The following is a Plus Edition article, written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Have you heard of Ahnentafel Numbers, the Register System, the NGSQ System, Henry Numbers, d’Aboville Numbers, or the Kekule Numbering System? This article explains them all.
Remember the “good old days” when you first started searching for your family tree? You probably only had 50 or so identified ancestors in those days, and you could easily remember the name of each one. However, as time went by, you searched many records and found more ancestors. The number grew and grew. Eventually you encountered some difficulty in organizing the information you had available.
There are myriad ways to organize genealogy data. The “best method” depends upon your own preferences and organizational skills. For many of us, a computer is a valuable organizational tool. Whether you use a high tech device or paper and pencil, eventually you will want to produce lists of ancestors or descendants. Ideally, those lists should be in a format that is easy to read and quickly understood. Sooner or later, you will look at assigning identity numbers to each individual.
Most computer programs assign numbers to each individual within the program’s database. Some of the programs display these numbers on the screen and in printed reports, while other programs keep the database numbers hidden. These numbers typically may be meaningful to the individual who maintains the database but are generally meaningless to everyone else. There seems to be little point in printing these internal numbers on reports to be given to others. In fact, publishing your self-generated or computer-generated numbers probably will add confusion to the reports.
When generating printed reports and lists, the information can be confusing. The more names on your list, the more difficult it is to remember “who is who.” You can begin to solve this by assigning meaningful numbers to each individual on your list.
Several standardized genealogy numbering systems have been invented for reports and lists. These numbers are temporary; that is, the numbers are used for this one report and then typically are discarded. The sole purpose of these numbers is to simplify the organization of data in the one report. If another report is needed at a future date, the numbers can easily be recalculated at that time.
Most numbering systems also revolve around a single base individual. That is, numbers are calculated in relationship to that one person. The calculated numbers are then assigned to the ancestors or descendants of that person.
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