By Judy Kellar Fox, CG®
The William Walker–Margaret Lauderdale family has challenged us across the past three posts with several numbering complexities.
- In the first post we assigned people generation numbers according to whether they were born in the U.S. or abroad.
- The second post demonstrated how to number children born to unknown fathers.
- Numbering informal adoptions and children born to a descendant by more than one spouse followed in the third post.
This post wraps up discussion of adoption and multiple partners.
Remember that we are looking at three numbers that would be used in a descending genealogy:
- Individual numbers, arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, 4 . . .);
- Generation numbers, a superscript number in italic font (1, 2, A, B, a, b); and
- Birth-order numbers, a lower case roman numeral (i, ii, iii . . .).
Parenthetical summaries of descent abbreviate each descendant’s ancestry. They appear after the descendant’s name in the first line of the biographical sketch, for example, “8. Margaret Maitland2 Walker (Thomas Watta-1, WilliamA, ThomasB) was born . . .”
In all cases our authority on numbering is Joan Ferris Curran, Madilyn Coen Crane, and John H. Wray, Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems, Complex Families, and International Kin, ed. Elizabeth Shown Mills, rev. ed. (Arlington, Va.: National Genealogical Society, 2008).
In the third and succeeding generations all the Walker descendants are American-born, so all have numerical generation numbers. Pre-American generation numbers (letters) appear only in the parenthetical summaries of descent. Likewise the descriptions we have used for Albert’s informal adoption and Edward’s treatment as a son of deceased William.
(Selected biological and adoptive grandchildren)
Margaret Maitland2 Walker’s daughter by an unknown father appears in Generation Three, although she has already been treated with her adoptive grandparents in Generation Two. Daughter Dorothy’s individual number (12) is not repeated here. She receives birth-order-number one ( i ) as Margaret’s firstborn. Birth-order numbering of Margaret’s children with Louis Fox also begins with one ( i ) to distinguish the fathers.
The informal adoption of Albert Walker and his social Walker ancestry now appear in his parenthetical summary of descent. Notice that although his children are in the third generation from WilliamA, their generation number is 2, not 3, because of adoptive son Albert’s generation number of 1.
What unique numbering questions have you encountered in your family? How have you used Numbering Your Genealogy to answer them?
 Margaret2 is a direct descendant with multiple partners, similar to the multiple marriages discussed in Numbering Your Genealogy, 18, bullet 2. See also, for example, Numbering Your Genealogy, 22, no. 12, Myrtle4 Mercer, child ii, Mason Mercer.