Arithmetic Notation of Kinship


MANY writers have endeavoured to devise a simple method of describing the various forms of kinship, which, when expressed verbally, are cumbrous and puzzling in the highest degree. I suspect, however, that if we had always been as familiar with the binary system of arithmetic as we are with the decimal, that the facilities afforded by a numerical system of notation of kinship would have been so obvious that it would have been adopted as a matter of course. The notation I am about to propose is numerical, but it is not binary. It however contains implicitly, as we shall see, owing to the laws that govern numbers, the most important advantages of the binary notation, and it seems better to begin to explain it from the latter point of view.

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GALTON, F. Arithmetic Notation of Kinship. Nature 28, 435 (1883).

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