Ancestorgraph (National Institute)
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 ($).
The Ancestorgraph is a nifty visual device for summarizing life spans and key documentation for your ancestors. The chart below shows an example of a completed ancestorgraph.
Your ancestors are listed and keyed by their Sosa-Stradonitz numbers on the left. Decennial columns indicate the census years and the ancestor’s life span may be drawn or coloured horizontally across these. When an ancestor has been found on the census a tick () is made on the left of the census line. Similarly the possession of civil registration certificates is indicated by B, M and D in the correct places. If census or certificates are not available then an X indicates this.
As an example let’s look at #28 John EVES, reading from right to left. He was born before the start of civil registration (actually in 1835) so his dotted line starts at the right hand edge of the page. I have found him on the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses (), and have his marriage certificate (M) shortly after this (1863). I have not yet found him on the 1871, but have done so on the 1881 and 1891 censuses. His death occurred in 1900, indicate by a D on the ancestorgraph. His wife, Maria Pantling was younger than him (B in 1840), and died about 20 years before him (D in 1880).
In this way a complete record of which of the two key 19th century ancestral original records you have is seen at a glance. The Ancestorgraph enables you to see who were contemporaries and who were alive during significant world or local events. This kind of timeline adapts well to a spreadsheet and can be extended backwards as far as you want to go. There are timelines available online, too.
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 email@example.com
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.