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Family tree numbering and charting

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


NewquayOAP Report 21 Jun 2012 19:24

I just came across a problem which is going to happen with more frequency as I go further back in my tree. I have discovered that my maternal grandparents were related (2nd cousins once removed) and thus have a common ancestor who sits at two different levels in the tree.

I have been trying to number the individuals in my tree so that relationships show up (to some extent) in the numbering. For this I used Dollarhide and I have also looked at Ancestral Lines numbering. However, it seems to me that both systems will come up with two numbers for a single individual which detroys the "unique" number for each individual aim of these systems. Is there any way round this? Which number do you choose? I always used to use the RIN numbers but as I have switched programmes these have changed despite all my efforts to stop it during imports and exports.


JustDinosaurJill Report 22 Jun 2012 18:22

I thought it was about time that you received a reply as now nearly one hundred people have viewed your post.

I'm sorry but you are talking a foreign languge to me (anything technical is). I have never used either of the systems you refer to so cannot help. I hope you find your answer though.



NewquayOAP Report 22 Jun 2012 18:51

You are a kind person and on reflection you are right, my question was ridiculously technical.


Porkie_Pie Report 22 Jun 2012 20:16

any good?



Kense Report 22 Jun 2012 20:31

I was interested to see your question as I had attempted to make a numbering system but had not heard of Dollarhide or the other systems.

The Ahnentafel system for numbering ancestors is fairly obvious but will of course give more than one possible number for ancestors if you go back far enough. I don't think there is any way to allocate numbers uniquely and maintain an indication of relationship.

I would tend to use the lowest number where there is more than one possibility but that would give a bias to the paternal side and make finding maternal relationships harder.


NewquayOAP Report 22 Jun 2012 21:06

@Porkie Pie
The Coles site is good and that is where I got the information for the Dollarhide system. I started to look for other systems when I began to get non-unique numbers using the Coles variation on Dollarhide

I am beginning to share the view that unique numbering which contains relationship information is not possible. I thought the ancestral lines numbering might be the answer but I'm sure that equally splits in two when you have a couple sitting at two different generational levels and consequently in two different ancestral lines.

If anyone is interested (and don't go there if you are not mathematically inclined) here is some information on ancestral lines numbering

but it is hard going and a "simpler" explanation can be found on YouTube


JustDinosaurJill Report 22 Jun 2012 21:46

Just composed this reply and VirginMedia went bye-bye. No internet and just as the football was about to kick off - no television. Luckily I have a small digital box on a little television (since we lost Analogue) so football on in the other room.

Thank you for the compliment but I never said that your question was ridiculously technical - just that I didn't understand it

:-D :-D

The level of my technical ability doesn't go much beyond an off or on switch. It's because I simply am not interested because I know my limitations; it's how my brain is wired and no point in wishing differently. I used to have a relative who worked in computers and enjoyed spouting techno-babble to seem very smart but I couldn't have cared less. My talents are hands-on. Give me a pile of bricks but no plans and I can still build you a bbq and no one ever turns down my baking.

Have you thought of contacting the people who designed the programmes you are trying to use. I really do hope that you work it out.

J :-D


NewquayOAP Report 22 Jun 2012 22:31

Thank you for the correction and my apologies for putting words into your post.


JustDinosaurJill Report 23 Jun 2012 10:39

No apoligies needed at all. NewquayMan. Didn't want you thinking I was critisising.

Now I am making a coffee for hubby. Coffee is simple. Kettle has an off and on button. Simples :-D


Patricia Report 23 Jun 2012 11:20

When I first began, many moons ago, a FT program was just a dream so everything went on paper. I had sent off for some record sheets from a company and they came with a little booklet.

In this it was explained that ideally you should number each person starting with yourself as S1, your parents would be R1 & R2 [males were always odd numbers and females were......yes even numbers!], grandparents were Q1-4 and so on. Unfortunately it didn't explain how to record siblings! I solved that at the time by using parents numbers plus one for them so something like R1/2-1, R1/2-2.

All you had to do was remember the alphabet backwards!! it got harder as more generations were added and I ended up making a spreadsheet with the numbers on so I could work out if Great Grandfather should be P1 or P5.

It did work [for me] at the time but as FT programs came out I gave up as I could add a Relationship much easier as I could see at a glance how anyone person was related to me, and I have a tool in the program that will give relationaships between any 2 people.

I did try to read up on Ahnentafel numbering but I gave up as I got confused

One of these days I may try again.................


NewquayOAP Report 23 Jun 2012 13:22

Frankly, since I have always used family tree software I did not realise that you could number people yourself. My software assigned record numbers, and that was fine, they seemed to be a bit random at times but I found out later this was because I allowed the software to reuse numbers when I deleted someone.

When I found out I could assign my own numbers I was enthusiastic, I have a mathematical background so the numbering was not a problem. But the problems that arise from relationships crossing generations can only get worse and it is tempting to scrap the user IDs and stick to record numbers. However, there is one big advantage. I can tell at a glance whether an individual in the tree is a close relative, a distant cousin or even unrelated to me but related to someone related by marriage. This information allows me to prioritize my efforts.


grannyfranny Report 23 Jun 2012 18:19

I don't really understand the numbering either, however, I too have the same inter marriage problem, which I solved by only entering the first 'dual' person, with a cross reference to 'see other entry', which continued the tree.


NewquayOAP Report 23 Jun 2012 23:42

Although I put charting in the thread title I haven't mentioned that problem yet. When asked for an ancestor chart starting with my grandparents my software gets round the "dual personality" problem by putting their common ancestor into the tree twice, although you probably would not realise it at a glance. This produces a neat solution to a charting problem but at the expense of hiding a family relationship

A more interesting solution is that adopted by an amazing graph editing program called yEd

It is much more than a family tree charting program, but one nice feature is that if you give it a gedcom file it will chart the entire file.

When I gave it the part of my family tree containing my grandparents (the married cross generation cousins) and their ancestors it produced a chart with a loop in it showing the two pathways from my grandfather and grandmother to their common ancester and it showed very clearly that their marriage was spanning two generations