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Ahnentafel Report Help Documentation Error?

Ahnentafel Report Help Documentation Error?

Posted: 1352326924000
Classification: Query
The following statement appears in the "Ahnentafel Report" help documentation:

"This report is not used as frequently as other Genealogy Reports for formal presentations of pedigree because it records two family lines in the same report."

This statement is echoed on p. 196 of the Companion Guide:

"This type of report isn't used frequently because it records two family lines at the same time."

Am I missing something obvious, or was this written in error?

Re: Ahnentafel Report Help Documentation Error?

Posted: 1352330585000
Classification: Query
It makes no sense to me either. Whatever the meaning, it is very clumsily worded.

It could mean that line-by-line presentations of ancestry are more common than ahnentafels because ahnentafels "mash" the concept of showing a line within the report. Thus, they are harder to follow, as you have to "jump" rungs of the ladder at a time to follow an ancestral line.

If you go into a library and look at published genealogies, most "ancestors of xx" books will be line-by-line and not in ahnentafel order. Before computers, ahnentafels were often presented in a "tabular" format (think spreadsheet); whereas line-by line ancestry reports would often use a narrative, register style format for each chapter. Computers have changed that and today we have register-style formats for ancestors in ahnentafel order. They are still harder to follow ancestral lines than a line-by-line approach.

Re: Ahnentafel Report Help Documentation Error?

Posted: 1352333111000
Classification: Query
Yeah, I can only hazard a guess at what it might mean, and I wonder still if it means anything at all. Creating a report of someone's ancestors is obviously something that is done all of the time by family historians and genealogists.

And the two lines business? I guess I wouldn't make an ancestor report either if I only the parents. lol

Re: Ahnentafel Report Help Documentation Error?

Posted: 1352376314000
Classification: Query
I looked at the Ahnentafel Report. It is confusing in that it weaves the paternal and maternal Ines together. It starts with the principle person and their spouse. It then lists the father and mother of the principle person. This is followed by the grandparents in this order, paternal grandfather, paternal grandmother, maternal grandfather, maternal grandmother. Next comes the eight great grandparents in a similar order and so on for each generation. It rapidly becomes difficult to keep track of where a particular person fits in the ancestry. If you are an expert at using the numbering system used in the Ahnentafel Report it makes it possible to keep track of where a particular person fits in but it is still difficult, at least for me.


Re: Ahnentafel Report Help Documentation Error?

Posted: 1352385428000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1352387603000

You'll better understand what the numbering is doing if you were to see it on a pedigree chart. The Ahnentafel report is a narrative version of this chart. (see image)

There is another numbering system that is perhaps easier to follow, but it is not currently available to FTM users, and it is not described on the Wikipedia page in the above link. It assigns unique numbers to ancestral lines and reuses those numbers moving backward. This makes it easier to keep track of the lines through successive generations. In this other system, two numbers are paired (A.B) to represent an ancestor. The first number (A) is the ancestral line's unique number; the second number (B) is the ancestral generation relative to the generation (1) of the proband (i.e., the subject of the pedigree, the root descendant). In other words, you're generation 1, your parents are 2, grandparents 3, etc.

1 vs. 1.1 = proband
2 vs. 1.2 = father ♂
3 vs. 2.2 = mother ♀
4 vs. 1.3 = father's father ♂♂
5 vs. 3.3 = father's mother ♂♀
6 vs. 2.3 = mother's father ♀♂
7 vs. 4.3 = mother's mother ♀♀
8 vs. 1.4 = father's father's father ♂♂♂
9 vs. 5.4 = father's father's mother ♂♂♀
10 vs. 3.4 = father's mother's father ♂♀♂
11 vs. 7.4 = father's mother's mother ♂♀♀
12 vs. 2.4 = mother's father's father ♀♂♂
13 vs. 6.4 = mother's father's mother ♀♂♀
14 vs. 4.4 = mother's mother's father ♀♀♂
15 vs. 8.4 = mother's mother's mother ♀♀♀

