Genealogical writers sometimes choose to present ancestral lines by carrying back individuals with their spouses or single families generation by generation. This style is popular among European nobility (see the ancestors of Henry VIII of England below). The siblings of the individual or individuals studied may or may not be named for each family. This method is most popular in simplified single surname studies, however, allied surnames of major family branches may be carried back as well. In general, numbers are assigned only to the primary individual studied in each generation.
Royal families had been creating these charts to clarify who next inherits the throne for centuries before Michael Eytzinger published a systematic listing of all ancestor of the French king, Henry III, in 1590. Eytzinger developed a system of numbering ancestors that was called Ahnentafel.
The general description of the Simplified Surname System at the top of the page is adapted from Wikipedia: Genealogical Numbering Systems. The sample generic chart above if from Luminarium: Encyclopedia Project - War of the Roses: House of Lancaster
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