Is birth order relevant to genealogy?

+7 votes
Does anybody else note the order of birth amongst siblings, for example, '... was the third daughter of ...', when writing biographies? I try to do this on all profiles that I work on as I have found that birth order can affect personality.  And, of course, there is always that nasty thing called inheritance!  Just wondering.
WikiTree profile: Ed Givney
in The Tree House by Kenneth Evans G2G6 Pilot (224k points)
I usually do -- it helps sort the children if someone else adds one to the parents.

I don't always state the older siblings by name, but will mention them if I think it might be helpful to other researchers.

8 Answers

+4 votes
Sometimes I say things like: He was the 7th child of Mr and Mrs Smith, but not always.
by Living Palmer G2G6 Mach 9 (92.6k points)
+5 votes
I think it is very important. I might not say John was first, Fred second, but I will list them in order. Helpful if looking for missing child you know approx birth date, and possible birth place.
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+5 votes
In many cases I find it hard to count, as I first need to know that all children are actually listed and known. And what to do with the number of stillborns?

But I do really appreciate the work on nice biographies with good stories. So please do not stop doing the counting!
by Michel Vorenhout G2G6 Pilot (267k points)
I often mention siblings as ' surviving son / daughter' and stillborns / infant mortalities simply as the chronological number.
+3 votes
Sometimes but not always.

I guess I tend to mention it more often on the eldest and the youngest. Or to point out that "he had two elder brothers" since it explains why he moved out. Or to say that "she was the first child in her father's second marriage".

I agree the composition of a sibling flock can be important to genealogy in many ways, but I usually leave the numbering to the software.
by Eva Ekeblad G2G6 Pilot (510k points)
+4 votes
I'm glad that the WikiTree software puts the children in the correct order. Something I don't have to do then ;). When I collect the documents for the parents of a bunch of children I try to put them in chronological order. But that's all.
by Jelena Eckstädt G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
I'm not concernd with the data fields, Jelena, I'm meaning in the biography.
+6 votes
It’s absolutely important if as in many Scottish families a name was used more than once. So the last George McDonald in a family is the one who married Isabella Andrew. The others died before he was born.

It happens enough that simply finding one George McDonald is not enough. You need to make sure the family didn’t have another one born later.
by Joelle Colville-Hanson G2G6 Pilot (133k points)
Joelle, I managed to take my Scottish ancestral family back a few generations by plotting the birth order of children.
+5 votes
In the parents' profiles, I list the child in their birth order with numbers if the birth order is known or I can take a reasonable guess at it. However, in the children's profiles, I generally don't say what number child they were. If it's relevant to some genealogical point discussed in the profile, I would of course discuss it there. But if not relevant to some genealogical point discussed in the profile, then I think mentioning it in the child's profile is very much optional. I would definitely not always do it, since there are situations where we are not confident what the birth order was or how many siblings a person had.
by Chase Ashley G2G6 Pilot (258k points)
edited by Chase Ashley
0 votes

Reading this, sounds to me like someone was not the first born in his family. wink

P.s. I get it, i was last born child too

by Anonymous Grand'Maison G2G6 Mach 1 (19.4k points)

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