©2023 Donald R. Snow -- Page last updated 2023-03-14
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ABSTRACT:  Several numbering schemes have been developed for ancestors and descendants.  We will discuss one I have developed that has helped our family feel united and is easy to do.  It could be used starting from any person and number his/her descendants. The notes for this class and related articles, all with active internet links, are on my website .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo, Utah.
  2. These notes, with active internet links and other related articles, are posted on Don's website .
  3. Tips:  (1)  Easy to put an icon on your desktop for the URL for these notes, or any website, by dragging the icon from in front of the address in your browser to your desktop.  (2)  To open a link in these notes in another tab, so you can keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. Problem for today: how to keep track of all descendants of an individual in a meaningful way.
  6. Numbering on a standard pedigree chart is as follows: a person's father's number is twice the person's number and the person's mother is twice the person's number plus one.  So if a person is number 12. his father is number 24 and his mother is number 25.
  7. So even numbers are males and odd numbers are females, except number 1 which could be either.
  8. Ahnentafel charts are pedigree charts that list the numbers and people on horizontal lines numbered with this  "n ---> 2n and 2n+1" system -- This takes up less space and makes the chart more readable, but doesn't show the parent/child relationship as easily.
  9. Several systems have been developed to number both ancestral and descendants charts.
  10. Descendant numbering systems sometimes use dashes, dots, or commas to indicate the generation down, but that makes the numbers long after two or three generations, e.g. 3.1.4 would indicate the 4th child of the 1st child of the 3rd child.

  12. This is a simple and useful method for numbering descendants for a few generations.
  13. The starting person is number 1, his/her spouse is number 2, the first child is number 3, second child number 4, etc.
  14. Each descendant is given the next number as they are born, adopted, or married into the family.
  15. This system doesn't indicate the generation down, but does count the total number of descendants.
  16. These number can be done "by hand", but keeping track of them is easier by computer.
  17. Illustration of our Snow Numbers using the computer program Ancestral Quest.
  18. Any genealogy program with a space for special numbers could be used, but one that has two or more special date fields is best.
  19. Ancestral Quest used to have two such fields, but they dropped one, so we had to do a work-around using a Tag and it's not as easy.
  20. With two special date fields, you enter the Family Entry Date (birth, adoption, or marriage) in one and sort on that column.  In the other field you enter "Snow#0nn", etc.
  21. If your numbers go over 10, use leading 0s for the first few, 01, 02, etc., so they sort correctly.  For over 100 use 3 digits, e.g. 003, 004, etc.
  22. To sort the dates chronologically, you can enter them in International Date Format YYYY-MM-DD.
  23. These Family Enter Dates are the same starting from any person in the collection, but the "Surname #" will change, of course, if the starting person is changed.
  24. When we first started this system, at that family reunion, we gave each person a badge with their name and Snow Number with ribbons to decorate it.  We also read a short verse about each one with their Snow Number.   It turned out to be a wonderful experience for all of us.

  26. These Snow Numbers have been a help to our family to make us all feel part of a larger group.
  27. The numbering can be done starting from any person, but if there are too many descendants, the larger numbers don't have much meaning, but they still show who is a descendant of that person.

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