Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Well, it is not Saturday night, but Sunday afternoon. However, Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge this week was too good to pass up.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:

1)  Determine who is one of the most prolific fathers in your genealogy database or in your ancestry. By prolific, I mean the one who fathered the most children.

While driving home, I was pondering this challenge and how to figure out who this might be in my RootsMagic file of over 21,700 people. Thus, I was hoping that there was an easy way to identify such a person in my tree.

And I think there is.

My first ‘attempt’ to identify prolific fathers was limited to my direct ancestors. To do this, I used the GROUP feature of RootsMagic. This function can be found under the PALETTE icon in the upper right corner of the program.

After selecting Groups – Add, Delete or Modify from the Command Palette, I selected NEW which opened a window to ‘Enter name for the group’.

Since I wanted to limit it to my direct ancestors, I first highlighted myself and then clicked on MARK to select ‘Ancestors of highlighted person’.

On the ‘ANCESTOR OPTIONS’ window, I set it at 10 generations and selected ‘Direct Ancestors Only’

For the next step, I wanted to get rid of everyone who had small families. Thus, I wanted to UNMARK my ancestors who had less than a specific number of children. Thus, I clicked on UNMARK and selected ‘By data Field’

Since I was after FATHERS, I also unmarked the females to narrow the list down to fathers.

Then I made sure I clicked on SELECT to save the results and OK to close the window.

Once the group was created, I then switched the INDEX in the left side of my people screen from EVERYONE to my new group.

Once the group was selected, I could see the members of the group. Since I was unsure of the family sizes, I started with the ‘Number of children’ less than 11. I kept changing that number until I got a fairly short list of results.

From my list of results, I could click on each one see their information in the window above the index. By clicking on SPOUSES, I could see their spouses and how many children they had by each spouse.

By clicking thru each person in the group, I found that Hendrick Banta had 22 children, 14 by his first wife and 8 by his second wife.

Since Randy’s challenge was for the most prolific father in my database, my next question was whether Hendrick Banta was the most prolific or whether a descendant or someone in one of my many ‘bushes’ was the most prolific.

To figure this out, I created another group. This time, my first step was to select individuals with over 20 children.

That group resulted in 3 individuals, including one female with 23 children. Thinking it HIGHLY UNLIKELY that a female could be the mother of 23 children, I checked her data and found that I had somehow linked her to two spouses with one set of children being born after her death. Thus, I unlinked her from that family, which reduced her number of children to 14.

This left TWO men in my tree with 22 children. Having just discovered one error, I compared the families of these two men with FamilySearch and discovered, that again I had put two John Crawford families together that the FamilySearch tree has as two separate families. Thus, I need to separate these two families until I find sources indicating that the John Crawford in both families is the same person.

That left me with my ancestor, Hendrick Banta. When I checked his profile on FamilySearch, I found that FamilySearch shows 21 children: 14 thru his wife Antjin Demarest and 7 thru his wife, Rachel Brouwer. My eighth child, Leah, has the sane name as another Leah in the list of 7 children but a different birth date. Thus, further research may indicate these two individuals in my tree are the same person.

Even when I subtract the second Leah from the count of children, Hendrick Banta is still the most prolific father in my tree.

Children of Hendrick Banta and Antjin Demarest

  • Rachael Banta
  • Cornelius Banta
  • Samuel Banta
  • Pieter “Petrus” Bnta
  • John “Shaker John” Banta
  • Daniel Banta
  • Captain Jacob H Banta
  • Mary Polly Banta
  • Antje Banta
  • David Hendricksen Banta
  • Isaac William Banta
  • Angenitie Banta
  • Hendrick “Vestus” Banta
  • Garret Banta

Children of Hendrick Banta and Rachel Brower

  • Hendrick Hendricksen Banta IV
  • Lea Banta
  • Abraham Banta
  • Private Abraham Banta
  • Mary Banta
  • Albert Banta
  • Geertruid Henrickse “Gertrude” Banta

One thought on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

  1. Linda Stufflebean

    That was a lot of work, but it’s good you had the side benefit of finding the error for one woman. I just knew off the top of my head my top 2 prolific fathers, so I didn’t even try to find anything through RootsMagic.

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