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Only Child

Posted: 12 Jan 2020 12:46
by ColinMc
I have secondary evidence from an adult Grandchild, that the grandfather had only 1 child.

The Child Count Attribute =1 seems to simply duplicate the already existing information (admittedly without details) for that child's birth, so it does not seem appropriate.

Is there a way to record that the child was an only child. I can't see anything in the help file or the forum to point me that way.

I can see how Child Count Attribute =0 is useful, but where I already have details of births, child count seems superfluous.

Re: Only Child

Posted: 12 Jan 2020 13:20
by tatewise
It is feasible to use Child Count in various ways to aid your research.
e.g.
As you say, setting Child Count to 0 indicates no offspring and supports the No-offspring marker in Diagrams.
By setting Child Count to 1 and citing the evidence from the adult Grandchild reinforces the single child hypothesis.
The UK 1911 Census incudes child counts that can be reflected in the Child Count attribute to indicate that as yet undiscovered children still need to be found, possibly because they were born & died between Census dates.
Otherwise, as you say, the Child Count is often superfluous.

Re: Only Child

Posted: 12 Jan 2020 13:38
by ColinMc
Thanks for confirming that.

I take it there is no other way of recording an only child other than entering as a fact

Re: Only Child

Posted: 12 Jan 2020 13:45
by Ron Melby
philisophically... when your ggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggreatgranddaughter is verifying the research and adding to the family tree, I think that a known child count of 1 is as helpful as a known child count of 0. I would include it anyhow.

Re: Only Child

Posted: 12 Jan 2020 15:03
by tatewise
Colin, what did you have in mind?
Why focus on an only child?
The generic question is whether all the off-spring have been discovered and recorded.
The only alternative to using the standard GEDCOM Child Count attribute is a Note of some sort.

If you were to consistently use Child Count, then it would be easy to create a Query to list all the cases where it is known that an off-spring has not yet been discovered, i.e. Where Child Count is greater than number of Child links.

Re: Only Child

Posted: 12 Jan 2020 17:14
by AdrianBruce
ColinMc wrote:
12 Jan 2020 12:46
... I can see how Child Count Attribute =0 is useful, but where I already have details of births, child count seems superfluous.
Well, generally I wouldn't bother with it myself, either, but playing either the devil's advocate or a pedant's part, not sure which, I'd say that simply having one child recorded in the family is not quite the same as saying, "There's one child recorded in the family and I know / believe that there are no more..." Someone else, of course, might have only one child recorded in the family but turn round and say "Yes but I've not looked for any more yet..."

Of course, I can also out-pedant myself and say that the Child Count Attribute might apply at a certain point in time but, err, families tend to increase so are we sure that the Child Count Attribute I have recorded from the 1911 (say) is the final value?

Being perhaps a little more practical, I do find it useful - if I remember - to put a note against a family saying things like "No other children known" or "GRO Birth Index checked and no others found".

Re: Only Child

Posted: 12 Jan 2020 17:25
by LornaCraig
(Edit: Adrian's reply arrived while I was writing this. Here's mine anyway, making some of the same points.)
tatewise wrote:
12 Jan 2020 13:20
The UK 1911 Census incudes child counts that can be reflected in the Child Count attribute to indicate that as yet undiscovered children still need to be found, possibly because they were born & died between Census dates.
If you use the child count in this way, beware of two pitfalls:
1. The narrative sentence will read " She had 5 children on 2 April 1911". This gives the impression they were all alive on that date. If they were not, you will need to modify the sentence to something like "By 2 April 1911 she had given birth to 5 children, of whom 3 were still living."
2. You should bear in mind that the individual may have gone on to have more children after 1911.

Another pitfall of using the child count is that it is difficult to be absolutely certain that someone had a particular number of children. We can record how many children are known of but cannot always be sure there are others we don't know of. A child may have died in infancy and never been discussed in the family. Or a child may have been given up for adoption. Or a child may have been born as the result of an extra-marital relationship.

Re: Only Child

Posted: 12 Jan 2020 17:51
by ColinMc
That's the suggstion I am after.
....... I do find it useful - if I remember - to put a note against a family saying things like "No other children known" or "GRO Birth Index checked and no others found".
Simple note (with its Citation) that will serve as a reminder that there is possibly no more children to be found.

Re: Only Child

Posted: 12 Jan 2020 18:35
by tatewise
Beware of adding Citations to Note fields.
The GEDCOM 5.5 Errata Sheet only allows a simple link to a Source record and no Citation fields such as Assessment, Entry Date, Where within Source, Text From Source, Note, etc.
The GEDCOM Release 5.5.1 disallows source citations on Note fields altogether.
So going forward, for maximum GEDCOM compliance, I advise avoiding Note field Citations.

Discussion of this topic continues in Note field Citations disallowed in 5.5.1 (17361).

Re: Only Child

Posted: 12 Jan 2020 18:58
by ColinMc
Ok Thanks.

Re: Only Child

Posted: 13 Jan 2020 00:03
by jmurphy
This is the kind of thing I would flag on an Ancestry online tree with one of the MyTreeTags (TM). I'm pondering how to transfer my Ancestry Tags to Family Historian -- see this thread:

Ancestry Tree tags vs. Family Historian (17357)

Ancestry's current set of Relationship tags:
  • Adopted Into this Family
  • Adopted Out of this Family
  • Died Young
  • Direct Ancestor
  • Multiple Spouses
  • Never Married
  • No Children
  • Orphan
Consider how these act different when pinned to a profile. "No children" is Child Count =0. We can also infer Child Count =0 from the "Died Young" tag.

Whose profile do you want to flag, the parents, or the child?

My initial impulse is to flag the child's record as "No Siblings" to convey the information rather than use the expression "Only Child".

For the parents/family group, I would want to create a general tag that says that all the known children have been accounted for, that could be used for all cases where the number of children is 1 or greater, on the principle that it's more practical to create tags that could be used for a larger number of people in the tree -- but I can't think of a good tag phrase that would convey that. The Ancestry tag "Complete" is part of the Reseach Status group (to complement "Actively Researching").

For the information itself, create a source "interview with family member [date]", but how do you cite a non-event?