If you had this information in a table that you could sort, and if you were to sort ascending on ancestral line then generation, then it would be ordered like this:

1.1 vs. 1 = proband
1.2 vs. 2 = father ♂
1.3 vs. 4 = father's father ♂♂
1.4 vs. 8 = father's father's father ♂♂♂
2.2 vs. 3 = mother ♀
2.3 vs. 6 = mother's father ♀♂
2.4 vs. 12 = mother's father's father ♀♂♂
3.3 vs. 5 = father's mother ♂♀
3.4 vs. 10 = father's mother's father ♂♀♂
4.3 vs. 7 = mother's mother ♀♀
4.4 vs. 14 = mother's mother's father ♀♀♂
5.4 vs. 9 = father's father's mother ♂♂♀
6.4 vs. 13 = mother's father's mother ♀♂♀
7.4 vs. 11 = father's mother's mother ♂♀♀
8.4 vs. 15 = mother's mother's mother ♀♀♀

Do you find that alternate numbering scheme easier to follow? I think it is, and I think it should be an option available in FTM when creating ancestor reports and charts. Charts and reports often go hand in hand as companion (complimentary) materials. (Currently FTM only numbers ancestors on the Ahnentafel report, not in any charts.)

More about this other numbering system available at the link below:

Re: Ahnentafel Report Help Documentation Error?

Posted: 1352394662000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1352399667000
Tthere is an alternative to printing a line by line ancestral report via a numbering system. And that is to print it in alphabetical order by line.

This would be my preference - although I would think both could be accomodated by checking an optional box within the sofware.

For example, I currently have a total of 678 ancestors in approximately 150 lines (New England ancestry). A line by line presentation would call for 150 "chapters". The presentation would be much more readable and lines findable by simply having "Allen" as the first chapter and "Vail" as the last chapter, and all the other lines arranged alphabetically.

BTW, an accomodation would need to be made for lines where there are multiple lines of descent from a progenitor ancestor and the base person - probably setoff by "subchapters" or some such thing so that the whole line is isn't repeated for multiples lines from the same ancestor. I am descended by five lines from one Long Island ancestor and 2-4 times for several others. The information relative to ancestors by multiple lines in a presentation of an ahnentafel in FTM are currently repeated over and over. (FTM could handle this by saying on succussive entries for the same person: "68505 John Doe. See 32851 for biographical details of this person.)

This problem with handling multiple lines of descent will become a bigger problem for more Americans as people with New England ancestry spread deeper and deeper into the American blood stream. There were only 20,000 Puritans and their blood is currently in tens, if not hundreds, of millions of Americans at the present time.

Re: Ahnentafel Report Help Documentation Error?

Posted: 1352397302000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1352397522000
Marco original comment

““The following statement appears in the "Ahnentafel Report" help documentation:

"This report is not used as frequently as other Genealogy Reports for formal presentations of pedigree because it records two family lines in the same report."”

First of all the report actually DOES NOT show two family lines at the same time --- it starts off [Generation 1] with the [root] person you have selected to show and provides info about that person It also discusses his/her spouse

Then in the second generation it begins to show the ancestors of just the root person you have selected and in further ancestral generations it continues to do this

If everybody in the ancestor chain has only one spouse, the first generation shows 1 person [the root person] and also talks about the spouse

The 2nd generation shows 2 people [the ancestors of the root person]

The 3rd generation shows 4 people [and continues to show just the family line of the root person]

The 4th generation shows 8 people, etc, etc

The number of people in each ancestor generation is two time the number of people in the previous generation

If you run a Pedigree Report it shows/does the exact same thing

Run an Ahnentafel Report [checking the box “exclude children’ --- to separate the wheat from the chaff] and then run a Pedigree Chart and you will see they say/show the same thing

