Different ways of displaying data

I’m talking genealogy here.

I’m not a great fan of the traditional descendant family tree because they get unmanageable so rapidly. For example, if I take my great grandfather – he has 64 known descendants in my generation and far too many to work out in the next couple. A huge width of paper is needed to print this out – and not much height. I find it hard to work out what is what on large sheets of paper.

Ancestor trees are easier to cope with for the number of ancestors only doubles with each generation but I have a taste for the time line, like this one.


With this it is easy to see who was alive at the same time and my eyes are drawn to a collection of five (these are ancestors of my wife) all born in the 10 years between 1869 and 1879

Joseph Lomas married Betty Brindley so they obviously knew one another. It’s pretty likely they knew Henry Fisher. The two families were joined by their grandchildren.

They probably all knew Noe Rathbone whose daughter married Henry Fisher’s son – they all lived in or around Gawsworth in Cheshire. Noe married Elizabeth Pownell about whom we know very little but she’d have lived in Gawsworth with Noe so she’d have been known to the others

The youngest of this group, Robert Mottershead was another Gawsworth person. His son married the daughter of Joseph Lomas and Betty.

It is interesting to realise that all these ancestors knew one another. The time lines show how much their lives overlapped. In my imagination I can see them together celebrating the coronation of Queen Victoria, albeit some of them didn’t live much longer.

By the way, the names here had some well-known relatives. Betty Brindley had an Uncle James who was the canal engineer. Other researchers suggest that Noe Rathbone is related in some way to Sherlock Holmes actor Basil Rathbone, but I reckon that’s a tenuous link


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