Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What’s Your Birth Surname Henry Number?

Randy Seaver has presented an interesting challenge this week. I’ve seen the Henry system used in family history books before, but I’ve never tried using it myself:

1)  Do you know what a “Henry Number” is?  It is a descendant numbering system from a specific person.  The Wikipedia article for Genealogical Numbering Systems describes it as:

“The Henry System is a descending system created by Reginald Buchanan Henry for a genealogy of the families of the presidents of the United States that he wrote in 1935.3 It can be organized either by generation or not. The system begins with 1. The oldest child becomes 11, the next child is 12, and so on. The oldest child of 11 is 111, the next 112, and so on. The system allows one to derive an ancestor’s relationship based on their number. For example, 621 is the first child of 62, who is the second child of 6, who is the sixth child of his parents.  In the Henry System, when there are more than nine children, X is used for the 10th child, A is used for the 11th child, B is used for the 12th child, and so on. In the Modified Henry System, when there are more than nine children, numbers greater than nine are placed in parentheses.”

2)  Go to your first known ancestor with your birth surname in your software program and calculate your Henry Number from that person.  Show each generation of your line of ancestors with your birth surname with their Henry numbers.

3)  How did you calculate the Henry numbers?  What do these numbers tell you?
My Henry number list of generations will be very short for two reasons. First, my paternal grandfather was the first of the Sabo line because my great grandfather was born Stefan Kucharik. For whatever reason, the family opted to change to Sabo between 1915-1920 and never looked back.
Secondly, even if I continue taking the Kucharik surname through the Henry system, I can only go back two more generations because the church records in Slovakia begin in the early 1800s.
Like Randy, I used the Descendants Narrative report in RootsMagic with the Henry system option.
Here is my list:
1 George Kucharik (abt 1793-after 1830)
11 John Kucharik (1820-1893)
113 Stefan Kucharik (1855-1933)
1136 George Sabo (1893-1936)
11361 George Sabo (1926-1985)
113611 Linda Anne Sabo – me!
Also like Randy, each of my generations were the eldest surviving son who married and had children. My father was an only child and I am the older of two.
This was an interesting topic, but I’ve never been a fan of the Henry system. Without a software program to generate all these numbers, it is way too easy to make a mistake by hand and then a huge mess is created!
Thank you, Randy, for our weekly SNGF diversion. 🙂

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