Genealogical Numbering Systems

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A multitude of Genealogical Numbering Systems have been developed for indexing family trees and pedigree charts in text format. Each system provides a consistent method to determine the appropriate & predictable identifier for persons in a Family Tree.

Most systems assign identifiers relative to a focal person and are oriented towards Ancestors (an ascending system) or Descendants (a descending system).

The terminology used to refer to this focal person varies, including: subject, proband (from psychiatry & medical genetics; proposito for male proband or proposita for female proband), root node (graphing), progenitor/primogenitor (for descending genealogical numbering systems), de cujus (Latin term meaning 'about which').

Simple numbering

Gramps features using this system

Fig. .1 Descendant Report - descending generation numbering using Example.gramps


Ahnentafel

An ascending system for numbering pedigree ancestors starting with '1' at a focal person. The number of the father is double that of the child. The mother is double the child's number plus one.

Fig. .2 Ahnentafel Report - ascending numbering focused on Jennie S. Garner of Example.gramps


Origin

An Austrian nobleman, diplomat, historian, and publicist named Michaël Eytzinger (circa 1530-1598) introduced a new functional theory of numeration of ancestors in 1590 with the Cologne publication of the Thesaurus principum hac aetate in Europa viventium ("lexicon of officials in this age in Europe living"). The Ahnentafel (German for "ancestor table") was first illustrated with a 5 generation pedigree of Henry III of France on pages 146 and 147.

Gramps features using this system

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d'Aboville

Gramps features using this system

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de Villiers

Gramps features using this system

Henry

  • Modified Henry Systems

Gramps features using this system

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Meurgey de Tupigny

Gramps features using this system

Pama

Gramps features using this system

Register

Numbering system created in 1870 for use in the New England Historic and Genealogical Register published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society

Gramps features using this system

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Sosa-Stradonitz

Origin

Spanish Genealogist Jerónimo de Sosa was a 17th-century Spanish Franciscan friar and a genealogist who based a genealogical numbering system of ancestors on the Ahnentafel numbering system first published by Michaël Eytzinger. Sosa's 1676 work Noticia de la gran casa de los marqueses de Villafranca established a standard.

The system was popularized on a large scale by Stephan Kekulé von Stradonitz (1863–1933) when he published his interpretation of Eytzinger's and Sosa's method in his Ahnentafel-Atlas: Ahnentafeln zu 32 Ahnen der Regenten Europas und ihrer Gemahlinnen, 1898–1904, containing 79 charts of the sovereigns of Europe and their wives. (In 1895, Kekulé's prominent organic chemist father was ennobled by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, giving him the right to add "von Stradonitz" to his name, referring to a possession of his patrilineal ancestors in Stradonice, Bohemia.)

Gramps features using this system

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Other numbering systems

Hybrid Approaches

Comparative References

Articles comparing & contrasting merits of competing numbering sysytems

Development Resources

  • Add a 'numbering' data class - Gramps feature request 0004169
  • PseudonymTree.gramps - example (gzip compressed) multi-generational Gramps format Tree that uses intuitive pseudonyms & IDs for testing & exploration use.