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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice  by Louise St Denis, Brenda Dougall Merriman and Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).


Synthesis of Research Results (cont.)

Family Group Record

The Family Group Record summarizes your knowledge about one man and one woman and their children. A good one will have spaces for date and place of birth, christening, marriage, death and burial. There are spaces to name the parents of both husband and wife, also names of children’s spouses, so that other Family Group Records for these generations can be located. As an aide-mémoire I include the Sosa-Stradonitz # and relationship of an ancestor in the top right hand corner; Thomas Brickett being my 2nd great grandfather.

Family Group Record of Thomas Brickett and Harriet Jupp

Husband Thomas BRICKETT Occupation gardener
#18 2GG
Born between 10 Dec 1831 and 9 Dec 1832 Place
Chr. 5 May 1833 + Place Place Monken Hadley, Middlesex, England
Marr. 22 Sep 1857* Place St. James, Paddington, Middlesex, England
Died 9 Dec 1905 * age 73 Place Kings Coll Hospital, Westminster, Mddx, Eng.
Other wives None
Wife Harriet JUPP Occupation none #19 2GG
Born 21 Sep 1839 (not registered) Place Wharf, Harrow Road, Paddington, Mddx, Eng.
Chr. 13 Oct 1839 + Place St. James, Paddington, Middlesex, England
Died 16 Mar 1919 * age 79 Place 21 Martell Road, West Dulwich, Surrey, England
Other husbands None

CHILDREN Sex When born
When died
Where born
Where died
1st marriage date and place
Fanny Kezia BRICKETT
3Q 1857 >
Mar 1919
Altrincham, Cheshire
30 Dec 1878 Wandsworth
George William FRANCIS
John Fosbrooke BRICKETT
4Q 1859
Ormskirk, Lancs
1Q 1884 Wandsworth
Eliza Jane ANSELL
Frederick BRICKETT
1Q 1861
4Q 1863
Marylebone, Middlesex
West Ham, Essex
Harriet Ann BRICKETT
3 Jan 1863
Mar 1938
West Ham, Essex
Crayford, Kent
16 Jul 1882 Wandsworth
Thomas Will’m GARDNER
4Q 1864
West Ham, Essex
15 Jan 1888 Wandsworth
William Walter BRICKETT
1Q 1867
> 1920
Marylebone, Middlesex
2Q 1889 West Ham, Essex
Caroline Clara
Henry Arthur BRICKETT
3Q 1869
4 Nov 1910
Wandsworth, Surrey
Lambeth, Surrey
3Q 1889 Lambeth, Surrey
Alice Louisa
Alice Louisa BRICKETT
3Q 1872
Wandsworth, Surrey
2Q 1892 Hatfield, Herts
Thomas Elyard BRICKETT
1Q 1875
Wandsworth, Surrey
2Q 1897 Lambeth, Surrey
Ellen Edith BRICKETT
4Q 1876
Wandsworth, Surrey
2Q 1900 Lambeth, Surrey
George Alfred BRICKETT
4Q 1879
2Q 1880
Wandsworth, Surrey
Wandsworth, Surrey

KEY: + = parish register entry, * = certificate, Q = quarter, < = before, > = after.

Surname Descent Chart

This is organized so that each generation is on a separate line, the oldest at the top and the most recent at the bottom. Dates and places of birth, christening, death and burial are listed under each person, with marriage listed only under the male.

Males are on the left and females on the right, with marriages / liaisons indicated by an equals sign (==). A line is dropped from this equals sign to their child. Thus, starting from the researcher at the bottom of the chart one can trace their connection with the surname of interest and earlier ancestry at a glance.

A Surname Descent Chart (see below) can show more details and more generations for one surname than can a one-page Pedigree Chart. It is a very efficient way to explain your relationship to a correspondent and as it fits on one page it is economical to photocopy and mail.

EVES Descent of Grace Dashwood (THOM) GARDNER

A Surname Descent Chart.jpg

Key: < before > after * have certificate + parish register seen v = from vicar.

Pedigree Chart

A Pedigree Chart shows you and your biological ancestors only, no siblings or second spouses. It doesn’t have to be on paper—how about parchment or fake parchment, or an embroidered quilt, wall picture, or tablecloth (intended for use with a glass cover)?

Standard Pedigree Chart and Birth Brief

The Pedigree Chart is also known as a Blood Descent, Total Descent and Birth Brief, but the latter term is also used to indicate just the list of surnames of your 16 2GGs (Second Great Grandparents) in order 16 to 24. In Britain and Europe birth briefs (i.e. pedigree charts) showing your 16 great grandparents may still be referred to as a seize quartiers, and for your 32 2nd GG as atrente-deux quartiers.

