GENMSC-L ArchivesArchiver > GENMSC > 1996-09 > 0842651186
From: John Pimentel <>
Subject: Is this genealogy? (was: Re: Same sex "marriage,"...
Date: Fri, 13 Sep 1996 16:46:26 EST
The following is forwarded to the forum with expressed permission, including
harsh comments about the literacy level of those that disagree with Leonard's
perception as to the meaning of genealogy.
I guess as I can't edit the mail, I will place my comments here.
To include members of a family by means of DNA verification amounts to
a biological study of said same family. There is a major problem with
this approach, though I do admit having the tool would be nice, after
a certain point in time where the vast majority of genealogical research
occurs the tool becomes useless, for the simple reason that the people
concerned have long since died. DNA is fine for the living confirmation
but that is it. This brings us right back to the problem where the following
A woman marries a man long ago (say, 200 years ago) has a child by the
husband. Sometime in that marriage she commits adultery (or if that is not
acceptable is violated by another man), she gives birth to a child and claims
the husband is the father, or the husband lists his own name as the father.
There is no written evidence to state otherwise, with the exception of a
rumour/story that is passed down, but nothing concrete. The couple remained
married and have more children. In the will, the father leaves his estate in
the name of this particular child, because the child was male and the rest
of the children were female and it was customary to do so (for the sake of
argument) during the era in question.
Is the child the biological offspring of both the father? The mother is
proven, because means to transfer fertilised eggs did not exist yet.
Is the child worthy of the estate that the father willed to him? The
father seems to think so.
The will was contested by the boy's uncle for no reason given that can
be found in the probate records for the court in question. All that exists
is a rumour that became part of the family stories and best tracing of the
rumour goes back to the eldest grandchild of the boy's uncle (the boy's
1c1r - first cousin once removed). As you search the records you also
find that the boy's grandfather put in his will, who died before the boy
was born that if the eldest son did not have a male child the vast fortune
reverted to the next younger son, namely the uncle. There were two other
sons in that family, but neither had issues.
After all this is said and done, how should this matter be resolved
and why? Additionally, for the sake of genealogy, why should anyone
bother to do this? Is it really that important in the history of this
family that this matter be resolved? For the purposes of his example,
does it matter that the story came through your direct line, that is the
boy is your direct ancestor, noting that you get nothing if you prove that
the son by mysterious circumstances is the rightful heir and you get nothing
if you move on. For all intents and purposes solving this matter once and
for all is why your family wants you to solve it. You do the genealogy,
you're the detective. Oh, there is a reason for all this, your family
gains/nor loses anything, but the direct descent of the uncle does, and
your two families have been feuding over this for the last 50 years, well
maybe you get to lose "face". (Have to lose something, I guess.)
Hop to it.
PS: I would like long-winded rationales please, email or forum it matters not.
PPS: To others please don't email me to "get a life" I have one and it does not
involve genealogy, this event may occur, or might have already occured.
Who knows?. BTW, welcome to genealogy.
______________________________ Forward Header __________________________________
Subject: Re: Re: Same sex "marriage,"
Author: (Leonard M. Keane) at ccgate
Date: 09/13/1996 13:25
I will again answer you here in private emaiil as briefly and concisely
as I can. Maybe long-windedness is one of my failings. If you want to
post it all, without editing, you can; but this can go on forever.
>If genetics is not "the STUDY of the GENETIC", I don't know what is.
I agree; I didn't say it was not, did I?
>Your understanding of genealogy is yours, please keep that in mind,
>it is not the widely held view, and that can be discerned by looking
>at the sample of individuals that post to this ever recurring thread.
If it is not a widely held view it's because those who hold it are
dabblers in something they know little about. If studying and
recording biological descent (let's say it's established by DNA
analysis just to remove variables about which you and I may disagree)is
NOT genealogy, then what do YOU call it?
The "sample" on the n.g. is you, me, Tom (strangely silent; he is
researching population studies); David (favors me, along with a couple
of others whose names escape me); and today, Helen Parsonage, who
trues what I say as do, I'm afraid, all the other opponents. What I'm
wondering about is the true reason.
