The Meriwether Society uses an alpha-numeric code system to uniquely identify individuals and families.
Since Nicholas Meriwether’s descendants were a prolific lot, the Society has identified major family groups, based mainly on third and fourth generation descendants, to better organize and direct our research and social activities. Each Family Group has an alpha-numeric code that can be used by members to recognize others from the same Family Group. And since our Meriwether forebearers had no restriction on marrying cousins of any degree, many TMSI members carry two or even more Family Groups! This numbering system is known as a “Henry Number” and makes identifying a particular individual in any generation very easy. Examples of Family Group codes are: M1, M1221, M124, M1227a, etc. The letter ‘M’ stands for Meriwether, of course, and the numeric code uniquely identifies a particular Meriwether, based on his or her birth order and the Family Group of their Meriwether parent. The Family Groups identified by the examples are:
M1 – Nicholas Meriwether I himself
M1221 – Thomas Meriwether & Elizabeth Thornton; Thomas is the first child of David (M122), who is the second child of Nicholas II (M12), who is the second child of Nicholas I. Hence 1 2 2 1!
M124 – Anne Meriwether and Thomas Johnson. Anne is the fourth child of Nicholas II (M12).
M1227a – James Meriwether. James is the seventh child of David (M122). However, he married twice and had children by both marriages. The letter ‘a’ indicates a person descended from the first marriage to Judith Hardenia Burnley, the letter ‘b’ from the second marriage to Elizabeth Pollard.
One of the weaknesses of a Henry Number system is that it is based on birth order. If research subsequently determines that birth order with in a family has to be changed, then all descendants will have to have different birth orders. Fortunately, the birth order for the Meriwether families in the first four generations is fairly well documented, so the Family Groups we have designated are very stable. One exception that has arisen in the past few years concerns the relative birth order of children of David Meriwether and Anne Holmes, specifically Francis (M1222) and David (aka “Sailor” David) (M1226. Research by TMSI members David and Faye English have established beyond a doubt that David was born about 1716, not 1726 as commonly believed. Although less well documented, it appears that Francis was born about 1726, instead of about 1717.
Each Family Group has a volunteer Family Group Representative and may have additional assistants. The complete set of Family Groups can be found under the Resources area.
The Society is always open to having new volunteers to help with a Family Group, so if you are interested, please contact us!