A Brief Explanation of

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) Quarterly System-

Descending Genealogy


The numbering system used exclusively on this website is the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Quarterly System - Descending Genealogy, with a few minor modifications. It is based on Numbering Your Genealogy   Sound and Simple Systems, by Joan Ferris Curran, Special Publication No. 59, National Genealogical Society, Arlington, VA, 1992.


This system assigns a number to each infant, whether or not that child is known to have left any descendants. The first person in each lineage is, by definition, "1." Each descendant child is assigned a number, in chronological order of birth, beginning with "2.", "3.", etc. This number may change, of course, if updated information is added to the lineage that alters the chronological order of birth. One of the modifications used on this website is that each child also receives a special "RN" number (Record Number), in bold, e.g. "RN=1234", which links this individual to my master computer database. The only exception is that any unnamed child, e.g. stillborn, will be designated "No RN" and is noted as "[Son]" or "[Daughter]", if the sex is known. This "RN" will never change! It is highly recommended that you always refer to the person's "RN" whenever contacting me as this is the primary link to my master database, which currently contains 14,951 names!


If a child has descendants, it is designated with a "+" preceeding the number. This signifies that the lineage of that child, along with its sequence number and its specific "RN", is continued in the follow-on generation. Each generation is distinctly separated, e.g. "Generation One", "Generation Two", etc.


In lineages where there are immigrants, the NGS Quarterly System automatically designates the immigrant as "Generation One" and the generation of his parents, who did not immigrate, as "Generation A", and the generation of his grandparents as "Generation B", and so forth, referred to as the "Pre-American generation letter". Note that if an immigrant had a sibling that did not immigrate, that sibling is also included in the same generation as the immigrant but a notation is accordingly made that this person or family did not immigrate. This keeps the generations consistent.


A superscript number (or letter in the case of pre-immigrant generations) is placed after the last name entry prior to the surname to denote the current generation, e.g. John Paul 2 Jones.Following the individual's name, his direct lineage is provided using the first and occasionally middle and/or maiden name, if desired, followed by the superscripted generation number or letter, e.g. (John Paul 2, Robert 1, James R.A, Charles B Jones).


When descendant children's names are entered, a "Birth-order number", e.g. "1.", "2.". etc., is entered prior to the child's name. In cases where the birth order is unknown, the order is presumed and is so noted.


If no further information is known about an individual or further clarification is deemed necessary, annotations such as "Descendants unknown" or "death date and place unknown" are appropriately made. If a person is assumed to still be living, it is so noted.


Supplementary information regarding an individual is included as a [NOTE:].


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