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|This section explains how to interpret the family trees. It covers:
|One of the problems in family history is the difficulty in presenting the connections
between relatives in a way which is practical and easily understood. The most practical
method is the descendancy chart, but it sometimes needs a little explanation on how to
The most familiar presentation of family history, in the tree and branch diagram
format, is unwieldy for large families and is difficult to keep up to date as new branches
are discovered. The descendancy chart overcomes this by adopting a simple presentation in
text format only, and is more practical for large and complex families.
It is easy to make changes to the descendancy chart; new families are simply inserted
in the appropriate place; there is no need to juggle the layout to fit in new relatives or
to redraw the whole diagram. A new descendancy chart can be automatically produced by a
computer program which reads the details from the family history database.
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| Roots and branches|
|The descendancy chart starts from a "root" person, which is referred to as
generation number 1. Underneath the root is shown the spouse (identified by "sp
-"), and then each of their children, who are referred to as generation number
2, and then each of the children's children (that is, the root's grandchildren) as
generation number 3, and so on. Each generation is indented by an increasing number of
spaces, and the generation numbers are shown in front of each person's name.
So with this approach, brothers and sisters will all appear with the same generation
number, and this number will also be used for their first cousins. Their parents will have
a generation number one lower, and this will also be used for the uncles and aunts.
The descendancy chart lists people in the order of father, first child, first child's
children, second child, and so on - it goes "along" each branch of a family
rather than "across" each generation. The drawback of this is that there can be
a large gap between brothers and sisters in the same family, particularly if they have
large families of their own.
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| Reference numbers|
|After each person's name is their unique personal reference number, and after each
spouse's name and personal reference number is their unique marriage reference number.
The personal reference number is often referred to as the 'rino' - short for 'record index number'.
There is no significance to the rino - it is simply assigned sequentially as a person is added to the database.
The reference numbers are primarily used by the computer programs which handles the database, and
are shown in the charts to make it easier to locate individuals, since finding
"rino 1234" is quicker than finding "William Glenister who was
born on 30 May 1755".
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|The information shown for each person on the descendancy chart include the known
details of date and place of baptism, birth, marriage, death and burial, together with
comments which give other details, such as residence, occupation.
Sometime the dates are shown as Mar, Jun, Sep, Dec and a year. This represents the
quarter in which the event was registered with the UK General Register Office, rather than
the date of the event itself. So Mar covers events registered in January, February, and
Also the place is shown as the registration district in which the event was
registered, rather than where the event took place. This sometimes gives results which
appear a little odd. For instance a child born away from home at the end of March would
probably be registered nearer home in early April, which would be shown as Jun.
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|The places shown in the charts are intended to be shown in four levels, country, county (UK) state (US, Australia) province (Canada), city or town, locality (eg street, village), with the levels spearated by commas.
Not all places have all four levels, eg where the information is taken from the index of UK General Register Office, the location refers to simply a registration district. Where no country is shown, it can be assumed that the place is in the UK.Also, for some places the locality includes additional information, perhaps a house name, street, and village.
Some places are not yet set out at the four levels, and this is one of the ongoing tasks to clean the data.