Forums: Index > Watercooler > One person does not make a generation

Introductory essay[]

We have some templates for family tree and list tables. Their numbering of generations could do with standardizing.

  • Template:4GenPedigree produces a left-to-right chart as on WorldConnect, showing anything up to 15 people, being one "root" person and three columns of ancestors, with heading matching its name, referring to four generations.
  • Template:3gen has exactly the same people but arranged as a tree with the youngest at the bottom. "3gen"?

A single generation (according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary's third definition "the action of producing or generating") is a process whereby one female generates a child (helped by a male). Result: two rows or columns of people in a family tree chart, with a line from the child to the parent(s). (Are someone's children the "first generation" or the second? First.) So three generations would produce four rows or columns as above. On that basis, a row or column of people in a chart should not form a generation by themselves; the generation is the set of lines between them and their children or their parents.

However, common usage seems to have persuaded the makers of that same dictionary (in its second definition) to equate a generation with a row: "a set of members of a family regarded as a single step or stage in descent".

Most of you can make up your minds quickly if you haven't already! Please discuss here if you like but vote with 4 tildes at the bottom. — Robin Patterson (Talk) 14:00, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Since at least in the US we often say our generation, our parents' generation, our grandparents' generation etc, I voted that one person is their own generation. William Allen Shade 02:06, 21 May 2009 (UTC)


Votes for how we number those 15-person charts[]



  • Robin Patterson (Talk) 14:00, 19 May 2009 (UTC) - half a vote
  • - Parents and children are two generations. The children of immigrants are referred to as the second generation. And so on. Therefore, the oldest ancestors is generation 1 (rather than zero) and there are four generations in the table. rtol 15:19, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
  • - Bill Hunsicker 17:27, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
  • - William Allen Shade 01:59, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
  • - AMK152(talkcontribs) 02:18, 21 May 2009 (UTC)