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What is the Wampler/Wampfler
Paternal Lineage (Patrilineal) Database
by John E. Wampler

Section 2.1

Last update: 10/17/2011

This article addresses three issues of interest concerning the way the data for this web site is organized.
  1. Why Patrilineal? - a short explanation of this choice.
  2. Database structure - a short explanation of the form and format of the database itself.
  3. Converting to GEDCOM - a stepwise method of interconverting this data to other genealogical database forms.

Why Patrilineal?

Return to TOP of page The database maintained on this site focuses on those persons with the surname Wampler or Wampfler (or the surnames of children fathered by a man with these surnames). Each entry records the lineage of that person in his or her paternal line (their father, their grandfather, their greatgrandfather, etc.) as far as we know it. This lineage entry uses the ID tags of these men (see description of ID tags here) to index and internally reference the data.

This patrilineal focus seems male chauvinistic, but that is not the intent. If we follow the female lineage of a given person, i.e. a matralineal family tree, in most societies this leads from one surname to the other to another and so on. Alternatively, you try to fill in all of the branches of a family tree backwards in time and your task grows as the square of the generation number (2, 4, 8, 16, ...). Followed, foward from each of these new nodes (husband's parents and spouse's parents), it can multipy even faster depending on how many children they have and how many of them marry. In reality most genealogists, put some self-imposed limit on how far off of the "main tree" they are willing to go. Typically, they choose to follow one line or the other from their parents or grandparents or husband's or wife's, etc.

Biologically, there is also a good reason to follow the male line. Y Chromosomal DNA testing has become useful and practical for this since it is handed down nearly intact from father to son. Mitochondrial DNA can be used in a similar way to follow the matrilineal ancestory and has the advantage that a mother hands down an exact copy of her mitochondrial DNA to all of her children, male and female. However, it turns out the for most distant ancestor studies, the male lineage is used. For more on this google "DNA and genealogy" or look at the National Geographic project site.

So, this site is patrilineal and this choice limits the information about spouse families. While quite a bit of information is provided on spouses and the children of female Wampler/Wampfler family members, these lines are not followed forward or backward in the surname of the spouse. However, the 2,000 or so spouse surnames are indexed and some details about them are given in notes within the entries linked there. My appologies to all the Wampler ladies and all of the Wampler wives. We litterally couldn't be here without you.

Database Structure

Return to TOP of page Most database files are not viewed directly, but through a program that is used to access and organize the data. Take an Excel spreadsheet, for example. The data can be sorted or search or manipulated with formulae. Printouts can be created in a variety of formats, etc. However, if you look directly at the spreedsheet file you see "gobbledy-gook", a string of numbers or hexadecimal pairs. Similarly, many web based database files are meant to be viewed and manipulated via a script program on a "cgi-bin" directory on the web site. Such programs can extract and present the data in very nice web pages, but they often do not give you a direct view or larger picture of the data. The early version of this web site tried to do it both ways using an internal database format and cgi-bin based scripts to present the data on a given individual, but then using a texted based format to present the entrie data set for downloading. The main reason for this was that in the era of dialup connections, it took too long to download the larger file of the complete family tree. The cgi-script generated page was much smaller and more quickly downloaded. The server, being very fast, could take the load off of the user's internet connection.

As time passed, the need to keep the size of downloaded material in the kilobyte size range decreased. Internet connections got faster and the buffer capacity of our hard disk drives in our computers got much bigger. It turned out that the two copies of the database file, one for the server cgi-script and one for viewing directly as a web page, became redundant. With the help of appropriately constructed index pages, it was felt that the database files could be presented directly to the user.

