Family table

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Family table of the Barons von Fechenbach
Family table from Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels

A family tree is an excerpt from the descendant table that only includes the bearers of the same family name and their spouses, although strict adherence to this rule is not always possible, for example due to name changes, adoption, foreign naming rights and other things.

Compared to the family tree, the family tree has the advantage of greater clarity, but also quickly becomes unwieldy as the family under consideration grows. Its decisive disadvantage is that it records a state of research in which supplements and extensions hardly need to be incorporated. Even with the use of electronic media, massive formatting problems arise, which can only be solved without great effort by going back to databases and the virtual recalculation of the board each time it is called - which in turn basically means nothing more than saving as a list.

In both forms of representation, the oldest ancestor, the progenitor , the progenitor or the progenitor parents , is attached at the top, in contrast to the family tree , which sees him or her at the root. The other generations follow below in closed rows, horizontally for the family tree, vertically for the family tree. In the family tree, the children of a person are summarized under a bracket.

Colloquial terms such as “family tree” when referring to a pedigree are widespread among laypeople and dog breeders, but do not correspond to the specialist terminology of genealogy .

In the legal system , the descendant tables , which often only comprise three or four generations , are referred to as hereditary mirrors .

In reference works , the family name is a sorting criterion and thus the family tree or family list is the natural form of representation, as is the case in family histories. Descendant tables and lists of descendants , on the other hand, predominate in monographs that are dedicated to a specific person and their descendants.


  • Hermann Grote : Family Tables. Leipzig 1877, Reprint 1984 (out of date).
  • Wilhelm Bahnson: family and regent tables on political history. 3 volumes. Berlin 1912.
  • European family tables . Family tables on the history of the European states. Founded by Wilhelm Karl Prinz zu Isenburg, continued by Frank Baron Freytag von Loringhoven. New episode. Edited by Detlev Schwennicke. 17 volumes. 1980-1995.
  • Detlev Schwennicke : European family tables . New episode. 1998 ff.