Selecting a consistent format to record family tree information

The genealogy pages in the database as now presented are displayed in a variety of formats, with the leading format of each page most closely following that devised by NEHGS (the New England Historic Genealogical Society), which is now used widely for family histories.

One of the problems encountered when creating the database was the issue of ‘mixed formats’ for recording genealogical information. The original data was set out in a mixture of Registry and Harvard Outline formats.

The Harvard Outline Format uses alternating series of Roman numerals, uppercase letters, Arabic numerals, etc. with each level of content being indented. The problem with the Harvard Outline Format is that when one adds biographical data for an individual which causes the outline to extend over several pages, it becomes difficult to follow the family lines (See example below)

The Registry Format overcomes these limitations by keeping families and generations together. This is a format that has been widely used in the United States for genealogical research and reporting. It is the preferred format used by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, (NEHGS), as well as many other genealogical organisations. (See example below)

Notes on how the NEHGS (Registry Format) displays

  • Each page is family based. Each family has a father, a mother, and children.
  • Each page is labelled by the Head of the Family (usually the father).
  • After giving the basic vital statistics of the Head of the Family (birth, death, marriage, etc), the father and mother of the individual is given.
  • If there are multiple marriages, each marriage attached to the Head of the Family is listed in chronological order.
  • Then follows a list of the children of each marriage under each spouse.
  • Every individual has a unique Record Identification Number.
  • Following this information is the Pedigree Chart.
  • Finally comes the biographical information, with sources for documentation.
  • When publishing this format in a book form, the pages look very similar to this. On a website, however, each name is linked to their own page by a hyperlink, which functions internally within the website to take you to the selected record.