A good pedigree chart uses the Sosa-Stradonitz numbers and has spaces for date and place of birth/christening, marriage, and death/burial.

Commercial versions are available with 8, 12 and 15 generations on huge pages, for example from GenealogyStore. Computer programs print out either four or five generations per page; four generations per page gives more detail. There is unacceptable scrunching of place names when one attempts to get five generations on one page.

Computers produce cascading (or sequential) pedigree charts which are serially numbered, as seen below where Caroline Mary Dashwood (#13 on Pedigree Chart No. 1) is continued on Pedigree Chart No. 7. Unfortunately this (and most) computer programs do not include the Sosa-Stradonitz numbers on 2nd and subsequent charts, but start each one at Person 1. There is a key at the top left of subsequent pages (e.g. on Pedigree Chart No. 7 on the chart below) indicating where Person 1 on this chart fits on the previous chart.

In the program I use, Personal Ancestral File (PAF), I use the Sosa-Stradonitz number as my Identification Number for each ancestor and this shows on their Family Group records. I then use my own numbering system for other relatives which is based on these numbers and tells me which ancestor they are descended from or closest to.

Pedigree Charts in Sequence with Sosa-Stradonitz Numbers Pedigree Charts in Sequence with SS Nos.jpg

Ahnentafel or Continental Pedigree

Another form of pedigree chart is the Ahnentafel (German for Ancestor Chart) or Continental Pedigree, shown below. This uses the Ahnentafel (= SOSA) Numbers on the left hand side and the RIN (Record Identification Number) is listed immediately after the name.

Ahnentafel or Continental Pedigree

1st Generation
Horace Frank BIRD-1
b 22 Aug 1920 Sheffield, Yorkshire
2nd Generation
Joseph William BIRD-9
b 21 Jun 1890 Sheffield, Yorkshire; m 5 Oct 1913 Sheffield, Yorkshire; d 6 May 1962 Sheffield, Yorkshire
3 Kate Beatrice MORGAN-10
b 31 Aug 1890 Sheffield, Yorkshire; d 6 May 1924 Sheffield, Yorkshire
3rd Generation
Henry George BIRD-13
b 1860 Southampton, Hampshire; m 24 Jun 1888 Sheffield, Yorkshire; d Mar 1911 Sheffield, Yorkshire
Jane TAYLOR-14
b 19 Feb 1864 Sheffield, Yorkshire; d 18 Mar 1935 Sheffield, Yorkshire

Samuel MORGAN-26
b 1863; m 19 Aug 1888 Sheffield, Yorkshire; d 6 Mar 1929 Sheffield, Yorkshire

Sarah Ann BROWN-27
b 21 Mar 1867 Eccleshall Bierlow, Yorkshire; d 15 Oct 1933 Sheffield, Yorkshire
And so forth

Circular and Fan Pedigree Charts

Several computer programmes can do these, an example of an English circular pedigree and a Danish fan pedigree is shown below. Circular ones have correspondingly smaller print if you want all the same people on one page. There is only room for names, and sometimes years of birth and death, thus they are more decorative than functional.

You can start with yourself, or any other modern twig, in the center. Pasting a photo of a child in the central circle makes a delightful birthday or christening gift, or you can use this type for a wedding anniversary.

Circular Pedigree Chart

Circular Pedigree Chart.jpg

Fan Pedigree Chart

Fan Pedigree Chart.jpg

Decorative Pedigree Charts

Various hand drawn tree shapes can be produced or are commercially available which can be designed to include three to five generations. One can write the names along branches, on leaves or like Christmas tree ornaments. One can also add photos or other illustration such as a family home.

A featured child could be at the top of the tree (or base of the trunk) with their ancestors occupying the other spaces. An example is shown below.

Many of these decorative versions suffer from inaccuracies owing to the limitations of the particular tree shape. Other possibilities for the artist in the family include ladders, stairs or rivers with tributaries. All are usually better as decoration rather than as accurate research tools. The adventurous can compose a combined Pedigree/Descendancy chart by putting grandparents at the base of the trunk with ancestors as roots and descendants as branches and twigs. Some computer programs can do these and refer to them as Hourglass Trees when they are vertical, or Bow Tie Trees when they are horizontal. An example is shown below.

Decorative Pedigree Chart

Decorative Pedigree Chart.jpg

Decorative Hourglass Chart (Combined Pedigree/Descendancy)
Decorative Hourglass Pedigree Chart.jpg


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online courses Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about these courses or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.

  • This page was last modified on 18 March 2014, at 14:49.
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