The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2002 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author.
Ahnentafel is a word commonly used in genealogy although it probably confuses most newcomers. Ahnentafel is a German word that literally translates as "ancestor table". It is a list of all known ancestors of an individual and includes the full name of each ancestor as well as dates and places of birth, marriage, and death whenever possible. It also has a strict numbering scheme.
Once the reader is accustomed to ahnentafels, it becomes very easy to read these lists, to move up and down from parent to child and back again, and to understand the relationships of the listed people. Ahnentafels are very good at presenting a lot of information in a compact format. However, the numbering system is the key to understanding ahnentafels.
To visualize the numbers, first consider this typical pedigree chart:
Carefully observe the numbers in the above chart. You will notice that every person listed has a number and that there is a mathematical relationship between parents and children. The number of a father is always double that of his child's. The number of the mother is always double that of her child's plus one. The number of a child is always one-half that of a parent (ignoringany remainder).
In the above example, the father of person #6 is #12 (the father is double the child's number). The mother of #6 is #13 (the mother is double plus one of the child's). The child of #12 and #13 is #6 (the child is always one-half the parent's number, ignoring remainders).
Now, let's take the above chart and write it in ahnentafel format:
Notice that the numbers are exactly the same as in the pedigree chart. The rules of father=2 times child, mother=2 times child+1, child=one-half of parent, etc., remain the same. This is an ahnentafel chart.
For a more detailed example of an ahnentafel, here's an excerpt from the ahnentafel of one well-known American:
1. George Walker Bush, b. New Haven, Conn., 6 July 1946, m. 5 Nov. 1977, Laura Lane Welch
2. George Herbert Walker Bush, b. Milton, Mass., 12 June 1924, m. Rye, N.Y., 6 Jan. 1945
3. Barbara Pierce 4. Prescott Sheldon Bush, b. Columbus, Ohio, 15 May 1895, m. Kennebunkport, Maine, 6 Aug. 1921, d. New York, N.Y., 8 Oct. 1972
5. Dorothy Walker, b. near Walker's Point, York Co., Me., 1 July 1901, d. Greenwich, Conn., 19 Nov. 1992
6. Marvin Pierce, b. Sharpsville, Pa., 17 June 1893, m. Aug. 1918, d. Rye, N.Y., 17 July 1969
7. Pauline Robinson, b. Ohio, April 1896, d. Rye, N.Y., 23 Sept. 1949
8. Samuel Prescott Bush, b. Brick Church, N.J., 4 Oct. 1863, m. Columbus, Ohio, 20 June 1894, d. Columbus, Ohio, 8 Feb. 1948
9. Flora Sheldon, b. Franklin Co., Ohio, 17 Mar. 1872, d. "Watch Hill", R.I., 4 Sept. 1920
10. George Herbert Walker, b. St. Louis, Mo., 11 June 1875, m. St. Louis, Mo., 17 Jan. 1899, d. New York, N.Y., 24 June 1953
11. Lucretia [Loulie] Wear, b. St. Louis, Mo., 17 Sept. 1874, d. Biddeford, Me., 28 Aug. 1961
12. Scott Pierce, b. Sparkville, Pa., 18 Jan. [or June?] 1866, m. 26 Nov. 1891
13. Mabel Marvin, b. Cincinnati, Ohio, 4 June 1869
14. James Edgar Robinson, b. near Marysville, Oh., 15 Aug. 1868, m. Marion Co., Ohio, 31 March 1895, d. 1931
15. Lula Dell Flickinger, b. Byhalia, Ohio, March 1875
The above examples show information about 15 individuals, but ahnentafels typically contain information about many more people than this. You can often find ahnentafels that list hundreds or even thousands of individuals, all ancestors of person #1 in the list. For instance, a much longer ahnentafel for President Bushmay be found at:
Notice that the mathematical rules about relationships shown in the pedigree chart still apply in the ahnentafel chart. Also, the true ahnentafel lists the person's full name, along with dates and places of birth, marriage, and death, if known.
All modern genealogy programs can produce ahnentafel charts. Of course, you could also create an ahnentafel chart by hand or by using a word processor. Whatever method you choose, an ahnentafel is an easy method of presenting a lot of ancestral data in a compact format. To discuss this story further on the message board for newsletter readers, go to http://www.RootsForum.com and click on "Message Board."
Underground Railroad Information Sought
I was contacted by a researcher who although is not a direct Dunton / Dunten descendant, has pioneer ancestors from Huntertown, Indiana that were related by marriage - specifically to to the family of Ephraim Dunten and Horace Friend Dunten.
He is currently doing research on Underground Railroad history. So far there is pretty good circumstantial evidence that the Duntens and other early members of the Huntertown Universalist Church were actively involved in assisting fugitive slaves in the 1840s and 50s. It appears that these Duntens migrated simultaneously with several other Yankee families from New York to Indiana -- perhaps much like the Quakers of North Carolina, for the purpose of assisting in the abolitionist cause.
The Ephraim Duntens are known to have been associated with abolitionist Alexander Rankin, a Presbyterian minister who preached from their homestead in 1834, not long after their arrival in Huntertown.
