About Lineage Keys

About the Lineage Key (LK) System

In a surname society such as ours, which collects data on any and all Park/e/s lineages, how does one easily track and identify the various unrelated Park/e/s lines and the individuals within them? Obviously, simply stating one is talking about a ‘John Parks born in 1798 in North Carolina’ is likely to lead to confusion with others of the same name, birth year, or place of birth. One could further identify him as the husband of Mary Smith, for example, and this may narrow the reference to a specific individual, but this becomes cumbersome and cannot be entered into a database in a way that can be easily searched.

Many years ago David Parke, Sr. PS#13, who was a guiding force in the early days of the Parke Society, came up with a system that allows us to differentiate both the numerous Park/e/s lineages and the individuals within them. His Lineage Key system (abbreviated as LK) is truly the ‘key’ that enables us to refer to any Park/e/s family and individual without unnecessary verbiage or confusion.

While it may seem confusing or intimidating at first glance, once the basics of the LK system are understood, the logic of it makes everyone’s life simpler. Here is how it works:

Each individual Park/e/s lineage, when it becomes known to the Parke Society, is assigned a unique LK. The LK consists of one or two letters, assigned by the Parke Society Historian, with no special significance as to the letters themselves.

For example, one lineage may be designated by the letter ‘A’ and another by the two letter combination ‘BC’—expressed thus: LK=A, LK=BC.

Now that we have a one or two letter designation for every Park/e/s lineage, we need a way to identify the individuals within each lineage. This is accomplished by adding numbers before and after the LK letter designation. Numbers before the LK letter(s) represent the generation of the individual, beginning with the earliest known ancestor. Numbers after the LK letter represent the number assigned to that individual on the Family Group Sheet (FGS) on which the person appears. Note: the number after the LK letter does not necessarily represent birth order.

For example:

  • Roger Parke, immigrant ancestor of the LK=K line is designated 01K1, meaning he is the first generation listed, and his number on the FGS is one.
  • Roger’s son John is designated 02K1, meaning he is the second generation and his identifying number on his FGS is also one.
  • John’s son George is designated 03K4, again meaning he is the third generation and his FGS number is four.

Thus, every individual with the Park/e/s surname in the Parke Society’s database has a unique designation which enables members and staff to easily and clearly refer to the correct individual in a quick, easy-to-use system.

The Lineage Key Catalog page presents descriptions of each LK in the Parke Society database, with the name of the earliest known ancestor, pertinent dates and other information, and whether that LK is currently represented in our DNA project database. The following keys have been published to date: all single-letter keys A-Z, double-letter keys AA-ZZ, AX-ZX, AY-ZY, and AZ-TZ . Further Lineage Keys will appear in subsequent issues of the Newsletter and on this page.