The Knot System, defined

Based on the Sequential System, the Knot System recognizes the three basic ways in which individual A may be blood related to individual B:

  1. A is ancestor to B.
  2. A is descendant of B.
  3. A and B have a common ancestor, C.
Beyond this, the Knot System is built upon the following definitions:

A proband is the individual to whom relationships are to be calculated.

Ascent list n
An ascent list identifies all individuals who link a person to his or her ancestor at position
n. The person and the ancestor are included. Ascent List 1 consists only of the person.

Knot individual
A knot individual is an ancestor common to both the proband and the related person. The knot individual must be the only individual appearing on both of the ascent lists that link the three persons together.

KinCode element (Consanguinity element)
A KinCode element is expressed as
a.b - that is, a represents the ascent list that links the proband to the knot individual; and b denotes the ascent list that links the related person to the same individual.
This KinCode element represents an exact description of any one basic relation between the proband and the relative. The number of generations between the proband and the relative equals the sum of the number of generations expressed by each of the two ascent lists.

The KinCode of a related individual contains all known KinCode elements that link the individual to the proband. The KinCode elements must be arranged in numerical ascending order within the KinCode, and every element must be different from all other elements.

Primary and secondary KinCode
The primary KinCode always contains the KinCode element with the smallest number of generations between the proband and the related individual. In a case of more than one element with the same lowest number of generations, the numerically smaller element is selected, together with its possible mate element. (A mate element is one in which the numbers on each side of the decimal point are odd numbers, each being one number higher than the corresponding part of the basic element.) An element pair is preferred over a single element, even when the single element is numerically smaller than the first of the pair.
The remaining KinCode elements of the relative's KinCode constitute the secondary KinCode.

Kin group
The kin group is composed of all individuals related to the proband. It may be reduced in size by specifying a maximum number of generations to ascend from the proband, plus a maximum number of generations to descend from the ancestors. Or the kin group could be confined to all relatives within a total number of generations from the proband.

Kin register
A kin register is a list of all individuals of a kin group. Its main sorting criterion is the individual's primary KinCode.

Cover page
Knot System defined
--> Sequential System
--> KinCode properties
Knot System applied

Preliminary versions of the notation was first published in Danish in 1987 and 1988 in "Personalhistorisk Tidsskrift", the biannual magazine of the: "Society for Danish Genealogy and Personal History", which was founded in 1879.

This definition first appeared in English in an article: "The Knot System: A Numeric Notation of Relationship" in the June 1996 issue of the US magazine "National Genealogical Society Quarterly".

The Editor of NGSQ
Elizabeth Shown Mills deserves a lot of credit for her excellent edition of the article, which will help readers also af this homepage to a much easier comprehension of the Knot System relationship notation.