If you know of any family folklore (or better still, anything written) regarding the Underground Railroad, or if you know of anyone who might, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know. This researcher is working with a local historic preservationist in the hopes that they might be able to add certain locations or buildings to the growing list of known Underground Railroad landmarks.
Eugene R. Dunton
PITTSFIELD - Eugene R. Dunton, 60, died June 2, 2002 at a Pittsfield nursing home after a long illness. He was born November 29, 1941 in Palmyra, son of Herbert and Phyllis (Fletcher) Dunton.
He is survived by a son, Randy Leavitt and his fiancée, Carline McElhill of Hartland; two sisters, Betty Butler of Newport and Carol and her husband, Carroll Leavitt of Newport; a brother, Kenny Dunton of St. Albans. Mr. Dunton was predeceased by his parents of Palmyra.
At his request there will be no services. Burial will be in the Riverside Cemetery in Newport. Arrangements by Crosby & Neal Funeral Home, Newport.
Source: The Daily Maine
Burial arrangements for Doris B. Dunton, 65, of Severna Park, were omitted from her obituary in The Sunday Capital on Oct. 6.
Mrs. Dunton died Oct. 4 at the Chesapeake Hospice House in Linthicum after a lengthy illness. Visitation is from 6 to 9 tonight at Barranco and Sons Severna Park Funeral Home, 495 Ritchie Highway. Services will be at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, 400 Benfield Road, Severna Park. Burial will be in Maryland Veterans Cemetery in Crownsville.
Source: The Capital, Annapolis, Maryland
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It seems that a common theme throughout these newsletters is the passage of time. Since serial writings are linear in nature, time passes from episode to episode. It is natural. As I grow older the passage of time become very real - more obvious.
I may be relatively odd in regards to time. One of my memories from childhood is of an August day in 1969. This was the "summer of love" and my dad had just gotten transferred to the San Francisco Bay Area. A lot of conversation, in the press and among people in general was of the end of the '60s and what lay ahead in the '70s. I remember lying on my back, staring at the clouds, and thinking not just about the near future, but of 2000. Although I was young, I realized that a large portion of my life would have been lived, people dear to me would have passed from this life, and I would be old.
When I was in my 20s, a friend of mine who was in his 30s introduced me to his master herbalist and gardener mother who was herself in her 60s. The day's discussion of plant culture and use eventually gave way to the topic of age. My friend Bob and I had been talking about our age difference and about growing older. Then Bee (Mom) made a profound statement that has always stuck with me. She said, "How do you think I feel. Sometimes I look in the mirror, am startled, and wonder who the old lady is looking back." She further explained that her mind is still 18 but her body aged. What I have experienced is that who we are remains relatively constant while the vessel we ride around in turns to dust.
For those of you in a younger audience, the film "Matrix" explains this phenomenon as "residual self-image". That is, how we see ourselves in our minds. The true experiment would be to live without sight, or mirrors or cameras for years and then look at ourselves.
2002 has been one of those years when I have spent time pondering my mortality, reevaluating my accomplishments, my impact on the world and those close to me. This year, one of my grandmothers succumbed to cancer, a cousin who was but a few years older than me was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and passed away within a few months, another cousin had a heart attach and bypass surgery, and my son's basketball coach of many years died suddenly of an occupationally induced aneurysm.
I have always been a person that looks forward to every day and someone who can learn from the experiences of others. Cancer survivors all seem to repeat the same mantra . . . live every day as if it is your last and do not take any time for granted. Those of you who know me (or have read this column throughout the years), understand that I adopted this philosophy years ago and set a plan into action to simplify life, remove myself from the corporate rat race and divorce myself from the shared societal value of consumerism.
It is a process of learning and refinement in lifestyle. A journey. There are many areas where I can grow. I could eat better, exercise more, eliminate my temper, treat people better, and do more to make the world a better place. Part of the journey and after all, in the end, it is all that will matter.
"Meanwhile . . . Back on the Farm . . . "
Life here on the farm has its routines but the are not monotonous. More like an old pair of jeans or shoes. They have become comfortable and one is reluctant to throw them out.
However inevitable change is, we have worked hard to keep it very slow on our little piece of the world. The farm would still be pretty recognizable to my Great-grand parents who built it and passed away prior to WW II.
Planned, thought out, change does occur. Since we sold our last head of cattle last summer, we decided to convert the basement level of the old barn, the milk barn, into a seed storage facility and work space. We started last September 11th and finished this August.
Having this facility is a tremendous blessing and we are thankful for those who volunteered their time and the customers whose orders funded it. It will give us the space we need to keep up with the expansion of our seed preservation work.
We are also blessed with an awesome "Indian Summer" this year. Most of our crops are harvested, some winter gardens are planted, and we are working on getting the gardens put to bed for the winter.
Yesterday we accomplished the tasks of moving a large load (2 cords or so) of firewood from our stack yard (where it has been curing all summer) to our basement. One of the most beautiful things to see is a great stack of firewood in the basement when that is what you use to keep your home and family warm during the winter months!
A few more days of good weather and we'll just about be ready for the winter.
As I wrap up these ramblings I would hope that some of it makes sense and you are challenged to at least take a few minutes to evaluate your life, and determine if you are actually living it actively, or stuck in a rut and just riding it out to the end.
Mike Dunton - 10/15/02
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