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64 generation Ahnentafel


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#1 TomH

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 08:37 AM

It has been noted for a long time, dating back one suspects to Family Origins, that no version of RootsMagic supports an Ahnentafel number greater than for 32 generations, due to the 32-bit limit on the size of an integer number set somewhere in the application. SQLite itself supports a 64 bit integer and is capable of supporting a 64 generation Ahnentafel, as this SQLite query demonstrates. So this wish is for RootsMagic to break the 32 bit boundary and reach the next frontier.

I have no real need for it myself, as my proven ancestry peters out around 13 generations but there are those who would like to get beyond Charlemagne, who might be around 32 gens back.

In developing the query, I came across an undocumented feature (at least it's not stated in Help on this report) or bug in the RM5 Ahnentafel list report: the lineage reported depends upon which set of parents is selected in the upper left of the main screen for a person in the line. That is to say that if the adoptive parents are selected for a person in the line, the Ahnentafel lineage will follow the adoptive parents, not the birth parents. I find this puzzling and confusing - I would have thought it should only follow the birth relationship. However, I can see the value in understanding one's cultural or environmental ancestry in addition to the blood line, in which case I would argue that it should show birth only, with an option to show non-birth but with some way of differentiating non-birth related ancestors from blood ancestors, just as has been requested for charts and other reports.

Tom user of RM7550 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#2 RootsMagician

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 09:41 AM

This is exactly the way it is supposed to work. When you select a set of parents on that main screen, that makes that set of parents the "Current parents" for that person, and all ancestor reports will use that set of parents (until the user selects a different set of "current parents".

RootsMagic does not have a "global" use birth vs use other because:

1. A person could have more than 2 sets of parents (and thus more than 1 "other" set of parents)
2. A user may want to use the birth parents of one person, but other parents for a different person

In either of those cases a single birth vs. other switch would not handle the situation.
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#3 TomH

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 12:11 PM

Thanks for the confirmation, Bruce.

I see that the choice of "current parent" affects not only the Ahnentafel report but also the Narrative Ancestor reports and the Pedigree Chart report and, much as I have searched Help, I can find no explanation that the ancestors shown are determined by these choices. I understand that the 1-2-4-8 layout of the Pedigree View necessitates choosing parents to be in the view but I would argue that that is not the case for reports and charts. I would argue that the user should be given the choice of having reports|charts:
  • Follow the Pedigree View, controlled by parental choices
  • Follow Birth relations only
  • Follow all parental relations, Birth, Adoptive, ...
That should answer all requirements, especially with an additional option for relations to be coded graphically by type in Pedigree View|Report|Chart. It makes no sense to me to have this current restriction.







Tom user of RM7550 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#4 Don Newcomb

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 11:15 AM

Tom, Have you ever "done the math" on the probability of a particular genetic lineage being correct for more than a few generations? It's downright humorous. Without DNA evidence, beyond a few generations is just an academic exercise; something done for the fun of it. At least adoptive children can say that they really know who their parents are. So, I'm supposed to be a 47th great-grandson of Flavius Afranius Syagrius. It's introduced me to a lot of medieval history I'd not have studied otherwise but that's about the only value it has. I don't think I'll ever feel the need to print out an ahnentafel with all 49 generations.

#5 TomH

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 01:56 PM

Without DNA evidence, beyond a few generations is just an academic exercise; something done for the fun of it.


"Academic" would put too fine an approbation on the exercise; "fun" is appropriate.

Tom user of RM7550 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#6 leeirons

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 03:55 PM

"Academic" would put too fine an approbation on the exercise; "fun" is appropriate.


I would argue for academic. There is no fun in adding 47 generations to your own personal database just because "I found it on the internet, so it must be true." The fun part of this is the academic exercise of finding evidence to support the claim and publishing the evidence in such a way that other people can understand your explanation and either present counter evidence or supporting evidence. It is detective work, and your genealogical peers are the jury. And all of this fun begins pretty much around the Renaissance for the vast majority of ancestral lines for the vast majority of people.

Don might have a good point. How many of us have access to actual records before the year 1500 such that we could do such academic (detective) work. Those who do probably don't use Roots Magic.

However, Tom has a good point in that there is no reason why there should of 32 generations to an automated publication.

#7 Don Newcomb

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 03:21 PM

Don might have a good point. How many of us have access to actual records before the year 1500 such that we could do such academic (detective) work. Those who do probably don't use Roots Magic.


I know I don't. Neither do I possess the Latin required to read those records. For that I just have to rely on experts such as Weis, Boyer and Richardson, just as I rely on Anderson and Jacobus for authoritative answers to many of my New England questions. At least, with their help, I'm going from, "Found it on the Internet." to "Have the source citations." for just about everything.