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  #1  
Old 06 March 2011, 02:50 PM
cjr
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Default 'E' Symbol in hand-drawn family tree

Hi,

I've been given a quite large tree of the Tangye Family which I am transcribing into Reunion. So far no particular problems, though I'm puzzled by a symbol that appears to the left of 3 children that I've found so far. It looks like a capital "W" rotated a quarter turn clockwise, or an angular 'E'.

Unfortunately the tree is from the 1970s and I have no idea if the author (a J Francis Parker) is alive or contactable to ask. I suspect not for both :-)

Examples are attached - in "One Example" the symbol is next to "Joseph Henry 1857-", and in "Two Examples" they are at the bottom next to "Gregory James 1950" and "Terrance John 1949". The second example's interesting because they come from a different "line" to their parents than their siblings.

Suggestions as to their meaning would be gratefully received!
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File Type: jpg One Example.jpg (12.0 KB, 66 views)
File Type: jpg Two Examples.jpg (20.0 KB, 59 views)
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  #2  
Old 07 March 2011, 05:08 PM
Donald W. Moore's Avatar
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Default Re: 'E' Symbol in hand-drawn family tree

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Originally Posted by cjr View Post
Suggestions as to their meaning would be gratefully received!
The symbol could indicate other un-named children. But my guess is as good as any other.
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  #3  
Old 07 March 2011, 07:20 PM
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Default Re: 'E' Symbol in hand-drawn family tree

It is the Greek letter Sigma (∑). Among other uses (in math it means "summation"), it is used in genetics in association with clades. Clades are individuals and all their descendants.

My wild guess is that it means the person died without children.
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Old 08 March 2011, 06:00 PM
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Default Re: 'E' Symbol in hand-drawn family tree

The sigma symbol makes sense. Could it then mean "this individual AND all his/her descendants, but they aren't your direct ancestors, so we'll leave them out cuz they won't all fit on the page, and they're irrelevant to your ancestry" ? Kinda like, yeah, they had a lot more kids, and if you were IN that branch you'd track them, but that's a whole nuther chapter. ?
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Old 08 March 2011, 06:14 PM
Robert Godfrey's Avatar
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Default Re: 'E' Symbol in hand-drawn family tree

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Originally Posted by baddorfdeb View Post
The sigma symbol makes sense. Could it then mean "this individual AND all his/her descendants, but they aren't your direct ancestors, so we'll leave them out cuz they won't all fit on the page, and they're irrelevant to your ancestry" ? Kinda like, yeah, they had a lot more kids, and if you were IN that branch you'd track them, but that's a whole nuther chapter. ?
Well, I suspect it DOES mean that person and all his/her dependents -- but there were none; thus, the reason to use the symbol. If it were to mean the descendants were not direct ancestors, then I would expect to see a lot more use of the symbol on cjr's hand-drawn tree.

In searching the web, I have noticed the use of clades, sigma, and genetics on rootsweb.ancestry.com. Contacting them would probably provide more precise clarification.
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  #6  
Old 08 March 2011, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: 'E' Symbol in hand-drawn family tree

I doubt the use of this symbol in this case means "no children."

Examining the figure with Mary Ann 1839 connected to Joseph Henry 1857. It appears that Mary Ann had a son Joseph Henry (last name unknown in this fragment of the chart), and Joseph married Caroline Harris. To the right of this pair is another diagonal line, probably indicating a connection to Joseph and Caroline's children. The husband of Mary Ann is not shown.

The other figure shows a similar pattern, such as Eva Mary b. 1927, m. Melville Martin in 1953, and had four children by him -- Michelle, 1954; Brenda, 1955; Debra 1958; and Raymond (date not shown). But she also has two children -- Terrance John, 1949; and Gregory James, 1950 (both marked with the symbol), who were born before her marriage to Neville Martin. Terrance also shows a fragment of a diagonal line, indicating his children off image to the right. Could Terrance and Gregory be children from a prior or unknown marriage of Eva, and the symbol is used to marked that unknown marriage? That would make it consistent with the other image.
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  #7  
Old 10 March 2011, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: 'E' Symbol in hand-drawn family tree

I made an inquiry to rootsweb.ancestry.com regarding the use of the Sigma in genealogy, since references to sigma appear in their posts re genetics. Their reply:

"That is not a standard symbol used with other researchers and is most likely unique to that tree owner."

So, it appears that Sigma used by rootsweb genetics is simply mathematical, and the meaning in the hand-drawn family tree may remain a mystery.
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