I think it is reasonable to say no system works well in all families. Most become cumbersome at some point. But sure, sketching out family charts for several generations can at least clarify the information.I use a system like this--AUGUSTUS M. ECKLER--1851 (Matthew Layman-1824; Charles-1796; Peter-1766) Augustus M. was born on June 25, 1851, in Jersey City, Hudson Co., NJ, the son of Matthew Layman Eckler-1824 and Mary F. Pollock. . . . By affixing birth year (as best known), and then referencing three generations back, you clarify who you are talking about (which George, etc) and how they fit in the family. Under his father's listing, he is shown with his siblings. To go beyond that, you have to sketch out a chart, but the info needed for that is readily available.Some people use a number system: 111111111 where the first number indicates the first known ancestor and his brothers and sisters would be numbered sequentially by birthdate. The second number refers to the second generation and so on. Usually the information is published in numerical order with the result that the oldest ancestors appears first, followed by his oldest child, oldest grandchild, oldest great grandchild.Others list all the first generation, then all their children.The numbering systems work fine for families of 3 or 4 generations, but for families of 10 or more generations the information you are trying to follows gets spread all over. That is why I prefer to list everyone alphabetically by first name. Then their parents or children can easily be followed without resorting to the index.
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