The Knot System, a notation of relationship

(Se den danske version)

The Knot System . .

    .. is a numerical notation that defines consanguinity also called blood relationship based om bisexual procreation.
    .. can describe and document any kind of biological relationship, simple as well as very complex, in a modular and structured way.
    .. is exact. Thus, scientifically correct additive relationships - and, by extension, inbreeding coefficients for offspring - may be calculated directly from the notation.
    .. offer a structured way of imagining and visualising relationships in the human mind as well as precise means of documenting these on paper and in computer output.


The Knot System was first described in an article titled: A Consanguinity Notation in the Danish Genealogical Society's publication Personalhistorisk Tidsskrift, 1987:2. A year later it was republished in the same publication in a more comprehensible article, this second article may be read here (in Danish).

In the process of testing and verifying all properties of The Knot System, a database of persons with known complex relationships were built using the genealogy program Reunion 4.0. The database consists of 2.066 persons of which 1.217 were biologically related to Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II to Denmark within the scope of her 6th ancestor generation.

This database was used as input to a specially developed computer program which calculated KinCodes for each of the Queens relatives resulting in a total of 1,146 KinCodes containing a total of 17,655 consanguinity-elements, each documenting one biological relation between Her Majesty and one of her relatives.

The results were added to a book manuscript Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Her Kin which was used as an appendix to below mentioned thesis in order to demonstrate a practical application of the innovative notation.

In September 1992 a thesis about The Knot System was forwarded to the Humanistic Faculty of University of Copenhagen and in March 1993 I received a confirmation that the thesis would be accepted for evaluation of a possible Docters Degree at the Medical Faculty of the University.

After evaluating a year the committee unfortunately concluded that the thesis was not basis for applying a Doctors Degree, but fortunately the Professors of the committee emphasized in their refusal that it is obvious that:

    The Knot System is ... a notation that exactly describes bisexual relationships independent of complexity.

So alas ... no doctors degree recieved but equally important, there was scientific confirmation that The Knot System exactly describes bisexual relationships of any complexity.

In June 1996 my article about the notation was published in the prestitious US genealogy magazine National Genealogical Society Quarterly. The Editor of NGSQ Elizabeth Shown Mills deserves a lot of credit for her excellent editorial coaching which made it easier for readers to comprehend the Knot System relationship notation.

In late october 1996 my book Hendes Majestæt Dronning Margrethe II og Hendes Slægt was published in celebration of Her Majesty Queen Margrethe of Denmark's 25th anniversary as Regent. The book's main chapter was a Danish translation of above mentioned manuscript.

During summer 1998 the homepage www.knotsystem.dk (in English) was created. The site defines and describes The Knot System, presents examples of its various applications and has been available almost unchanged on the Internet ever since except for a major layout change in 2015.

I have happily noticed that the www.knotsystem.dk site for many years has been a primary reference on several Wikipedia sites definition of Consanguinity.

In October 2003 I was contacted by the development team of the free (gratis) Dutch genealogy program Aldfaer. They were looking for a method of measuring and presenting inbreeding or additive relationship between individuals and had discovered that The Knot System might solve their needs.

In late 2004 the first generally available computer genealogy program implementing The Knot System was released to more than 10.000 Dutch users, it was named: Aldfaer version 3.2 and it is free to use. The latest version is Aldfaer version 8.1 and was released in April 2020.

Unfortunately the Aldfaer homepage and all descriptive material on Aldfaer's facilities are in Nederlands (Language of the Dutch people), but intensive use of Microsoft Translator or translate.google.com will bring you a long way.

An English language page is available here which will assist you in downloading and installing the latest version of Aldfaer and make it speak English. Also an Aldfair Quick Guide with a description of its implementation of The Knot System is available there.