Axtell Genealogy--Numbering System
For a good overview of genealogy numbering systems, please visit Numbering Systems In Genealogy - Richard Pence. You will notice that the Axtell Genealogy numbering system is not mentioned in the list, except to note that any system that uses consecutive numbers to identify individuals always comes up against the problem of insertions.
Carson A. Axtell explains his system in an introduction to the index:
You will notice in the indexing of this Genealogy a hyphenated number before each name bearing the name Axtell, the first figure denoting the generation to which he or she belongs; following the hyphen, the index number of that individual member of that generation, numbered consecutively, beginning with 1 in each generation, as 4-17 Thomas (Daniel 3-5) would indicate Thomas was of the 4th generation and the 17th in the line of that generation, and was the son of Daniel, the 5th of the 3rd generation.
The system is inflexible. Carson had to add "a" to an index number for 6 inserted individuals, and even a "b" to 7-73b in the 1945 Genealogy. Gladys Brooks Axtell has many letter suffixes for insertions. In the next update, generations 9 and later will have to be completely renumbered because of insertions (including the whole Newman Axtell line). This means, when I give my number, I'll have to make it clear which book it came from (Supplement or 2000 Update), but the 11th generation will never have to be renumbered again and it sure beats giving my children numbers like 12-107D12 or some similar double-insertion.
Each generation starts with 1, prefixed by the generation number.
On the other hand, the system has some great advantages
In the 1945 genealogy, spouses and maternal descendants (allied lines) do not have unique numbers. The GEDCOM file has a unique reference number for every individual (REFN in GEDCOM lingo) to simplify sorting and look-ups. This genealogy number is based on the Axtell reference number, not the GEDCOM XREF number (which is the letter "I" followed by a number and is used only by the program as an internal index). In the GEDCOM file, spouses have an "s" before their index number (and an "a", "b", etc. after the number for second and third spouses). Maternal lines (descendants of female Axtells) have the letter "a" (for allied) after the generation number. For allied lines, the index number is arbitrary (just the record number in the file). The reference number is preceded by "h" for the Henry S. Axtell lineage and "n" for the now-linked "Numan" Axtell lineage.
- An individual's number is short and easy to remember--none of these strings of 12 numbers for the 12th generation. (When I was 4 at the 1962 reunion, I made a friend and reportedly said to my parents, "I like that Axtell; what's her number?" I wouldn't have asked if the answer was going to be a string of 11 numbers in the Henry System!)
- The generation is easy to recognize. In other systems, you have to count the number of numbers, or, as in the Register System, there is no clue about the generation.
- The index number gives a quick clue as to how closely you are related to another Axtell. If the numbers are far apart, you know you are distant cousins. If they are close, you're probably close cousins, although not necessarily.
- The index number is a rough estimate of relative age--low numbers tend to be born before high numbers. Number one is the first child of the first son of the first son.... The highest number is the last child of the last son of the last son....
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Last revised on 8-12-96 by Dan Axtell