Carol Sanderson, Editor
Charles Hansen, Technical Advisor
Newsletter Archives | E-mail
A short time ago there was a question on the message board asking if someone could define Ahnentafel. It sat there for a couple of days with no answer. The person, like me, had tried to find the meaning in an ordinary dictionary. It wasn't there.
I thought about it and came up with a meaning I had been given at one time...that was a "tiny table" It is called that but the better definition was given by another person. They said it was an "ancestor table". That is the literal translation and it is exactly right.
We make ancestor charts or pedigree charts as they are sometimes called. We start usually with ourselves but it doesn't have to be that way. You may start with anyone and the chart will tell you the same thing about that person and the relationships on the chart as it would if you were the beginning point. On these charts you may also give the persons date and place of birth, date of marriage and date and place of death if you want and have the room but whatever you list should not be more than one line. This is so that one may keep the chart or table simple and easy to follow.
In starting start a chart, the first person, male or female, is numbered as one even though we know that males are given even numbers and females are an odd number. Let us try it. On my chart, I would be number 1 and my father would be 2 (double the number) while my mother would be 3 (two plus one) That is her spouse 2 plus 1 to equal three. This is continued on through each generation. Our grandparents would be, in descending order of that generation down the page 4, 5, 6, and 7 respectively. This is followed in the same manner for each generation., that is the male being double the number in the generation preceding him and the female being his number plus one. Like this:
With each generation the number of grandparents doubles so you can see that it wouldn't take many generations for you to have a goodly number of people in your data base.
The Ahnentafel can also be just a listing...not a chart. By doing this, one can get more generations on a page than with the familiar charts. This would be an easier way of sending information to other relatives who may be able to help you fill in missing names. I have made a chart of my husband's father's ancestors to show you. Look at it carefully and you can see how it would help to tell others what you néed to find out. See if you can find what is missing and also figure out the relationships by using the numbers.
Most genealogy programs can make an ahnentael chart. I have three programs that I work with and all three can do this in one form or another. Sometmes you have to hunt to find it buried in another menu but it is there
One of the great things in doing genealogy online is finding other people researching the same surname or family. A lot of the time it is pure coincidence to find someone researching your family and before the internet, a lot of people would join family associations and publish and receive newsletters. When I first started in genealogy, I joined several and nearly every time I joined a family association it was like the kiss of death to that group as they soon stopped publishing the newsletter.
Mail lists are a way for people to get together with other researchers. There are surname mail lists, country mail lists, state mail lists, county mail lists, regional mail lists, and even mail lists for genealogical societies. To join a list you néed to subscribe to the list, and all the Rootsweb lists have been free to all subscribers since the beginning of Rootsweb. There are two ways to ways to subscribe to a mail list, mail mode or digest mode. Mail mode gets you every message just as it is sent. Digest mode combines several messages into a large E-mail before it is sent out. If the list is busy I like the digest mode so I don't get a lot of E-mails each day, but quiet lists I like the mail mode. Why do you néed to subscribe? It is a way to keep spammers from the mail lists, they do not have time to subscribe to each mail list, so the lists remain nearly spam free..
About seven years ago I was asked to form a mail list on Rootsweb for the refugees from Prodigy classic, as it would soon shut down due to the program not being Y2000 compatible. At that time to be a list owner, Rootsweb asked for a donation to help defray expenses. I don't remember the exact amount they asked for each mail list, but for $50 a year you could be a list owner for several lists. I sent in my $50 and a few days later I was the proud list owner of the Prodigy Orphans Mail List.
Later, on one of the mail lists to which I subscribed, the list owner asked for someone to take over as administrator. I E-mailed him and said to put me at the bottom of the list since I did not live there, but did do some research there once in a while. A few weeks later I became the proud list owner of my second list, the Whitman County, Washington mail list. I really wanted my home county Spokane, but it took three tries before I finally became the Spokane county mail list owner, and now I have six county lists in Washington. Why county lists? I learned years ago it is much easier to find some expert on researching in a specific location, than to find someone researching your surname in that county. On a county mail list you can find what records are available and who does research in that area.
Each county in the United States also has a message board, and while they are both helpful for genealogist, they work quite differently. A message board is similar to the old query section in a lot of genealogical periodicals; you post your query and hope someone replies to the message board post. You can check the message board every once in a while to see the new posts, or you can put in the preferences section to have Rootsweb E-mail you when a new message is posted. Another way to get the message boards posts is to have the Message Board posts gatewayed to the corresponding mail list, so every message board post is also copied to the mail list. Many list owners do not like to have the message boards gatewayed, but a lot of list owners do like the gateway. Message boards can be searched for specific surnames or keywords, and you can also post attachments, like pictures, or other files to the message boards.
Rootsweb always had money problems, so when Ancestry bought them out I was rather surprised. Ancestry assured the list owners the lists and message boards would always remain free, and that the list owners would not have to donate yearly to keep our lists. Since that time there has been a lot of discussion on what to call the list owners, when we paid for the list we were the list owner, and unless we violated some of the Rootsweb rules we could run our list almost any way we wanted. So now am I a list administrator? A list dad?
Is it hard to be a list owner? No, it is pretty easy. We help people subscribe or un-subscribe, and try to keep the discussions going on the lists. It used to be that as a list owner we got a ton of spam, as Rootsweb would send all the messages sent to the list by non-subscribers, and most of these messages were spam. Today, Rootsweb has pretty good spam filters, and we do not get much spam from the lists. While the list owner gets the spam, very little spam ever gets sent on the mail list. Message boards do get some spam as they do not require anyone to subscribe. If the message board is gatewayed, the mail list will get some spam, so this is one reason a lot of list owners do not like the gateway.
Do you want to be a list owner? Rootsweb has a list of available mail lists up for adoption. They also have several help areas for beginning list owners, and the rules for list owners. Try it I think you will like being a list owner, list dad or list mom.