ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > ROOTS > 2008-02 > 1203562450
From: "Loran Braught" <>
Subject: [ROOTS-L] Ahnentafel Brief
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2008 21:54:10 -0500
AHNENTAFEL Brief (Loran R. Braught)
I have been asked by some Roots web comrades to explain my previous
reference to the
Ahnentafel ID system, so here we go with hopefully a brief but helpful
Schools record and retrieve people data by alphabetical surname systems.
Military, Social Security, and prisons do it with exclusive numbering
systems. Librarians combine letters and numbers to record and retrieve books
by topic and author categories. Genealogists need something more similar to
the librarian so we want a more meaningful system. A numbered pedigree chart
is called an Ahnentafel because it can show both unique individual numbering
and reference to the family relationship of each individual. The key
advantage of the genealogy Ahnentafel numbering system is that the numbers
are meaningful in telling the genealogist how an individual is related in
their direct line families within the total ancestry collection..
"Ahnentafel" is German for English "Ancestor Table" or numbered pedigree
chart. It literally is that
simple. Look at any pedigree chart and it typically shows numbers with
every line for the people whose names belong in that family position by
sequential generation of that surname. Starting with #1 (you?) as the first
person selected to begin the surname pedigree chart, then progress backward
in generations to the two biological parents of each individual. The third
generation set is for the four grandparents, etc.
The pedigree chart always numbers the parents as #2 and #3 for father and
mother respectively. The mother can also be numbered as 2s (that S is for
spouse of #2 father) and their children are systematically numbered father
#2 with children numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. in birth order so the oldest child
is then numbered 2c1 or 2.1 of the Ahnentafel.
The easiest way to see that system at work is to simply create your four
generation pedigree chart and circle the numbering for clarity. Then create
family group records for those families and circle the numbers for the
children, but put in front of each child number their father's Ahnentafel
number that you add and circle on his name box in the family group record..
There you have the entire Ahnentafel system before you, complete with the
names and numbers for everyone. .
Incidentally, if grandfather #4 had two wives, his second wife is not
another #5, but instead #4s2 (second spouse of Grandfather #4). and their
oldest biological child would be #4s2c1.
Genealogy traditions consider numbering only people within the blood line.
Those people outside of that gene pool belong to a different pedigree chart.
Family History data is accommodated in other ways than merging different
marriage blood lines. Therefore adopted children, step-children, and
half-sibling belong in their biological pedigree. I know of only one
computer program that can also show adopted, step-children or half-sibling,
but that is the way to adequately record the his-hers-ours or adoption
Why fuss with Ahnentafel numbers? It is an international system that not
only assigns a unique number to every individual in a surname line, but also
shows that person's relationship to their most direct ancestor. There is no
other genealogy ID system that can do that. It will also avoid confusion
with people of the same name and it will show from which generation and
family group each person belongs. It accommodates consistent organizing of
charts that can automatically be matched with file cabinets and three-ring
notebooks for easy filing and retrieval. It clearly shows some family
implications; such as family size, naming traditions, or multiple
If you have questions about this very brief explanation of Ahnentafel,
please feel free to contact me directly as I am reluctant to encourage long
messages or excessive chains on a bulletin board. Hopefully your experience
with the suggested performance test mentioned above will enrich your
understanding of the pros and cons of Ahnentafel. I suggest that it is worth
testing Incidentally there is no organizational system that does not
require regular time to apply. .
Loran Ralph Braught
8380 N. Crestwood PL.
West Terre Haute, IN 47885-9326
|[ROOTS-L] Ahnentafel Brief by "Loran Braught" <>|