Introduction to Genealogy
© 2008: Uwe Thomsen
Working within genealogy is a long lasting process because investigations are built upon a few accurate details regarding individual persons, and the work simply get stuck when the sources do not contain the information you want, or - almost worse - they bid you "options" within which you are not immediately able to identify the "right" person, but may still - without thinking about it - "just" take note of the first one, you encountered.
Eventually, there will - at this site, too - appear a guidance to some key issues and ways in which especially some odd circumstances in Schleswig can be respected, for it is relatively easy to get sober "good advice" about basic, general matters through a simple search on the Internet, and a few links to relevant (Danish) home pages are added to the left.
Primarily it has been important to make the material accessible, as it gradually will appear in a form suitable for publishing on the Internet, and concerning this, it will probably be appropriate with an explanation as to disposition of information and principles of registration, which are retained from a time when gedcom files did not exist, and the computer was unthinkable as a substitute for pen, stickers and taped papersheets.
Part of the information has - very early - been placed in "homemade" databases, which unfortunately can not be converted directly, so they must be depreciated or copied item by item, and of course the records are checked a second time, once the possibility is there.
The work has been rather comprehensive, partly because the registration of the "old" results are also "moved" a generation into the currently used disposition, and partly because some overseas lineages has become accesible on-line, from which an unexpected high number of new entrants fall outside the now established lineages, although emigrants and their descendants are, of course, extremely relevant to the history of the affected families.
Registration is built around my grandparents' generation, ie. persons born about the period 1870-1900. These 4 people (later my wife's 2 pairs of grandparents will be added) are registered as probands in their own separate investigations. "Proband" actually means "one who is investigated" and used, for example, as a medical term, too.
The proband is the starting point of any investigation, which consists of an ancestors summary and a descendants surmmary.
The ANCESTORS SUMMARY (often called "table of ancestors" after the large - often skilfully decorated - wallpapers, panels and reliefs, with which especially the nobility decorated their buildings and monuments) is here - quite traditional - designed so that the proband, regardless of gender, is assigned number 1. The number is normally not used for identification of the proband, but as the numbers are so constructed that the number of a person's father is twice the person's own number, and the number of the mother is 1 higher than the father's number, the number 1 is correct for the proband, whose father gets number 2, the mother number 3, grandparents respectively 4-5 and 6- 7, great grandparents respectively 8- 9, 10-11, 12-13 and 14-15 etc. In the opposite direction one will find the child of a pair of parents by halving the male's number, which is 1 less than the female's number (in the same pair, of course).
The ancestors summary contains only limited information to identify the individuals and links to further information, when it will be available in an appropriate format.
The DESCENDANTS SUMMARY will have the proband as its starting point, too. Parents, birth, death and all spouses as well as possible illegitime relations will be registered. Additional biographical information is added, if available, and all children born in all relationships will be recorded with links to their respective individual pages containing similar information.
Through reciprocal links from children to parents, the principle may be continued for several generations, and the unique family connection is still maintained by connecting parents names to the individual children's records, and vice versa the children's names to the parents (in fact to the one parent that is part of the genus, as the partners appear only as subjects in the biographies of direct descendants).
So users may generally avoid the complex registering system, required to clearly identify the descendants, but the respective registering codes will be included in the file names and thus be available to those who may want to use them.
Normally living people will not be published within in the descendants summary, but if parts of the summary - by the persons concerned and on their own initiative - is sought to include information of living descendants, the necessary pages (and links) can be added easily.
However, for internal use the living descendants will - as far as possible - be registered, and if contact details are available, the recorded information will be distributed respectively. Family members, who want to know what might be registered about themselves, should identify themselves through their family connection to a person published in the descendants summary (with appropriate names through all generations) and add their postal address or any other information verifying their current living place.
This will - to a certain extend - assure, that a request for information is initiated by an entitled person, but if someone's identity still appears doubtful, information will be forwarded only by mail to a physical, postal address.
As soon as a suitable template is ready, graphic tables with limited identification of (published) descendants and links to further information will be accesible.