The first Ahnentafel, published by Michaël Eytzinger in 1590.
Ahnentafel. I have no idea how to pronounce this word but I think it would sound like someone sneezing in German. Actually, according to Emily Croom in Unpuzzling Your Past, Ahnentafel means “ancestor table.” It’s an organizational system that assigns a number to everyone on your pedigree charts. Fathers are even numbers and mothers are odd. Numbers, that is.
I’m sure it’s brilliant, and whoever invented it must be a genius. (Along with the person who invented knitting. Seriously, who figured that out?) But I am most decidedly not a numbers person. Lord knows I try, but numbers will not stay in my head. Words, on the other hand—my brain will never shut up. So for all you “numbers” people out there I say, “Gesundheit,” and enjoy your ancestor tables.
Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Nancy Shively of Skiatook, OK. Read all her posts at Family Tree University.