Family Tree conventions and Caveats

Family Tree Conventions

In many families, particularly in former generations, it was common for given names to be passed down from generation to generation. There is also possible confusion between birth names and married names of women in the family, especially when there is more than one marriage. That is all a recipe for confusion when attempting to organize a large number of people into a tree. I have, therefore adopted the following conventions in naming persons. They are probably not standard genealogical conventions, but they have worked for me. So...
  • I have referred to everyone, male or female, by their birth name. (Having said that, on the website I have from time to time referred to current names.)
  • When more that one identical full name appears in the tree I have numbered them in birth date order. Thus we have Samuel 1 Adams and Samuel 2 Adams.
  • When I don't have the birth name of a woman (censuses list wives under their husband's name)I have given her her husband's surname but inserted (ne้?) to emphasis that I don't know the maiden name and to avoid confusion where both persons in the marriage happen to have the same surname.
  • Occasionally, when a given name is unknown, I have named the person 'Unknown Smith', for example.
  • As is often the case for ancestors who married before online records are available we may not be able to find a spouse's birth name. In those cases I have used the married name and together with (ne้?) to confirm that the birth name is unknown.
  • When a spouse's name is completely unknown, I have designated the spouse as 'Fred's Unknown' or 'Hilda's Unkown'.
  • There are a number of instances where a person, over time, becomes known under a different or variant name, e.g. Maretta, Marietta. In these cases I have maintained the birth name, but noted the fact in the primary family tree record.
  • For all of the timescale covered by censuses Warrington was in Lancashire. In the late 20th century the boundary was moved so as to put it in Cheshire. It is now a unitary authority. I have specified Warrington as being in Lancashire wherever documents state Lancashire and Cheshire othewise. However, BMD records are now held within Cheshire.


  • This Family Tree and this website have been created for the benefit of our family - primarily the descendants of Sabina Adams and Robert Gaskell Woods. In May 2010 I included the Mercer and Roberts trees for the benefit of my own children.
  • I have compiled our Family Tree and, this website based on it, in good faith and with all due care and attention to detail. I cannot, therefore, take responsibility for any problems or loss of any kind suffered as a consequence of the use of this information.
  • Much of the information I have sources personally is based upon Birth, Marriage and Death and Census records accessed via the Internet. I have, as far as possible, made sure that the information is internally consistent and consistent with family records and family oral tradition. Any doubts I might have are recorded in the primary database within Family Tree Maker. Be aware that these public records have in the past been transcribed manually. This is, therefore, a real possibility of transcription errors.
  • In effect, official Government records only go back to about 1837, although birth dates can be inferred back to about 1760 or so. Beyond that it is necessary to consult archived Parish and other records. I have not done that. All the information relating to events before those dates have been acquired from Public Member Trees accessed via the Ancestry website. I am grateful for the persons who made those trees available, but we should be aware that sometimes mis-attributions can be made and that these may be propagated from tree to tree. Before any serious use of the pre-1760 information is made, I would advise that more primary research is done.

Availability of our Family Tree

Access to certain parts of the website that provide information about living persons is restricted to family members who have requested access or to other persons who may request legitimate access to allow them to research their related tree.

The primary database is held within Family Tree Maker. If any of the family wishes to undertake further research into their own branch of the tree, I will be happy to provide them with the current database as a GEDCOM file, on the understanding that they keep me updated with new information.