There are two basic ways to present family information. One is the descendant order and the other, the ancestor ordered. But which is more meaningful? It depends on what you are looking for.
If you want to know all of the descendants from your oldest ancestry line with your same last name and all the other descendants from that oldest ancestor, for example my Jacob Miller family, then you want the descendant ordered book. So Jacob Miller and Anne Marie Theigen had nine children. Those nine children had children and their children had children, etc. When I follow all the family offspring, I am the seventh generation from Jacob and Anne M. Theigen. Thus I am listed as the son of Murphy Miller, Sr. in the middle of Vol. II, of three volumes with 1,340 pages. From the descendant presentation, you can determine your relationship to your parents, grandparents, 2nd great grandparents, 1st cousins, 1st cousins once removed, 2nd cousins, etc., etc. A relationship chart can be challenging and may take time to understand, however, from a book presenting descendants, you can determine your relationship to other descendants.
The other basic way to present your family information is to start with you and your siblings and look back to your ancestors. Using me as an example, my parents are Murphy Miller, Sr. and Mary Lillian Naquin. My father’s parents are Salomon Miller and Elvina Sonnier. My mother’s parents are Olan Naquin and Bernice Pierrottie. In my ancestor presentation I would know Elvina Sonnier’s parents, grandparents, etc. I would also have my maternal grandmother Bernice Pierrottie’s family history; her parents and grandparents, etc. My ancestry presentation is 261 pages while my children’s ancestry, which includes my wife’s family is 280 pages. My grandchildren’s ancestry numbers 300 pages in length.
You know that your parents are the second generation from you. Your parents had a father and mother. Now there are four more people who have ancestors. As you look back, the number of ancestors continues to grow and all with different last names, except for your last name ancestor, that you must follow to understand where you came from. If you placed this on a chart you could see that your father is above your name and your mother below. From your father and mother’s chart line there are two persons above and below them, their father and mother, your grandparents. This chart presentation of your ancestry is called a Pedigree Chart which has Ahnentafel numbering. You are number one; your parents number two, with continual numbers as far back as you can trace your ancestry.
In summary, if you are interested in your family name and all the people born from that oldest ancestor, then the descendant family presentation is what you want and what you generally find in the market place for sale or in the library. If on the other hand you want to know who your family ancestors are, your pedigree, your last name and your mother’s parents’ history and her grandparents’ history then the Ahnentafel presentation is your choice. Paying someone to do this research could be very expensive. It would be rare to find your Ahnentafel family book in any library.