Genealogy - what is it?


According to Duden, (spelling dictionary of the German language) genealogy means the science of origin, succession and relationship of the sexes. Genealogy lists the dates of life and stories of the ancestors of a presumed person who is called the subject.

The Bible in the Old Testament with the complete genealogy of Abraham provides the first pedigree ever (Genesis 11: 10-32), as well as in the New Testament that of Jesus (Matt. 1, 1-17, with cross references to each generation). Many genealogies have their roots in the Roman Empire.
Using genealogical research shows the relation of a person to their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents as well as to brothers, sisters and children. Opinions differ as to whether this reference is biological or sociological.



What is a family tree?
In order to present a filiation, there are 4 possibilities:

1. Ancestors list: Based on the subject, there are listed his parents (father, mother), then his grandparents and great-grandparents. To maintain a certain degree of clarity, the individual ancestors are numbered according to a specific system.

2. Pedigree: It shows nothing more than the list of ancestors in graphical form. Subject, father, mother and grandparents on both sides etc. are represented by boxes, parchment scrolls or coat of arms and related to by lines. The pedigree is often painted as a tree, with the subject as master and the ancestors as branches.

3. Descendants list: It shows, in text form, the children of the subject, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren etc, arranged in generations.

4. Descendants chart: It is the graphical presentation of the above list. It is an extremely difficult and troublesome task for every designer because with every next generation, the number of descendants is variable and often very extensive. The chart can be represented by a tree, with the parents as the root and the descendants as branches and twigs. 


Research "almost" without end

He who aims to achieve to full research of his ancestors will continue searching for a life time. A subject has 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, 16 great-grandparents, and so on. With any other generation it doubles the number of ancestors. After 10 generations a subject will have about 1000 ancestors, after 20 generations 1 048 576.

The researchers are limited, not only by the huge number of ancestors, but also in terms of sources. In most research efforts any further discovery ends after 15 generations and in some cases sooner. See Tips: How to research my ancestors.



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