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Ancestral Lines Pairing System: worthy of enhancement request?

Ancestral Lines Pairing System: worthy of enhancement request?

Posted: 4 Nov 2012 3:04PM GMT
Classification: Query
In the course of doing some work recently I came across genealogical numbering system that I'd never examined in any detail until now. It's called "Ancestral Lines Pairing System" or Ancestral Lines for short. (Link below)

It is a compact numbering system, so it generally takes less space than Ahnentafel numbering, and in one of its three variations it can handle both siblings and multiple pairings. The price, however, is that the numbering schemes are more esoteric and generally less intuitive than Ahnentafel binary Ahnentafel, etc.

What are your thoughts? Would you use this numbering system on reports in FTM if it were available? I'm wondering if it's worth the enhancement request.

http://www.americanancestors.org/ancestral-lines/

Re: Ancestral Lines Pairing System: worthy of enhancement request?

Posted: 4 Nov 2012 3:57PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 4 Nov 2012 4:02PM GMT
Marco,

IMHO, Numbering schemes are only good in static environments such as books and are not very good in a dynamic environment. I say this because, any numbering scheme must have a starting point and therefore in a dynamic environment must be generated "on the fly" since the starting point could change depending on the viewpoint of the individual/reader.

Since, genealogy is an ongoing, ever expanding, process the focused starting point for one person in the tree is different than the next person, so any numbering system that starts at one point using generational information to position a person on the tree has its own problems.

This is not to say the "The Ancestral Lines Pairing System" does not have its value and good points. When I do studies of small family groups that include only a few generations of individuals this scheme can break through the log jam of "who begot who".

It does start to break down as we widen the tree and inspect various offshoots of a family and children of children.

Therefore IMO it has great value in ancestral studies for small "on the fly" or larger static reports, books and documents. But has less value with large family groups with "wide" trees where the study include cousins of cousins. In databases that exceed 100 or 1000 of individuals this system could never be use as a perminant numbering system.

Also this numbering system could never be used in the research environment/portion of our databases where several individuals fit the charactorists of a potential ancestor but where proof has not completely been established. We would be unable to assign a number (a good thing) to a potential ancestor yet we would want to report any potential ancestors in their appropriate location in ancestorial trees. Most standard software programs can't handle this issue anyway so it's not a big deal, but if/when a potential ancestor is proven not an ancestor or where controversy between two individuals being "that ancestor" arise some other scheme is needed.

Re: Ancestral Lines Pairing System: worthy of enhancement request?

Posted: 4 Nov 2012 9:39PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 4 Nov 2012 9:44PM GMT
kj, you extended the context far beyond an addition to the numbering schemes available for reports in the Publishing workspace. My impression is that some of your feedback is a general caution to the community to avoid using a relative numbering systems in a non-relative situations. I agree. Of course.

I think the value of using numbering systems on reports and charts is self-evident. In fact, you don't even have the option to remove them on a number of FRM reports, and you'd lose a great deal of sensible organization without them. The question is about having the option to use the Ancestral Lines numbering system on these same reports and charts in FTM. Is, in fact, Ancestral Lines intuitive enough for those consuming the data?

I personally like its focus on numbering individual lines. This is information that Ahnentafel doesn't convey. I also like how the generation number is paired with the lines. That's intuitive and something that must be calculated with Ahnentafel numbering. On the other hand, when you get into a few generations and use the variation for siblings and pairings, I think it becomes too esoteric. It would need an explanation key to accompany it.

Anyway, it's got some good points and bad points. I'm just curious if others would use it over Ahnentafel if given a choice in FTM.

Re: Ancestral Lines Pairing System: worthy of enhancement request?

Posted: 4 Nov 2012 10:13PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 4 Nov 2012 10:25PM GMT
Hi Marco:

I don't doubt that there may be uses and applications for such a numbering system; but I have been asking for a somewhat different approach in Enhancements for several years.

Actually, it is probably not much different than this numbering system - but without the numbers.

If one goes to a genealogy section of any library, one will find genealogy books in three general styles

1) Descendants of xx
2) Ancestors of xx
3) Alphabeically arranged sketches of a geographical area or area of interest (notable Americans or whatever).

The books that are books of Ancestors of xx will start with the nuclear family of that person as chapter one. Chapter two will be that person's father's direct paternal direct line, possibly mentioning all children of each direct paternal ancestor.

Arrangements of chapters after that second chapter are varied, and can even be alphabetical - or follow the numbering system this article refers to. If they are not alphabetical, there is a Contents page showing each line, plus, in most cases, an index. I think alphabetical makes as much sense as a numbering system that most people won't understand. If you see these books in libraries, they do not use numbering systems. They just rely on the contents to identify the lines and an index to find people.

This is what I want to see added to FTM. A direct line descendant chart for each line until each line "daughters out", ie the daughter marries a man. Then, one goes tot the chapter of the paternal line of that man. One can then go up or down that male's line until that line "daughters out".

If it comes with some esoteric numbering system, fine - although I'd like to have the capability to simply turn it off. This type of ancestor arrangement has been going for at least two hundred years and it is amazing that modern genealogy programs ignore it.


One can try to jerry-rig such a presentation in an FTM book, but when one has over 200 separately identified American immigrants and therefore 200 lines, that becomes a bit of a chore - and since the Descendant Regiester Report can't (yet) be done on a direc line basis, is almost impossible to pull off.

