Thursday, January 17, 2019

So, What the Heck IS an Ahnentafel?

In my last blog post, I referred to myself as Ahnentafel #1. (You may notice that in the navigation menu to the right of this post, there is a link that says Ahnentafel.) German for “Ancestor Table,” an Ahnentafel is a genealogy convention for numbering a person’s direct-line ancestors. In this numbering scheme, every person has a number. Their father is twice their number, and their mother is the father’s number plus one. So, all males are even numbers; and all females are odd numbers. The person in the #1 position can be either male or female, though.

For example, in my case, I am #1; my father is #2 (2x1); and my mother is #3 (2+1). My mother’s parents would be numbered as follows: She is #3; her father is #6 (2x3); and her mother is #7 (6+1). Another example is for my paternal grandfather. He is #4; his father is #8 (2x4); and his mother is #9 (8+1).

To be fair, I have not seen anyone list their Ahnentafel table the way that I have presented mine on this blog. This construct is purely my own invention. I wanted to be able to see the father and mother and the children of a family group all in one place, with all ancestral lines together. So, I created a table where they are all listed side-by-side as follows (see the "Ahnentafel" link to the right for a larger table; I have made this one smaller for demonstration purposes only):


#
FATHERMOTHER
CHILDREN
1

Christine Jane UNDERWOOD

2-3
Stephen Alexander UNDERWOOD, Jr.
Corinne Jane McCORMACK
Stephen Patrick UNDERWOOD
Katherine Patricia UNDERWOOD
Gregory Lee UNDERWOOD
Douglas Alan UNDERWOOD
Christine Jane UNDERWOOD
4-5
Stephen Alexander UNDERWOOD, Sr.
Mary Frances AHERN
Jerrold Edward UNDERWOOD
Stephen Alexander UNDERWOOD, Jr.
Richard Anthony UNDERWOOD
James Vincent UNDERWOOD
Albert Joseph UNDERWOOD
6-7
Elliott Hartford McCORMACK
Inger Dorthea STAPP
Carol Hartford McCORMACK
Corinne Jane McCORMACK
8-9
Stephen Alexander "S.A." UNDERWOOD
Sarah Angeline "Anna" WHITWELL
Baby Boy UNDERWOOD
Jerrold Roscoe UNDERWOOD
Franklin Mason UNDERWOOD
Infant UNDERWOOD
George Arthur UNDERWOOD
Herbert Whitwell UNDERWOOD
Twin Girl UNDERWOOD
Stephen Alexander UNDERWOOD, Sr.
10-11
Daniel AHERN
Sarah FLAHERTY
Mary Frances AHERN
Daniel Edward AHERN
Margaret Justine AHERN
Henry William AHERN
12-13
John Findley McCORMACK
Estella ELLIOTT
Elliott Hartford McCORMACK
14-15
John Seldon STAPP
Inger Christine JENSEN
Anna May STAPP
Esther Belinda STAP
Inger Dorthea STAPP
Lillie Viola STAPP
16-17
Thomas UNDERWOOD
Hester Ann WALDRIP
Sarah UNDERWOOD
James H. UNDERWOOD
Rachel M. UNDERWOOD
Stephen Alexander UNDERWOOD
Thomas UNDERWOOD
Elizabeth UNDERWOOD
Johanna UNDERWOOD
Tealie UNDERWOOD

For me, this works. For others, they may shy away from something that is different from how they may have seen an Ahnentafel displayed before. I invite you to research on your own and decide for yourself how to display your own family line.

I want to make one point, though. Even though this table focuses on the direct-line ancestors, I don’t make the mistake of researching only those people. I like to research collateral lines because I find that branching out from my straight-line pedigree affords me the ability to put family groups back together and determine whether a person happens to belong to my family. This has been called cluster genealogy by some while the great genealogy guru Elizabeth Shown Mills calls it the FAN Principle: researching the Friends/Associates/Neighbors of your ancestors.

If you wish to follow my Ahnentafel table example for your own genealogy, please feel free to do so. Everything on my blog is here for your use. I simply ask that you credit my work. You may copy-and-paste the citation formula at the bottom of the page, and all you must do is change out the dates and post titles. Good luck in your research!

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Coming Up Next: Genealogy Research Conventions (This will explain why I used capital letters for the surnames above.)

Coming Up Soon: Genealogy SoftwareGotta Get It Now!


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