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Register Numbering System


Based on the numbering system developed by the New England Historical and Genealogical Society in 1870, the register system is one of the two main systems in use today for numbering descendant reports. It is used for published family genealogies in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, for which the register numbering system is named. The register numbering method was also the primary numbering system used for family histories published in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

What is the Register Numbering System?:

An outline of all known descendants of a given individual, the register numbering system is designed to make it easier to track a line through multiple generations. Best used for final publication, the register numbering system is not the best choice for research in progress, as it is requires extensive renumbering when making additions or corrections. Another drawback of the register numbering system is that only blood-line descendants are assigned numbers (spouses do not receive a number).

How to Read a Register Report:

The key to reading a register report is to understand its numbering system. The progenitor or primary individual is given the number 1. Each of his children is then numbered in sequential order by birth with lower-case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, etc.). If the birth order is not known, the children are usually listed in the most-likely order of birth. Children with known lines of descent included later in the report are also given an Arabic number (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.).
Except for the primary individual, every person given a number in the register numbering system appears first as a child. The number they are assigned indicates his/her position in the adult descent line. If no number is given, there are no descendants included in the report for that individual, and it is the last time that child will appear in the register report.
Superscript numbers listed immediately following a person's name are generally used in the Register System to indicates the generation of that person removed from the progenitor (number 1).

What Does the Register Numbering System Look Like?:

To look at it visually, here is the layout of a simplified register report:

Descendants of George Herbert Walker Bush

1. George Herbert Walker Bush, 41st President of the U.S., was born 12 June 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts. He married Barbara Pierce 06 January 1945 in Rye, New York, daughter of Marvin Pierce and Pauline Robinson. She was born 08 June 1925 in Rye, New York.

Children of George Bush and Barbara Pierce:

   2.     i George Walker Bush, b. 06 July 1946, New Haven, Connecticut
          ii John (Jeb) Ellis Bush, b. 11 February 1953, Midland, Midland County, Texas
         iii Neil Mallon Bush
         iv Marvin Bush
          v Robin Bush
         vi Dorothy Bush

Second Generation:

2. George Walker Bush (George Herbert Walker1), 43rd President of the U.S., was born 06 July 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut. He married Laura Welch 1977 in Midland, Texas.

Children of George Walker Bush and Laura Welch:

          i Barbara Bush, b. 1981
          ii Jenna Bush, b. 1981

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