is for ahnentafel. Yes, it’s German. Literally translated as “ancestor table,” an ahnentafel is a simple yet compact way to depict one’s family history. And it can be done without diagrams or the typical family tree structure. This makes an ahnentafel the preferred way to present genealogical information when schematics are limited or impractical (e.g., group emails).
An ahnentafel uses a numbering system to organize your ancestors. The individual whose ancestry is being traced (typically you) is listed as No. 1. The subject’s father and mother are assigned No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Paternal grandparents get No. 4 and No. 5, while the maternal grandparents get No. 6 and No. 7. This means that, with the exception of No. 1, all males will have even numbers and all females will have odd numbers.
Here is an example of an ahnentafel using my maternal grandfather (Harold Edwin Lundquist) as the subject.
1 Harold Edwin LUNDQUIST. Born on 4 January 1910 in Smithfield, Cache Co., Utah. Died 28 May 1979 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Co., California; he was 69.
On 8 November 1930 when Harold was 20, he married Erma Funk in Preston, Franklin Co., Idaho.
2 Eric Benjamin LUNDQUIST. Born on 27 December 1871 in Broten, Annehard, Sweden. Died 25 July 1932 in Smithfield, Cache Co., Utah; he was 60.
On 4 November 1903 when Eric was 31, he married Eugenia Harris in Logan, Cache Co., Utah.
3 Eugenia HARRIS. Born on 4 November 1881 in Hyde Park, Cache Co., Utah. Died 14 February 1950 in Smithfield, Cache Co., Utah; she was 68.
4 Carl Gustav LUNDQUIST. Born on 9 February 1834 in Luckebo, Orebro, Sweden. Died 21 September 1880 in Broten, Annehard, Sweden; he was 46.
On 20 November 1857 when Carl was 23, he married Caroline Erickson in Ostmark, Varmland, Sweden.
5 Caroline ERICKSON. Born on 12 September 1832 in Varmland, Sweden. Died 11 March 1903 in Hyde Park, Cache Co., Utah; she was 70.
6 William Emer HARRIS. Born on 3 December 1854 in Ogden, Weber Co., Utah. Died 27 October 1904 in Pocatello, Bannock Co., Idaho; he was 49.
On 4 November 1877 when William was 22, he married Katherine Sarah Perkes in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co., Utah.
7 Katherine Sarah PERKES. Born on 12 May 1861 in Belleville, St. Clair Co., Illinois. Died 7 September 1957 in Smithfield, Cache Co., Utah; she was 96.
As you can see, an ahnentafel generally includes the three main genealogical events: births, marriages, and deaths. In addition, since an ahnentafel doesn’t use diagrams, last names are usually in capital letters so you can easily scan each name.
Take some time to prepare a basic ahnentafel – you never know when it will come in handy.