Individual Numbering System

Sherbondy Family Association


The SFA uses the “Modified Henry” numbering system for identification of individuals.  This system most readily exhibits the relationships existing between all the members of the family.  Three key points for this system:

1)      The number of digits in a person’s number indicates the generation that the person is in.  Example:  14 = Generation 2,   11367 = Generation 5.

2)      The value of the last digit indicates the birth order of the person within his family.  If there are more than 9 children in a family, letters are used for 10 and above (A=10, B=11, etc.).  Example:  12 = second born,  1282A = Tenth born.  Individual numbers could change if new information is obtained that changes the birth order within a family.  The evidence must have very high reliability and if the decision is made to change numbers, all of the genealogical records will be updated with the most current numbers.

3)      Each person’s number contains the numbers of all of his direct ancestors.  Example: 

  1          John Sherbondy

 12       Johann Georg Sherbondy       

  125     Abraham J. Sherbondy

  1257   Abraham M. Sherbondy


Here are some examples of how to use this system for navigating the records in the SFA genealogy reports:

1)      To find a person’s parents:  Strike off the last digit of his number, and look in the preceding generation for that number. 

2)      To find a person’s children:  Add a digit to his number, and look in the following generation, remembering that the numbers in each generation follow each other in regular order, although they are not usually continuous.

3)      To find what relation two persons are to each other:  If they are in the same generation and the numbers are the same except the last two, they are first cousins.  If the last three differ, they are second cousins, and so on.  For example:  12928521 and 12935223 are fourth cousins because they have to go back five generations to reach a common ancestor (129).  If the two persons are in different generations, the relationship must be found through the one in the earlier generation.  The number of generations that they are apart indicates the “times removed” that they are to each other.  For example, 113A621 and 113A232113 are second cousins three times removed to each other because 113A621 is a second cousin to 113A232 and both of them are 3 generations apart from 113A232113. 


Individuals who are not connected to a descendant of John (#1) will have a number beginning with “Z.”  If the information on that individual came from a single or isolated source (such as a cemetery or census record), the number will begin with “Z Indiv.”  In addition, the clan associated with that source will be shown following the “Z Indiv.”  Example:  Z Indiv D.  Of course, this does not mean the person is from Clan D, it only means that the source of the information on this person is in some way associated with Clan D.  If the information on that individual came from an unconnected branch with whom we have had contact with living descendants, then the clan abbreviation will be shown following the “Z.”  Example:  Z Henry, Z GMM.