Conventions used in family trees

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Jerripedia is open to all users to add their own family trees and other information in whatever format they choose. See:

But you are recommended, if at all possible, to follow the general style which has been in use since the site started. This ensures that as much information as possible is presented in a standard format and that the site is easy to use by experienced genealogists as well as those new to tracing their family history.

These notes will help the latter understand what they will encounter in the majority of trees on this page, and also provide a further guide to those intending to post their own family trees.


Every effort has been made to keep family trees clean and simple, with no superfluous information which might confuse the reader. This means that some information which might otherwise be available, including godparents, has generally been omitted. It is always open to any site user who has this information for a particular tree to create a copy and include more detail, but please leave the original tree intact.


There are many types of report which can be generated by family tree software, including ascendancies and descendancies, stylised trees, ahnentafels etc. Most software packages are also capable of generating a standard Gedcom report, which can be read by other packages. Unfortunately it is not possible to import Gedcoms into the Mediawiki software which powers Jerripedia, and we have settled on the descendancy as the most useful form of tree.

This is the type of tree which is often found in books and magazine articles. It enables the reader to trace the family generation by generation and, most important of all, it allows all siblings in each generation to be listed. So the oldest members of the family are at the top, followed by their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. Each generation is numbered and indented, so it is very easy to read the tree.


Dates are important in family trees, because they help position the generations and distinguish between different members of a family who have the same forename(s). But too many dates can make trees very confusing, so Jerripedia has standardised on birth and death dates or, as are found in most early documents, baptism and burial dates. No attempt is made to distinguish between the two, on the basis that there is usually only a very short period between birth and baptism; death and burial.

Until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752, the New Year started on March 26 each year, so all dates in January and February, and up to 25 March, had the same year number as the previous year. Sometimes dates during this period are shown in the style '1645/6', but this can be very confusing to those not familiar with this style so Jerripedia shows all dates as if the New Year started on 1 January, and this should be taken into account when comparing data in Jerripedia tree with that published elsewhere for the same family.

Many dates given for births and deaths (baptisms and burials) in family trees on other sites are identified as approximate. A date believed to be within a year or so of that published is usually qualified as 'about' or 'abt'. Any dates which are less certain should be qualified as 'estimated' or 'est'. Sometimes 'circa' or 'c' is used to indicate uncertainty about a date's accuracy.

Because all dates at least until the 18th century should be viewed as uncertain, Jerripedia trees do not generally qualify any dates - site users are expected to anticipate that there will be a degree of inaccuracy. Dates are usually presented as shown in source material, but when dates are discovered that are self-evidently incorrect and the correct date cannot be discovered, they have generally been omitted.

Only years are shown in trees entered by site administrators, although Jerripedia users are welcome to include months and days if they wish, but should be aware that this can overcomplicate a simple descendancy. Where full dates are used on the site, the format '3 January 1780' is the preferred style, although 3 Jan 1780 and 3/1/1780 are acceptable. Please avoid all other date styles.

Jerripedia does not use born, baptised, b, bp, buried etc in association with dates. (1545-1595) indicates the dates of birth/baptism and burial/death; (1545- ) indicates a birth/baptism date when the death date is not known; ( -1545) indicates a death/burial date when the date of birth is not known; (liv 1545) is occasionally used and indicates that a person is known to have been living at that date.

Marriages, godparents etc

Originally marriage dates were not included in Jerripedia trees (unless this was the only date known which could position a couple in history). Production of Jerripedia trees is always a compromise between time and space and the desire to include as much information as possible. However, we soon realised that marriage dates, and place of marriage, are of such fundamental importance to researchers that they should be included when known. It is only the earliest of our trees which omit this information.

Where a marriage date is given, the style is John Smith m (1742) Jane Brown; or ... m (1742, St H) Jane Brown

Other information

Occasionally information will be added to an entry to provide extra identification for an invidual (particularly important where the same forenames have been used in succeeding generations) and a term of office as Jurat, Constable or in another important position will be noted, together with dates. These extra details are now held in separate notes, rather than being shown in the body of the tree. Those adding their own trees, or expanding existing trees, should contact the editorial team if they are not sure how to create such notes.


Spouses of those in the direct line will be included wherever known, together with information on their ancestors. For example

John Smith m Jane Brown, daughter of Charles, son of Charles, son of Jean; and Marie Aubin

This indicates that Jane Brown was the daughter of Charles Brown (the father's surname is assumed to be the same as the daughter's) and Marie Aubin, and granddaughter of Charles, and great-granddaughter of Jean. This style is used without exception so that the user can be certain about relationships.

Where a male member of a tree has two or more wives, the style used varies depending on whether he had children by more than one of them. For example:

John Smith m 1, Jane Brown; 2, Alice Green

would indicate that Alice Green was the mother of the children in the next generation and no children were born to Jane Brown.

John Smith m 3, Jeanne Black; 2, Alice Green; 1, Jane Brown

would indicate three marriages, with all the children born to the first wife, Jane Brown

Where there are children by more than one wife, the style is

John Smith m 1, Jane Brown
2nd wife of John Smith, Alice Green

The entry for the second wife will be indented to the same extent as her husband so make it easy to locate, but it should be borne in mind that the entry for second and subsequent spouses may be positioned some way down the tree from the first if there are many descendants of the first marriage.

In general children are positioned in order of birth, the eldest highest in the tree, but sometimes for convenience the order shown in the source tree will be adopted. It was very common in trees produced during the 19th and early 20th century for the male children to be listed first, in order of birth, and then the female children. Every effort is being made to eliminate this practice, which is understandably now viewed as discriminatory, but some trees based on early research will inevitably replicate this approach.

Female lines

In general, although husbands are identified when known, no children of female descendants in a tree are shown. This is to avoid trees becoming unworkable large and confusing. The exceptions are when a link to an important individual in another tree can be established, or when cousins marry and the extended female line links back into the main tree within a number of generations. An extended female line will usually be shown in a further tree under the husband's surname, with a link included (see next section).


Blue text links are inserted in trees where information on an individual can be found in another family tree, in a family history, or in another type of article in Jerripedia. They are also used to link to definitions of positions such as Constable and Jurat or when there is any other sort of background material available.

Links from one tree to another are particularly important when a long tree has been split into two or more sections for ease of use. For example, when detailed information is known about the descendancies of two or more sons who appear early in a family tree, a general tree for the early generations may be presented, with separate trees for each main descendancy.


Some of the Jerripedia trees for an individual family overlap to a lesser or greater extent with others. This is usually because similar trees have become available from a second source some time after the original tree was posted. The second and subsequent trees may diverge into different lines lower down the tree; they may contain extra information, dates etc; or they may simply provide further confirmation of an important lineage. In all cases the original tree(s) have been left unamended and the new data has been shown in separate trees. A note to this effect is usually shown on family pages, in the trees themselves, but not in the Family tree index.

As a matter of general policy throughout Jerripedia, early articles will not be replaced as more detailed information becomes available after their inclusion (unless they are shown to be significantly incorrect), but they will remain on the site alongside later material. This is believed to be one of the key advantages of the publication of historical material in the Jerripedia format.

Living individuals

As a general rule our trees do not contain details of living individuals, and a cut-off point of births in about 1920 has been adopted. However, when trees have been supplied to us for inclusion with some living individuals included, they have been retained, but with the minimum of information. If we have inadvertently included details of living individuals who would prefer not to appear in Jerripedia trees, please make contact and your details will immediately be removed.

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