiers and used in his three volume Geslachtregister der Oude Kaapsche Familien (Genealogies of Old Cape Families). The system was refined by Dr. Cornelis (Cor) Pama, one of the founding members of the Genealogical Society of South Africa.
- Ancestral File Number
- Cousin chart (Table of consanguinity)
- Family tree
- Family tree mapping
- Kinship terminology
- Pedigree chart
- Pedigree collapse
- Curran, Joan Ferris. Numbering Your Genealogy: Sound and Simple Systems. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 1992.
- Curran, Joan Ferris, Madilyn Coen Crane, and John H. Wray.Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 1999.
- Henry, Reginald Buchanan. Genealogies of the Families of the Presidents. Rutland, Vermont: The Tuttle Company, 1935.
- Généalogie-Standard: Les systèmes de numérotation (Numbering Systems)
- Encyclopedia of Genealogy: d'Aboville Numbers
- Guide des recherches généalogiques aux Archives Nationales. Paris, 1953 (Bn : 8° L43 119 )
- Standard GenWeb: La numérotation Meurgey de Tupigny
- Numbering Systems In Genealogy - de Villiers/Pama by Richard A. Pence
- Genealogical Society of South Africa