______________

An accompanying request I make with this one each year is the capability to do Direct Line Descendant Register Reports. We can now do direct line outline descendant reports as well as charts - but not register reports.

Re: Ancestral Lines Pairing System: worthy of enhancement request?

Posted: 4 Nov 2012 10:20PM GMT
Classification: Query
Marco,

I expanded the context simply because we live in a world where many people think that a number in a book has an equivalant on a webpage, or that the XREF ID (aka person ID) will remain consistant over the life of the record. This creates problems for people and software developers.

I personally believe that this numbering system has major advatages for small studies and that I may consider its use in cases were I'm developing an "ancestry only" tree for someone (i.e. who were my great-great grandparents?) similar to a "FAN CHART".

As an addition to the current set of numbering scheme, It would certantly be of value for Ancestry only reports but would most likely have to be turned off when used in books, since it has not value in decendent views and has limited use when showing siblings (and their spouses) of "direct line" ancestors.

Re: Ancestral Lines Pairing System: worthy of enhancement request?

Posted: 4 Nov 2012 11:09PM GMT
Classification: Query
I seriously doubt that it would generate enough interest among FTM users to justify the expenditure of those resources needed to implement it.

Re: Ancestral Lines Pairing System: worthy of enhancement request?

Posted: 4 Nov 2012 11:23PM GMT
Classification: Query
I guess we're going to talk about the value and uses of genealogical numbering systems. I still hope both of you will answer my original question.

silverfox wrote:
"I don't doubt that there may be uses and applications for such a numbering system"

How about the Ahnentafel numbering used by FTM (and most of the global genealogical community) in ancestral reports?

silverfox wrote:
"If one goes to a genealogy section of any library, one will find genealogy books in three general styles"

I would add a fourth to that: by line (usually presented by family names, depending on the culture)

silverfox wrote:
"I think alphabetical makes as much sense as a numbering system that most people won't understand."

I do agree that all genealogical numbering systems after several generations often become esoteric. But, even if people don't fully grasp how they reflect the relationship back to the root person, they still can be helpful navigating up and down the tree, chart, book, etc. At the very least, I think they don't make things worse.

(And shame on any author of genealogies in a book that doesn't include an index of individuals!)

silverfox wrote:
"This type of ancestor arrangement has been going for at least two hundred years and it is amazing that modern genealogy programs ignore it."

I don't use the book feature of FTM, so I don't know the good or bad. I take your word for it.

As for the other items available in the publishing workspace, I think the numbering systems do add value and should be available on more things (like charts made to accompany reports).

As for numbers being left out entirely from an Ahnentafel report or Register report, if there is a demand to do that, then that's a simple modification to the software and should be made available again (as in the ancestor and descendant reports that used to be available as customized versions of the "official" styles).

silverfox wrote:
"We can now do direct line outline descendant reports as well as charts - but not register reports."

I think that's because they're trying to make the register report conform to their view of the "standard" for register reports. That's why its configuration options are so limited.

Re: Ancestral Lines Pairing System: worthy of enhancement request?

Posted: 4 Nov 2012 11:43PM GMT
Classification: Query
kj_norway wrote:
"I expanded the context simply because we live in a world where many people think that a number in a book has an equivalant on a webpage, or that the XREF ID (aka person ID) will remain consistant over the life of the record. This creates problems for people and software developers."

Frankly I assume that the value of genealogical numbering systems where they are traditionally used is self-evident and doesn't merit explanation. The original question essentially was would you use Ancestral Lines on FTM Ahnentafel reports if given a choice? Expanding the context by introducing other elements like books and webpages will just confuse the uninitiated.

Anyway, it looks like we're going to have a discussion about the merits of genealogical systems in general. Okay. But please don't forget to answer the original question. :)

kj_norway wrote:
I personally believe that this numbering system has major advatages for small studies and that I may consider its use in cases were I'm developing an "ancestry only" tree for someone (i.e. who were my great-great grandparents?) similar to a "FAN CHART".

I can't imagine an Ahnentafel or Register report without numbers. They demonstrate the structure--the relationships of all the people listed. That's why they've been used in such genealogies for hundreds of years. The concept of the Ahnentafel system, in fact, was published in 1590. Something employed for so long obviously has intrinsic value.

This particular numbering system could be used for descendants. It would just be flipped on its head, much like Eytzinger-Sosa's methods were to make the register-style of numbering descendants.

silverfox also mentioned this point about FTM books. I must admit my use of FTM's publishing capabilities is rather limited, and I've never used the book feature. Still, if numbering systems are imposed on books by FTM, well, I think that's silly.

Re: Ancestral Lines Pairing System: worthy of enhancement request?

Posted: 4 Nov 2012 11:47PM GMT
Classification: Query
AGHatchett3rd
"I seriously doubt that it would generate enough interest among FTM users to justify the expenditure of those resources needed to implement it."

Actually, the cost of implementation would be trivial. It's mathematically based and easily coded. Even a novice programmer could add the capability in very little time. It's that simple.

Anyway, I take it that you don't see anything of value in the numbering system that would merit an enhancement request. Thanks for being the first to answer the question. ;)

Re: Ancestral Lines Pairing System: worthy of enhancement request?

Posted: 4 Nov 2012 11:55PM GMT
Classification: Query
Marco,

It wasn't the generation of the numbers themselves that I was speaking of. That is rather easy.

It was the time it would take to re-write all the code for each of the various old charts and old reports (as well as any new types of charts and/or reports) to enable them to display those new numbers that I was speaking of.

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