Monday, January 4, 2010

Madness on Monday Genealogy Research Chatter

Greetings readers, This is as good a place as any to say what I want to say. O yes, soapbox stance coming up. Yesterday, I received a call from distant cousin regarding some research we are working on. The call was great and I was glad to get it.

Our topic was more interesting in the fact of how some people do genealogy.
Maybe here in the USA we are way behind the times! I gather I am going to have go out on the web and see what Europeans and Middle East people put on their site.

At least I know of a lovely lady I can ask some of these questions too. In the USA we are taught not to add living people for security sake unless that family member your sharing with is discreet also. We are also taught not to add something if not proven a certain amount of ways to verify as fact.

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? I realize if you read or follow the Bible that there is many lineages listed through out the text.

My mother inherited a Teaching Bible and it has Noah and his children listed in it down several generations. I actually think it is ten. I am smart enough to know that yes people in the CHURCH were allowed to marry and children were born and yes there may be a Pope or two that had children. Marriage was outlawed by the Catholic Church
(name later given to the group called the CHURCH) some time in the late 17th or 18th century. That time line not critical to comment but I am aware that in days of old, (500 years ago +) the clergy were married more often than not.

But what is the purpose of putting genealogical data back to these people on our charts? I was amazed as I was reading some of the data added by what may be a very distant relative in Europe to this distant cousins tree.

If we use the documentation theory for our research, how and where did they get documentation other than Bible and that is only one source? Does the Catholic or Russian Orthodox Church or Jewish Religion have scrolls and data hidden away that we can not see? I am sure that they must. But I suspect somewhere a scholar or two has looked at them.

I belong to a great YDNA group that is following human kind across the globe, much like the Ancient History I read of so long ago. It brings to mind the fact that we
truly are not whom we seem to be. Unless you stop your research about 500 years back.

Of course you have those working on going back to Adam and Eve and I suspect genetically this can be accomplished if we all live long enough. Dr George Schweitzer
said we implode on our past. It is normally figured if you go back ten generations you have potential duel ancestors in more than one line.

I have duel lineage only back 5 on one side and 6 I think on another. When much farther back, which I can do on a few lines you can see more same ancestors.

So for Monday Madness, well a sort of frustration, of wasting time/space taken up in a genealogical program I would hope to hear from many out in the big genealogical community on this topic. Is it fair to ask this person to not share this data, or should we accept their contributions. This is the second time I have seen this in the last year. The first time to have it indirectly affect my researching thought process.

I truly hope to hear from several of you regarding this matter because it is not my
intent to offend anyone but since we are so document orientated, this concept sorta boggles the mind.


  1. Good questions raised, Susi! Here's my response:

  2. I'm embarrassed to say that when I first started
    research on line I was thrilled to see trees that extended my ancestry back to the Middle Ages. I have a degree in history and the medieval period was my area of interest. But from that I also knew that much of it was fantasy. I mean, Odin as an ancestor? Yeah, right! *Grin*

    But there are also some well documented connections between the early settlers from
    the English Isles and nobility.Gary Boyd
    Roberts book The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies is one
    such well documented source. So there are
    many Americans who can claim ancestors from before 1500.

    Documentation is the key.If they can document it, then accept it.

    Meanwhile, I'm trying to clean up my own tree
    from the mess I made when I first began.

    Intersting question, Susi!

  3. "My ancestry is touched by all the crown heads of Europe." I may say it, I may even believe it, but can I prove it?

    If I continue to offer my beliefs absent the genealogical standard of proof, I damage my reputation as a researcher and as my family's historian.

    Personally, I include tales and even rumor in my family histories. There may be a kernel of truth in these things, but no proof. I identify them as rumor and tales. Perhaps someone will have the key to unlock the truth of the rumor or the tale.

    Now, as to accepting the information you discussed above; that would depend on the criteria you set up for submission originally. I would have to know that before I could offer an opinion.

    Good food for thought!


  4. The reason for not posting BIRTH DATES of the living on the internet is identity theft. The date of birth is one way a persons financial data can be used to get a credit card. If you put the birthdate of a living person on the intenet you inviting all kinds of financial trouble for that person. I know as my mother had this happen, her birthdate was posted on a genealogical web page in Pennsylavania and this is where the person who wreaked havoc with her finances got the information. She lost a lot of money and it took years to get the mess straightened out. I have repeatedly asked this person to remove the birthdate but the person has refused. DON'T GIVE OUT A BIRTH DATE.

  5. Thanks for bringing up this topic, Susi. I've run across it a number of times, but my reaction has always been to... well, never mind! Anyhow, it's nice to know I'm not the only one wondering, and you've drawn excellent and informative comments on the subject from our fellow geneabloggers. I appreciate that!

  6. There are at least two genealogies for Jesus Christ in the Bible. Compare both! They don't list the same lineage. Next, he is often called, Son of David. I'm not certain of my memory, but I think the line to David was through Joseph. And Jesus didn't have an earthly father. Isn't this fun?

