Advise on alpha/num codes in suffix field, please.

+5 votes
Profile for Jan Jacobus Malan and many associated profiles have alpha/numeric “codes” in the suffix field. I am not sure if this is data that should be retained on the profile somewhere else?
WikiTree profile: Jan Malan
in WikiTree Help by Martha Mcaulay G2G6 (8.4k points)
retagged by Janet Wild
Thank you to everyone ... appreciate the help! Hopefully the cleanup will go smoothly ... please!


Indeed it is the  de Villiers/Pama genealogical numbering system. Imported in the past with GEDCOM in the suffix fields, or other wise added manually there. I move them to the bio under the heading === SAG nr. ===

Thank you Philip ... I was wondering what the correct format should be.
Philip, what do you do when the lineage in WikiTree doesn't match the numbering as originally imported?
Excellent question Herbert.

The 'numbering' as originally imported should read as originally created and applied by the various researchers in the previous century. Their work has then been imported via GEDCOM into WikiTree (and other sites).

The numbering system dates from long before the computer age. To us South Africans (or expats) the system is only indicative, not leading. And the interesting thing is when they don't match up - the algorithm wins. There were many mistakes made, especially in the genealogical lines of the 19th century. For more information see here: "To people not familiar with the system, it can be both unsightly and confusing. It has also been criticized for not including the offspring of female descendants. It must be remembered that the theory is that the female marries into another family and that her offspring, having the surname of her husband’s family, will appear in the new families genealogical or descendants chart.[2] Of course if the new family hasn't been recorded yet, the information about her descendants is lost, which is a problem. It must also be remembered that when publishing a compilation genealogy, such as de Villiers Pama or SA Genealogies, if the publishers were to include the offspring of females within her family and then repeat it for the descendants of her husband’s family, these volumes would have twice as many pages or there would be twice as many volumes. a1b1c3d5[e1][f2] etc. with the d5 being the female and her children, grandchildren and other descendants being enclosed in square brackets. Another criticism is that it can only be used in a settler community such as South Africa where the first of the family can be identified as “a1″, the stamouer (progenitor). The system makes no sense in old communities such as in Europe where one cannot talk of a ‘stamouer’.[3] There is of course one other consideration and that is that the SA genealogical number because of its combination of alpha numeric numbers is much shorter than overseas numbering systems that use roman numerals to fit people into the family. The problem is of course what happens when we pass the 27th Z generation."

Hi Martha

Retagged the question so more folk see it Great question thank you for asking it.

Check out the Data Doctor Video collection here

2 Answers

+5 votes
It appears to be their DNA group, not sure it should be there, but, the whole family has it.
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
I kinda looks like a DNA group, but it's probably an index code for a family tree.  (That's what it was last time we saw similar.) He was the 2nd child of the 5th child of the 6th child, etc.  In any case, it does not belong in the suffix field.  Martha, you can keep the info by moving it to the biography.
Thanks Herbert, that makes sense.

Herbert is correct, this is the de Villiers/Pama genealogical numbering system.

It was recently discussed here on g2g.

My pleasure, Marion.  I'm pretty sure that's it.  If you trace the codes up his maternal side, they start off with that pattern.  WikiTree has come disconnected from the tree with the codes, though, which I hope means we corrected the record!  Which is also an excellent reason not to keep such codes in the suffix.

Edit to add - Thanks for confirming, Nic.  That thread was where I learned about it.
+3 votes


Thank you for the question the Numbers should be in the Biography section of the profile with an explanation on what they relate to.

Here is the link to the help page in relation to the error from here there are further lins to help page on guidelines - Sorry no video on how to fix this yet.

by Janet Wild G2G6 Pilot (167k points)
They appear in the Malan-Familiebond website.Copy the link in Heter Malan (Malan-468).

Paste into a new window in your browser.  There are several with that number that have a prefix..
Thanks Janet - and everyone else! I am growing as a WikiTreer because of help like I’ve received on this question ... all positive & friendly. Makes up for the grumps I encounter occasionally.


Related questions

+11 votes
2 answers
+9 votes
5 answers
+71 votes
24 answers
+5 votes
1 answer
+12 votes
3 answers
+24 votes
5 answers
+14 votes
3 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright