AHNENTAFEL IS GERMAN for ancestor (ahnen) table (tafel). An ahnentafel chart is an efficient way of organizing a pedigree chart in order to make it quickly understandable by others.
It's based on the standard pedigree chart where each person is assigned a number. The traditional numbering system allows you to know the relationship of any person on the chart to the start person who is always number 1, their father is 2, their mother 3, paternal grandfather 4, paternal grandmother 5, maternal grandfather 6, maternal grandmother 7, patrilineal great grandfather 8, and so on in consecutive fashion.
Using this system, each new generation has a number double that of ancestors of the previous generation. Every father on the chart will have an even number and every mother will have an odd number that is her husbands plus one.
Traditional pedigree charts, including those produced by PAF, usually print four generations to a page so that 16 generations usually take around four pages to display. The beauty of an ahnentafel is that these same 16 generations would fit on one page, the same numbering system is used to the standard pedigree chart allowing you to quickly work out your kinship with anyone on the ahnentafel chart.
The ahnentafel takes the numbering system described above and uses it to create a continuous list of ancestors instead of a chart. The format would be as follows:
1. The start person's name
2. their father
3. their mother
4. their fathers father
5. their fathers mother
6. their mothers father
7. their mothers mother
8. their fathers fathers father
9. their fathers fathers mother
10. their fathers mothers father
11. their fathers mothers mother
12. their mothers fathers father
13. their mothers fathers mother
14. their mothers mothers father
15. their mothers mothers mother
16-31. their great-great-grandparents
32-63. their great-great-great grandparents
and so on...
Preparing an Ahnentafel Chart
Most of the popular genealogy software programs have the ability to print out an ahnentafel. In the case of PAF you'll find them under File > Print Reports and the 'Book' tab. While you may add other information to your ancestral ahnentafel listings other than number and name, in the interest of maintaining simplicity any added data should not take a listing beyond one line of data. So you may want to turn off 'Source Citations' and 'General Notes'.
See also the Genlinks website
This web site produced 2002 - 2003 using Personal Ancestral File, Dreamweaver and a text editor by JayDax