Monday, January 04, 2010

Pre-1500 lineages: serious genealogists usually won't buy 'em


In response to a Susi's blog posting titled Madness on Monday Genealogy Research Chatter, Ol' Myrt here weighs in on the questions posed:
"How often do you open a web page and find data back to Abraham in American trees? Is this a normal, are they exposed to more records than we are? Is access to some of this knowledge more readily available in Europe and Asia?"
Certainly the Chinese lineages go back thousands of years, but scholars in that field will tell you those genealogies are quite male-dominated, meaning females are often eliminated from the family history unless they marry into a powerful family.

Other "ancient" lineages were distilled by the Medieval Families Unit from the old royal houses of Europe genealogies. See Gary T. Hatcher's 2001 posting Medieval British Isles Families at Gary's title isn't as geographically broad as is the content of his article. Such old genealogies were based on the need to be related to someone who owned land, so as to be entitled to an inheritance. Unfortunately, all sorts of political intrigue, illegitimate births and bribery of ancient church officials have rendered those genealogists suspect.

Some folks wish to tout big numbers, don't they?

Others reconsider,
and start over with only the immediate family lines back to the beginning of church records (say 1500ish in England) to be certain that lineages are based on documents that meet the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Lately, Ol' Myrt here has been rethinking everything, including my maternal grandmother Frances Irene (Goering) Froman McDonnell history. If I know some stories, and don't work this problem out, how will others be able to do it in 100+ years?

Basically, Susi, we do what we can as competent genealogists. As we grow in understanding sound research practices, we must review and rework our lineage assumptions to be sure they will bear up under scrutiny. Provide scanned images of original documents, and as Elizabeth Shown Mills recommends: cite sources. Then hope other researchers will spot your blind side.

NOTE: Graphic above of Karl I. der Gro├če (Charles the great, Charlemagne, Carolus Magnus) with Popes Gelasisus I. and Gregory I. from the sacramentary of Charles the bald (ca. 870) (identified: ) from WikiPedia. This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. Commons is a freely licensed media file repository.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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