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Monday, January 25, 2010

Ahnentafel: What is an Ahnentafel?

First, let me say that I am a Mac user, and see no reason ever to switch to a PC. I started using a Mac when I published the campus newspaper in graduate school, we used Aldus Pagemaker, which became Adobe Pagemaker, and I quickly came to realize that the publishing industry thrived on Macs.
So, the genealogy software program I use is Reunion, the one designed for Mac, recommended to me lo these many years ago by Dick Eastman back in the days of the Compuserve genealogy forum.
Using Reunion since 1996, I now have an extensive database of my own family, and build a database for each new Client.
Along with the database, I can create various kinds of reports, and my favorite one is the Ahnentafel.
An Ahnentafel starts with the Source person, who is the Client. We then can show all of the people he or she is descended from.
Reunion lets me show these by generation, and every person gets a number.
So, source person #1 has a male parent/father #2 and a female parent/mother #3.
From there on, double the number in the male line and you have that person's next generation.
Your father's father is #4 [2x2], your father's mother is #5, your father's father's father is #8 [2x4], your father's mother's father is #10 [2x5], and so on.
Your mother's father is #6 [2x3] and your mother's mother is #7. Your mother's father's father is #12 [2x6] and your mother's mother's father is #14 [2x7].
Once you are familiar with the system, you can glance at the number and know if you are following your paternal or maternal lines.
For Charlemagne lines, this gets a bit silly unless you remember to remove duplicates, since once we get back to any major noble or royal line, we start getting into the overlapping royal families of Europe.
However, it's very exciting when we are able to take a line far back into the past and show each person.
Reunion has an option of showing the children of each generation within the Ahnentafel, a feature that makes printing a Register Report redundant.
If you haven't tried your software program's Ahnentafel feature, give it a try now!
I'll be uploading samples of these for famous people in my next posting.
Here's the company's website: http://www.leisterpro.com/

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