Sunday afternoon Genealogy Fun

Sunday Afternoon Genealogy Fun – What Is Your Birth Surname Henry Number

Each week on Randy Seaver’s Genea-musings blog he has a post for Saturday night Genealogy fun. Because of the time difference, I have called my series Sunday Afternoon Genealogy Fun. This week’s mission was:

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?

4)  Tell us in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a Facebook post.

Here’s mine

My birth surname is Whimpey. The name has been spelled a variety of ways on the records, and was Wimpey, and earlier Wimpew on the Parish Records. The first ancestor I have found was John Wimpew (ca.1540-1588). Here is my Whimpey line with their Henry numbers:

1 John Wimpew (ca. 1540-1588)

13 Thomas Wimpew (1579-1645) *

132 Thomas Wimpew (1620-1648) *

1322 Nicholas Wimpew (1646-1721) *

13224 Thomas Wimpew (1678-1726) *

132242 John Wimpey (1710-1780) * (I’m not sure, he had an older brother that I have no further record for after his baptism)

1322428 Joseph Wimpey (1761-1790)

13224284 William Whimpey (1789-1870) *

132242843 Joseph Whimpey (1819-1902)

1322428435 Joseph Whimpey (1848-1919)

13224284355 John Ernest Whimpey (1884-1960)

132242843554 Ivon Walter Whimpey (1923-2009)

1322428435548 Lois Whimpey (me)

* Denotes a son who was the eldest son that married and had children.

I use Legacy Family Tree, so I chose Report Menu, Descendant Tab, Numbering system Henry Numbers, and the Preview option. I also expanded the number of generations to 15. The report was 35 pages.

Although some of my ancestors were the eldest son who married and had children, when you get to my 2x great grandfather, he was the 3rd child and 2nd son, and his older brother married and had children.  My great grandfather was the 5th child and 3rd son, and 1 of his older brothers married and had children, while the other died young. My grandfather was the 5th child and 4th son, and all three of his older brothers married and had children.  My father was the 4th child and 3rd son, and all 3 of his brothers married, but only 2 had children of their own. My other uncle adopted 2 children.  I’m the youngest of 8 daughters.  I would therefore be a long way from the Crown if my ancestor had been king.

None of my ancestors were the eldest child, and only 3 were the 2nd child.


One thought on “Sunday Afternoon Genealogy Fun – What Is Your Birth Surname Henry Number

  1. I can’t imagine people actually choosing this numbering system for their ancestors, but it was fun for SNGF since our software programs did the work. 🙂


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