    Ask anyone who says they have traced their families back to the old country how they got past the Civil War with the burnt down courthouses, how they got past the time the courthouse basement flooded and all of the record books were hauled to the dump. And, don't forget to mention that the ship's records for the voyage here are often skimpy if you can find them. And, oh my, how will those whose ancestors swam or waded across the Rio Grande document their arrival?

    Ask yourself this question: "In all of the years I have been doing genealogy how many "good" genealogies have I seen?" In my case it's been very few. The reason I say "few" is because a "good" genealogy should use a numbering system that the reader can follow; it should list contact information for the compiler; there should be some textual information to tell the family story; and there must be at least some attempt to cite sources. Also I would like to find a copy in the collection of some genealogy library.

    Some say the Mormons have a great interest in genealogy and that they have a lot of genealogy stored in their library. I'm not convinced that it's genealogy. In my opinion their genealogy is done for church purposes and the church doesn't care about being accurate. Their genealogy program, Personal Ancestral File (PAF), through version 2.31,which I used for many years, and enjoyed using, made no provision for source citation or for publishing a genealogy. Should they have even called PAF a genealogy program?

    Another group that uses "so-called" genealogy is the DAR. We should realize this is not a genealogy society. They use ancestral relationships to gain membership in what I call a "bragging society." There's nothing wrong with that as long as we realize when we look at their records that the supplemental documentation often doesn't back up the claims to lineage.

  7. I am so new to blogging that my blog isn't even up yet, but it is coming. Couldn't resist commenting upon Mr. Dickie's observation of the two genealogies for Jesus in the Bible. The usual explanation is that the one found in the gospel of Matthew traces the legal descent of Jesus from the house of David (since Joseph was the legal father of Jesus) while Luke's genealogy traces the blood descent from the house of David through Mary's 'Nathan' line. Genealogies in the Bible often have specific purposes, according to the author's intent.

  8. I did an article once on if you could do your genealogy to Adam and Eve. Personally, with the way surnames weren't used years ago, and the "John, son of Abraham of Anyplace" was used, how could we? And I agree to not use "living" info unless within relatives/friends we trust. But, then who do "they" share with and so on... We really have to be careful..Your blog brought alot of issue/ethical questions up that we as family historians leaving our mark should consider. Personally, I used to be sooo excited to see someone post my pedigree "way back", but do I include it now, NO. Unless I can prove it I have tried to go back and take it out of my tree. Unfortunately, some of my earlier submissions to Ancestry, etc may have these links as I was inexperienced and posted whatever. I have gone to delete these postings where memory serves me, but who copied this data before I could get to it? There lies the problem, where innocent early researcher post this "back to Jesus/Adam Eve" research, years later learn and delete, but several others before deletion have copied and endless it goes.

    My 2 cents at 2 am in the morning...

    Tina Sansone

  9. After reading your post again --- I think your question is......

    Is it fair to ask this person to not share this data, or should we accept their contributions?

    I see this often ---- what are we taught in Miss Manners? ---- if we are presented with data that we think may not be true--- we are to say
    "That is interesting." or "That is an interesting finding."

    I am unsure what you mean by share. I know you co-own a web site, teach genealogy, and speak at genealogy functions. Are you saying the person wants to add this questionable data to your web site?, class preparation? or your professional presentations? Then I say yes----it is ok to maintain the integrity of your data.
    But if you are talking about informal genealogy meetings, their own trees, and/or their own conversations with clients, family or friends than I say no.

    A way to draw the line would be to outline "rules of content" for your web site, classes, and/or presentations without judgement statements: such as:: on our co-owned web site let's make a rule to include 500 years or so many generations and cut it off.

    I think your information is interesting and maybe we can reference a separate page. This separate page will be presented as: owned by just you. On this separate page you can explore these ideas in more detail. But for right now my plate is very full and I am unable to devote the time and effort to verify and validate the data for our joint web site pages. besides you did all the work and deserve all the credit.

    I have a simular situation: I am aware of a person practicing genealogy without a license (lol) This person offers to do people's genealogy sometimes without even asking them. He will just start asking their name, dates, parents etc --- then get on a computer and start "researching" the persons lineage. Then half-cocked start spouting off data to the person. Or even shareing this person's data with other people!! I cringe..... I am so offended I can not tell you..... someday at the right time, in privacey, I will explain to this person how I feel about the issue. I will say ---I do not want to be present or be told other people's lineage unless it comes from them. But what they say and do to others --- I can only say how I feel about the integrity and honor to represent our ancestors. from "rehncw" Ruth E Himan No Credentials Whatsoever

  10. I happened across this post from a link on 'Myrt's page. I wanted to thank you for posting this very thoughtful and insightful entry. The one thing that frustrates me most as a avid genealogy researcher is when you see family tress posted online with inaccurate and unsourced information. Whether it goes back to Adam and Eve or Abraham Lincoln, is irrelevant. Cite your info, post your source, something. I see so many people that will copy from these genealogies so accurately that they even include flagrant typos. For me personally, if I can't prove it with a reasonable amount of actual documents, it isn't going into my tree.

    Thanks again for the post,