How the numbering system works

I’ve received some questions about how the numbering system works in the family tree. It had not occurred to me that some might not have purchased Volume 1 in combination with the secondary volume for their portion of the tree. So, I’ve copied the full description here for your edification. I’ll include this in all future volumes to reduce confusion. The system I use is not proprietary and I encourage everyone to include the tree number as an AKA in their work.

This really helps to keep from confusing people with similar names. I have 298 John Babbs, in my tree of over 18,000 people, and a variety of documents pertaining to their lives. Without this system, keeping track of which John Babb I’m discussing becomes virtually impossible. By always using the system, you make sure you don’t make incorrect assertions.

The system is known as the Modified Henry System. You can read more about the various systems in use throughout the world of genealogy here.

The New Numbering System

You will notice that each Babb Descendant has an aka that is a number. This keeps with the system used by Jean A. Sargent with a few modifications which I will discuss in a moment.
The numbers indicate the order of known children of the parents; and the numbers typically indicate the birth order. As I expanded on Jean’s work, I came across children that were not covered in her work. As she had already issued books associating people with certain numbers, I refrained from changing those. So, if your ancestor was in her book, your number should remain unchanged. There is no way to easily modify the numbers of each descendant so I elected to keep them as they are. However, you should find them in the correct birth order in the report.

Why do we still have this system? Technically we really don’t need the system anymore as the Genealogy program keeps things in order. However, I have found it useful for keeping track of the approximately 4000 associated files. It also makes it easier to find certain people with common given names.

Since we are concerned with several major groupings of families, all the descendants of Phillip of the Isles of Shoals begin with “1”, Benjamin Babb of Middletown, CT begin with a “2”, etc. Each line that starts with a number other than 1 has not yet been linked via documentation or DNA with Phillips lineage.

The children of a Babb Female will typically have a different surname and along with that they are lettered rather than numbered. Once you go to letters you never go back with the single exception of marrying back into the Babb Line. There are a few instances of that and although the person technically has 2 and in some cases 3 different numbers the Babb Male’s lineage is given precedence and his line number is used from there on out. You can track those if you want separately. I also mark the leaving of the Babb Surname or the end of a line with a period “.” so you can easily see when the change takes place. An Equal sign “=” indicates where Jean left off and I began. Its main significance is to see what is new and what is not. I have sourced new entries so you will know where I got them.

For example:

Phillip:            1
Phillip:             1-2
Hulda:             1-2-7=.
John Gregory: 1-2-7=.A
Additionally, those of known origins to other countries, such as more recent immigrants will have a letter in front of their tree number to indicate the country of origin.
For example:
E is for England G is for Germany M means they likely fit into one of the known trees, but their branch is missing.
Generally, I’ll explain these as they are used and you won’t see the overseas examples until future volumes.

The DNA Waiting Game Begins

Recently I was contacted by Babb who now lives in South Africa, but who was born in Devon, England. I’ll withhold the exact name to protect his privacy. He has been working on his lineage for a while now and has traced his family back to an Edward Babb who was born in Hatherleigh, Devon, England in 1675. This was the best documented tree I had seen for an English Babb line, and I offered to have the Babb Family Association pay for his test.

As a reminder, at this time, we have identified 5 distinct lineages of Babb’s in England; 3 of which came to America and the rest who still reside in England. This is the source of an upcoming Babb Unabridged book, tentatively titled “Made in England”, which will be volume 8 of the series. I plan to discuss all of these lines in detail in the book.

But today, I’m writing to say that the test kit is currently steaming it’s way across the ocean on it’s way to a DNA laboratory in Houston, TX. Once the test arrives at the facility it takes a few days for the kit to be logged and sent for processing, there will then be a 4-6 week window while we wait for the test results to come in.

SomersetbannerWhat do we hope to learn?

One of 6 things can happen. Our candidate will either match to one of the established 5 lineages (My money is on the line from Pitminster, Somerset, England which I’ve affectionately named the Dragons. A mere 50 miles separates the ancestral homes of these two lineages, so the likelihood of a match is great.

Alternatively, they might match to our second lineage, which hails from Devon. I don’t have many details on this line as the candidate was one of the first we did and I didn’t have good measures in place to track his lineage. The candidate has since passed away, but know that I’ll be working to find this info should the need arise.

Options 3-5 all revolve around matching to one of the US Babb lineages for Phillip of the Isles of Shoals (1), Benjamin Babb or Middletown, CT (3) or the Babb’s of North Carolina (5) & Eastern Virginia (4), which are covered in Volumes 1-7 of my Series Babb Unabridged available here.

The 6th option is that they will match to None of the Above and we will have identified a 6th line of Babbs in England. Obviously, I’m hoping on the Somerset option, which will prove a connection.

Whatever happens, our knowledge of this subject will never be the same. As we move this DNA project into the next phase, I hope to be able to start predicting matches with the same certainty that I’m able to do in the US. So, cross your fingers, say a prayer, burn some incense or whatever you can to blow some positive energy in the direction of Houston!


Picture: “Somersetbanner” by Somerset CC. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia –