Family Tree for Clones

Family Trees for Clones

A Practical Guide for Genealogists

by Erno Listerhijj, Erno Listerhijj, Erno Listerhijj, Erno Listerhijj, et al.
The Bergen County Amateur Genealogical Association
Pyramus, New Jersey

Here is a simple guide to preparing family trees for clones.

The recent report that a sheep has been cloned in Scotland is happy news for genealogists. Prospects are good that other Scottish sheep will be cloned, and that eventually Scottish persons will be cloned. It is likely that, in the not too distant future, other persons will be cloned, too. As experts on drawing up family trees, we must prepare ourselves to handle this brave new world.

Some may regard cloning as a genealogical nuisance-we have heard it said that a family tree with clones will grow like kudzu. Nevertheless, we can describe and record it simply, using mathematical notation.

A clone is both a child and a sibling of the person from whom he/she was cloned. This is how to identify the clones of a family progenitor/self-genitor. For purposes of illustration, we will call him "Mel." Mel himself is recorded simply as:

Mel

and he looks like this:

Mel

The first batch of Mel clones—that is, all the clones cloned directly from Mel-each has one subscript. For example, if Mel directly produces five clones of himself, they will be identified, genealogically, as:

Mel1 Mel2 Mel3 Mel4 Mel5

and they will look like this:

MelMelMelMelMel

Each of those clones' clones has two subscripts. For example, if Mel4 has several children, the second child of the new batch will be

Mel
4
2

and he will look like this:

Mel

If this individual sees the need to clone himself, the members of the next bunch will each have an "extra" subscript. For example, the thirteenth child of that bunch (if the bunch be so bountiful!) will be

Mel
4
2
13

and he will look like this:

Mel

And so forth (no pun intended). You add an extra subscript every time a clone spawns a new (for lack of a better term) generation.

No matter how many times Mel clones himself, and no matter how many times each of the clones clones himself, each clone can be identified simply-and clearly-as:

Of course some or all of the clones might be given other, less formal-sounding, names. Regardless, every genealogist should insist on recording the family proceedings in the standard fashion as we define it here. To do otherwise would be confusing to all concerned.

Copyright © 1997 The Annals of Improbable Research (AIR). All rights reserved.