The base information for this site is still kept in an Excel spreadsheet which is manipulated by programs written in a Microsoft scripting language. It is these programs that generate the index pages and the database files for the Web. For the most part the database entries themselves are "plain-text" which means that they are not buried in HTML code markings. The segement of one of these files shown below indicates this format:

<A NAME="[hg3-11]">
[hg3-11]  John, WAMPLER
  b. 17Feb1794
  d. <8Jul1844, Wythe Co VA
  m. Susannah MOYER (MOYERS) (1790-Sep1847), 16Oct1814
  n. wrote will 4Mar1844, dead before 8July 1844 (previous death date was 11Mar1894)
  n. <A HREF="../wills/john-will.html">see will</A>
  l. [he1-8]Hans->[hg2-4]George=>
<A NAME="[hg3-12]">
[hg3-12]  Stephen, WAMPLER
  b. 29Nov1795
  d. 10Feb1870
  m. Rebecca MOYER
  l. [he1-8]Hans->[hg2-4]George=>
<A NAME="[hg3-13]">
[hg3-13]  David, WAMPLER
  b. 27Feb1798
  d. 1Oct1862
  m. Jane BYARS
  l. [he1-8]Hans->[hg2-4]George=>

The only HTML tags in the body of the text for most entries are the NAME tags, <A NAME="xxxxx">, where xxxxx is the id-tag of individual described on the following lines. In the first entry there is also an HTML link to another page where the transcript of John's will can be found. The rest of the "databasing" cues are in the exact format of each line as explained elsewhere on this site. ALL OF THESE EXTRANEOUS TAGS DISAPPEAR WHEN THE FILE IS VIEWED IN A WEB BROWSER. The line labels-- "b.", "d.", "m."-- are also explained elsewhere.

NOTE that this format is not exactly "legal" html coding. The greater-than character, ">", is used in the lineage line as is rather than as a properly referenced special character "&lt;". This has continued to work even as HTML code has been evolving. If it quits working, I'll change it.

One key to making it easy to find people and index them is this lineage line starting with "l. ". This line gives the father, grandfather, etc. for this individual (see an illustrated description here) and its format allows seaching in various ways (again refer to the "How to search" page). This database format is very compact without loosing the ability to search it in very specific ways. To illustrate that look at the section below where it is converted to a GEDCOM format.

Converting to GEDCOM

Return to TOP of page In converting this data to other genealogical formats (e.g. GEDCOM), you should separate the entries here into multiple entries, one for each spouse and one for each of the children of female Wampler/Wampfler family members. The author of this site uses a simple format expansion to GEDCOM format illustrated by the following database entry:
[hm5-4] Leanna (Leannah), WAMPLER
  b. 1847
  m. David M. STIDHAM, 8-18-1865 Wise Co VA
  ch. Lorinda 
  l. [he1-3]Hans->[hm2-2]George->[hm3-1]George->[hm4-1]James=>
The individual and family GEDCOM records that this entry would generate are all given xref_id's (in GEDCOM format delimted by the @ sign) based on the ID tag of this individual ([hm5-4]), hm5-4 for Leanna, hm5-4m1 for her spouse, David, and hm5-4c1 for her child Lorinda. The family xref_id is then hm5-4f1. Other spouses, children and families would be given xfre_id's in numerial sequence (eg. hm5-4m2 for the second spouse, hm5-4c2 for the next child, etc.). The resulting GEDCOM record (below) can be easily reconverted to the format of this database as well.
0 @hm5-4@ INDI
  1 NAME Leanna/Wampler/
  1 SEX F
  1 BIRT
    2 DATE 1847
  1 FAMS @hm5-4f1@
0 @hm5-4m1@ INDI
  1 NAME David M/Stidham/
  1 SEX M
  1 FAMS @hm5-4f1@
0 @hm5-4c1@ INDI
  1 NAME Lorinda/Stidham/
  1 SEX F
  1 FAMC @hm5-4f1@
0 @hm5-4f1@ FAM
  1 MARR
    2 DATE 8-18-1865 
    2 PLAC Wise Co VA
  1 HUSB @hm5-4@
  1 WIFE @hm5-4m1@
  1 CHIL @hm5-4c1@

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