Friday, April 4, 2008

How to Read the Descendant Chart

How to Read the Descendant Chart
by Richard E. Henthorn

30 Jun 1999

Many of the pages on my website were produced with the DESCEND program which reads a PAF 2.31 file to generate a descendant chart. Here's something I wrote a long time ago that you may find useful when reading the webpages.

The name of the first person on the Descendant Chart is preceded by the number, one (1 -). The generation numbers on the chart have meaning only for the chart you are viewing.

Spouses are preceded with, (sp-). They appear at the same indentation as their corresponding spouse, who is listed above them. If a person has more than one spouse the 2nd, or later spouse, doesn't appear until all of the offspring and descendants of the first marriage have been listed. Since a second or third spouse might appear a number of pages after their spouse I usually try to put into their note, a line indicating that they were "spouse of Mr. or Miss so and so."

All of the children of the person numbered one (1 -) are preceded with two (2 -). The children of any child numbered (2 -) are numbered with three (3 -) and so on. That is to say, the numbers represent the generations of the offspring of the person numbered one. If the first person numbered (2 -) on the chart had descendant children (3 -) and grandchildren (4 -) they will all be listed before the next younger sibling of the person numbered (2 -).

Each generation and their spouses have the same indentation from the left margin.

When the first name or the surname of a person is not available I use the word "Unknown." Thus, some people may be listed as, "Unknown Unknown."

When the names of the parents of a person marrying into a family are known they are listed as: "Dau of (father's name) & (mother's name)" or "Son of (father's name) & (mother's name)."

Below is a little example, without any dates, places or notes that might clarify what I have described above. The Blackwell family lists some descendants in the 5th generation. Notice that the last person listed, Rebecca Hart, is at the same indentation as Mary Smith, the first wife of John Doe, Sr. Since this sample doesn't show any "Note -" information the fact that Rebecca Hart is the 2nd wife of John Doe, Sr. is only apparent by checking the indentation.

1 - John Doe, Sr.
sp- Mary Smith
2 - John Doe, Jr.
sp- Mary Brown
Dau of John Brown & Mary Jones
3 - John Doe, III
3 - Mary Doe
3 - James Doe
sp - Nancy Todd
4 - Thomas Doe
4 - William Doe
4 - Sally Doe
sp- James Blackwell
5 - John Blackwell
5 - Samuel Blackwell
5 - Sarah Blackwell
2 - Jane Doe
sp- Bernard Hartman
3- Melvin Hartman
sp- Rebecca Hart

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