Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.




Writing old style dates

FAQ on Privacy

FAQ on Adoption

How to read my family trees

Help on Search



I research all direct ancestors of me or of my wife. This site is basically one huge Ancestors Chart for me and my wife.

I also show many branches that are not direct ancestors. The level of detail I go into varies widely:

  1. For the more recent families, that are not documented elsewhere, I go into exhaustive detail, showing all blood relations.

  2. When I get back to old, well-known families that are documented elsewhere (e.g. nobility, royalty), I drop the level of detail massively. I still try to show all direct ancestors, but not all blood relations (there would be millions of them). For these old, well-known families, I only provide a sketch to highlight and cement our particular lines of descent, and then link to a more detailed tree somewhere else on some third-party site.


Proven descents:

This line leads eventually down to me (proven). You can search for all such lines.

This line leads eventually down to my wife (proven). You can search for all such lines.

Possible descents:

This line leads eventually down to me (probably or possibly). You can search for all such lines.

This line leads eventually down to my wife (probably or possibly). You can search for all such lines.

DNA-proven descents:

This descent is proven by DNA. We have two people who are believed to be cousins from the documents, with a believed common ancestor, and then we have this confirmed by DNA tests. Hence both of their descents from the common ancestor are DNA proven. You can search for all such lines.

An uncertain DNA line. This can be for various reasons. For example:
  • Two people on the tree are linked by DNA, but there is uncertainty about through which line. They may relate through some entirely unknown line.
  • The DNA match is regarded as a "match" by one of the genealogy sites, but I am setting a higher standard. For example, with the Blennerhassett problem I am setting the standard at 9 cM.
You can search for all such lines.

Other conventions:

Go up to the generation above this person.

See ancestors chart in

See ancestors chart in

See ancestors at


admin administration of person's estate after their death (admin - when no will, probate - will)
approx approximately
bapt baptised
bur buried
c. circa (about that date)
C.C. Curate
cent century
cr created (date of creation of a hereditary title)
dau daughter
Dept Department
ed editor of, or edited by
edn edition
educ educated at
emig emigrated
esp especially
est estimated (probably by me - subject to future revision)
estab established
fl floruit - was alive at a certain date (fl 1991 = was alive in 1991)
inaug inaugurated
incl including
mar married
matric matriculated
née born as (maiden name)
NOT used to point out errors in other documents, to refute previously held facts
nr near
par parish (normally refers to civil parish)
poss. possibly
PP parish priest
pr will proved
prob. probably
pron pronounced
pub published
qr quarter (of a year)
ref reference
repub re-published
sp sponsors (at baptism)
succ succeeded (to a title or lands)
tel telephone
temp tempore - in or around that time (temp 1721 = late 1710s, early 1720s)
think I think, or it is thought
(todo) things to do (if you want to help me, you might do some of these for me!)
wit witnessed (at marriage)
yrs years

C Central
E East
LHS left-hand-side
N North
RHS right-hand-side
S South
W West

Abbreviations for death used in [Burkes Irish, 1976].

Writing old style dates


OJ Julian calendar with old style new year, or "Old Style".
NJ Julian calendar with new style new year.
G Gregorian calendar, or "New Style".

The old style year ran from March 25 to March 25, so that 8th Mar 1735 OJ is really the end of the old year, i.e. 8th Mar 1736 NJ, i.e. 19th Mar 1736 G.

From 1582 to 1752, England used OJ while the Continent used G.

I think NJ is the clearest way of expressing old style dates, that is, express the year properly, but don't change the day since that's the day that was recognised at the time. For example, 26th Feb 1703/4 becomes 26th Feb 1704.

Extrapolating dates of birth from age

If someone died: 23 Apr 1920, age 15 yrs
then I simply say: born 1905
even though of course they might have been born in late 1904, and just not yet reached their birthday yet.
In general, in the absence of exact dates at both ends, you can assume the dates are plus or minus one.

Similarly, if someone is: age 13 in 5th James I
then I simply say: born 1595
without going into complications.

The reason I don't get too uptight about dates of birth based on ages is because ages are so often wrong. Unless you have a document at the time of the birth itself, all dates based on later statements of age should be taken with a grain of salt anyway.

Likewise, I list siblings in order of age, but in the absence of actual dates of birth the exact ordering should be regarded as still uncertain.

FAQ on Privacy

FAQ - Remove me from your family tree!

I am very conscious of people's need for privacy. I publish no details for living people - no dates, no places, nothing. (The only exceptions are the rare cases where living people are already well-known public figures with published biographies - and even then I am sparing in what I publish.)

For living people, I publish only a bare skeleton tree, listing who married who, and who begat who - a simple list of names, with no dates, addresses, or even countries indicated. For an example, see how I handle my own family.

I realise this lists people's mother's maiden names, which is an ID sometimes used by banks, etc. However, the alternative would be to not list the person at all, and stop the tree completely a generation or two back. This would make the tree largely incomprehensible to family members, since they would be unable to find anyone they knew on it.

I'm open to discussion on this, but in fact I don't think the maiden name issue is a big problem, for the reason that all geographical details will have stopped a generation or two before. It is unclear what country the living people are supposed to be living in, let alone what town or city. It could be anywhere in the world. So my current policy is by default to put up a bare skeleton tree of the living.

If this is too much, I am quite happy to remove you. Simply contact me to let me know you want to be removed from the tree. If you change your mind I can restore you later.

Middle names

I do not want to publish the middle names of living people. But sometimes I have to (or else leave the person off the tree entirely).

For example, say I am given the full name of a living person: "John Richard Smith". I have no other name for them. If I write this as "John Smith" I am assuming they go by their first name. But they may go by their middle name. Since I don't know which name to drop, I leave it as "John Richard Smith".

So if I publish your middle name(s), please contact me to confirm which name you go by and I can then remove the other name(s).

FAQ on Adoption

Adoption is a delicate issue. I absolutely accept that adopted children can be just as much part of the family as any other child, and in fact I would like to include them on the family tree, and trace their marriages and descendants. The only problem is I do not want to print anything that is strictly speaking not true.

When I say "X married Y and had issue", I always mean issue by Y. When there are multiple marriages, I separate out the issue by each spouse. When there are affairs I separate the issue as well. And likewise when there are adoptions. Here are the two scenarios:

  1. Let us say X marries Y and they adopt issue W. Here are the possibilities for how I could represent this:

    (1) (2)
    X, mar Y and had adopted issue:
    1. W.
    X, mar Y.

    You simply tell me which one you prefer. The one I prefer is (1). The one I do by default is (2). I am happy to do either of these. Just tell me what you want.

  2. A more complex issue is when X marries Y and has issue Z, and they also adopt issue W. Here are the possibilities for how I could represent this:

    (1) (2) (3)
    X, mar Y and had issue:
    1. Z.
    and had adopted issue:
    1. W.
    X, mar Y and had issue:
    1. Z.
    X, mar Y and had issue.

    You simply tell me which one you prefer. The one I prefer is (1). The one I do by default is (2) or (3). I am happy to do any of these. Just tell me what you want.

Donation Drive

Please donate to support this site. I have spent a great deal of time and money on this research. Research involves travel and many expenses. Some research "things to do" are not done for years, because I do not have the money to do them.
Please Donate Here to support the ongoing research and to keep this website free.

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