As far as I know it has been this way for the last couple of hundred years

So I don’t see anything wrong with the Pedigree Chart nor the Ahnentafel Report [And nether one shows two family lines]

The thing that I see is that could be better worded is: [or more properly eliminated]

“This report is NOT USED AS FREQUENTLY as other Genealogy Reports” I disagree with this statement --------- It is used very frequently and if you go to any published Genealogies you are likely to see a Ahnentafel Report

The reason they give for not using it [and is their opinion and not necessarily the opinion of others] is because it shows TWO family lines at the same time] BUT this is a false statement because it doesn’t show two family lines

My general problem with the statement is two fold 1) It is a false statement and 2) they are stating their opinions/preferences for doing something -----and as Joe Friday said I would prefer “Just the Facts" and not your opinions –The entire statement should just be removed

Re: Ahnentafel Report Help Documentation Error?

Posted: 1352397644000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1352398379000

I think we should be careful not to treat reports and books as the same thing. Ahnentafel reports have been used for hundreds of years by genealogists to convey information about pedigrees in a *standardized* way where numbers express relationships relative to the proband. The ancestor reports created by FTM and comparable programs are in this same vein. Although they may serve as a component that could be used in a book or even an outline by which a book could be organized, at the end of the day a book is far more complicated, and it should be treated separately and in more depth.

That is not to say that I don't think that FTM users wouldn't benefit from more choices in the way in which ancestor *reports* are organized. A different, more expressive numbering scheme is the next logical enhancement, but the alphabetical listing of ancestral lines you've suggested here and elsewhere also has merit, though to a somewhat lesser degree as it presupposes the use of family names and is more ideally suited for unique and unchanging family names at that. Still, it is a logical option that would no doubt be useful to many.

You are correct to criticize the binary tree model (which both the Ahnentafel and Ancestral Lines numbering schemes convey) for its inherent inability to express collapsed pedigrees. Binary tree models, as a workaround, must employ some type of marker or tag to denote an ancestor with one or more relationships to the proband, and that's easily done by virtually all genealogy software today. A more accurate representation, however, would be a directed acyclic graph, which I don't think is supported by any genealogy softwaer, TMG included. (We have shot off on a highly esoteric tangent.)

(edit: added silverfox as my direct address since kathymarieann posted before I could get my reply out)

Re: Ahnentafel Report Help Documentation Error?

Posted: 1352398216000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1352398474000

I agree that it should be removed entirely. It's misleading and confusing and controversial for veteran users of the software, so it's particularly unhelpful to new users.

I don't know that I agree with your interpretation of "two family lines". I understand that as two *ancestral* lines, and a pedigree that's fully populated for a few generations certainly has more than two such lines. In fact, half of the people introduced in each generation backward represent a new line--matrilineal or patrilineal depending on your perspective.

Re: Ahnentafel Report Help Documentation Error?

Posted: 1352402902000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1352403002000
Marco comment

"I don't know that I agree with your interpretation of "two family lines". I understand that as two *ancestral* lines, and a pedigree that's fully populated for a few generations certainly has more than two such lines. In fact, half of the people introduced in each generation backward represent a new line--matrilineal or patrilineal depending on your perspective."

It is one "family" line of the root person [Think of it this way: For example, your mother is part of your "family" just as your father is, and I think you would not consider her a separate family or family "line" just because she has a different surname than your father has]

But yes, if you want to think of it the way you are describing it is

2 family lines for the 1st ancester generation
4 lines or the 2nd generation
8 lines for the third
16 for the 4th
2 to the 10 power = 1024 for the 10th generation

But I guess my answer to this is so what -- we could "dance" forever on this head of a pin and still be nowhere

If the desire is to keep it at "1" line just trace the same surname ----a very boring use of genealogy and you won't know who your ancestors are -----they are more than just the same surname

You might even find out you have some "Royal" or other interestin ancestors by exploring a little

And when all is said and done this has nothing to do with the erroneous/opiniated help documentation you originally brought up
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