Project: Cape of Good Hope - Kaap de Goede Hoop (1652-1806)/Systems

Categories: The Dutch Cape Colony 1652-1806 | Cape of Good Hope - Kaap de Goede Hoop (1652-1806) Project

Numbering and Naming Systems
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On the de Villiers/Pama genealogical numbering system

The South African numbering system known as the de Villiers/Pama System is endorsed by the The Genealogical Society of South Africa (GSSA) and is the standard for genealogical works in South Africa. It was developed in the 19th century by Christoffel Coetzee de Villiers and used in his three volume Geslachtregister der Oude Kaapsche Familien (Genealogies of Old Cape Families). The system was refined by Dr. Cornelis (Cor) Pama, one of the founding members of the Genealogical Society of South Africa.[1]
The de Villiers/Pama System gives letters to generations, and then numbers children in birth order. For example:
a Progenitor
b1 Child
c1 Grandchild
d1 Great-grandchild
d2 Great-grandchild
c2 Grandchild
c3 Grandchild
b2 Child
c1 Grandchild
d1 Great-grandchild
d2 Great-grandchild
d3 Great-grandchild
c2 Grandchild
c3 Grandchild
In this system, b2.c3 is the third child of the second child, and is one of the progenitor's grandchildren. [1]
This system is accepted as official by most SA genealogists because most of the genealogical books in South Africa date have used it and of course it is easier to continue with a system that is well known to SA genealogists as opposed to trying to introduce a different one.[2]
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. [2]
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. [2] a1b1c3d5[e1][f2] etc. with the d5 being the female and her children, grandchildren and other descendants being enclosed in square brackets. [2]
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 speak 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. [2]
Because it is against WikiTree policy (see Suffix and Prefix) to use these fields (*** or SV/SM in the prefix field and the de Vlliers/Pama System in the suffix fields) as we South-Africans or descendants of South-Africans are so fond of doing, we recommend that the alpha-numerical de Villiers/Pama System also be incorporated into the biography (once the profiles are more {manually} integrated/developed this genealogical numbering system will not show up anymore in the prefix- and suffix fields).

Source Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Source: Wikipedia Genealogical Numbering Systems Philip van der Walt seen Aug 30, 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Source: Email: From: "Mercer, Conrod" on the subject of this numbering system (Date: Fri, 30 Jul 1999 14:16:29 +0200). Philip van der Walt seen Aug 30, 2014. This link has died in the mean time … [Jun 3, 2019]
  3. Source: Morkel Family Genealogy and Family Stories Conventions and Terminology. Philip van der Walt seen Aug 30, 2014. This link has died in the mean time … [Jun 3, 2019]

Dutch Naming Systems incl. Patronymic Forms

See Also:
Movies with info about last names

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