>The best you can say is that:
>"Let's keep in mind that _to_me_ "Genealogy" means the STUDY of the
>GENETIC [lineage]". In which case you are absolutely correct,
>to tell others what genealogy means to them gets you in trouble with
>those that don't hold the same opinion. They will hold the opinion
>that they need to correct your incorrect opinion.
I'm not telling them what it means "to them", I'm telling them what it
does mean to the literate(i.e., the *definition* in the English
language and many other languages and the well-documented historical
intent and usage): a study and recording of biological lineage.
Someone can write a PC dictionary if they wish but it's not going to
change reality or the way I record a genealogy within my family. To
pursue what I perceive is your line of reasoning can only result sooner
of later in book burning.
>Genealogy to me is more than a tracing of genetic coding, ie, blood
>If a person is in a family I don't seek out to prove that that person
>belongs there beyond matching records available.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't you said that we cannot be certain
of our ancestors' paternity based on the public records available? You
do agree with Tom, don't you? I don't go around asking questions about
paternity to my relatives!!!
What I warned against is stating or implying (by silence) that either
an adoptee or illegitimate child NOT in the biological line, and known
as such by the compiler, cannot be included in the line of descent.
There must be a notation of the childs status (I posted an example,
where the dates spoke for themselves). That may indeed be difficult for
some to swallow because they have such situations and they are deep
family secrets. Too bad for the poor child and its descendants. Their
identity has been altered without their permission.
>Genealogy to me is
>tracing a family unit.
That's half of it. The rest is placing that family group (nuclear
family) in a line of descent so that it becomes an extended family
("gens", "kin" = family/clan/tribe).
>If I find a person has been included by
>adoption then I include that person.
Absolutely, and since you know of the adoption, you so note.
> Example, from a early age a
>child only knows his/her adopted parents, and only after the child
>turned <pick an age> is the child told the child was adopted or in
>some cases the child finds out. Regardless of this information the
>parents still consider the child one of their own, which is what
>adoption by definition is. For the purposes of genealogy, the study
>of the family (genea, as opposed to gene), this child is included >as
part of that family. If the information of the "natural" parents >is
determined that information may also be included, but to ascertain
>whether or not every child in a given family is a product of the
>parents listed, for the most part, cannot be ascertained. If you
>think for a moment that you can do this through time, then by all
>means go for it.
Of course, nobody is saying to PRY and nose around trying to uncover
indiscretions. I never even hinted at that. But, from now on its a
moot point for those wishing to document their lineages thru DNA
>So please narrow down your generalisation such that it applies to
>what you know for a fact, that is it applies to you and not everyone.
>Otherwise you run into people, such as I, that think you have a
>problem with your thought process.
Again, see above responses; no problem with my thought processes or
>Tom Lincoln stated once that genealogy holds different meanings for
>different folks. There are two held views, genetic and social.
Yes, and make the distinction crystal clear when publishing compiled
>If a poll were to be taken, I'll wager social would beat genetic
>hands down. If you want to put this to a poll, I am sure a site
>can be found to put this to the test and put the matter to rest
>once and for all.
Social democracy at its finest. I suppose it depends, like all polls,
on a number of variables, one of which is knowledge beyond the ability
to 'sound off'. No need, John.
I have scrounged up a couple of notes I thought you might be interested
in on the historical antiquity of genealogy, from the Celtic realm
which has been my main interest:
Clan: The Clan is a community cognizable under the Brehon Laws and
descended patrilineally from an eponymous ancestor. (Note: This is
Irish; a Scottish clan Chief can descend through, and be held by, a
female who transmits the clan surname to the next male generation)
Chief: One of the descendants of the eponymous became the
"Rrepresenter" of him and of the incipient Family or Clan, which was
"his", i.e. within his patriarchal potestas. Chief therefore succeeded
Chief in the HEREDITARY honours and dignities as they would succeed to
(See "Clans, Septs & Regiments of the Scottish Highlands", by Frank
Adams, a classic, citing much European as well as Scottish case law,
enforceable under International Law, relative to the hereditary nature
of genealogies used in succession to representation of families, from
clan level to monarchies.
Stewart of Garth ("Sketches of the Highlands", 1825, p. 32), correctly
describes the Celtic chiefships as "little sovereignties" and the Chief
as the "living sacred embodiment of the race ..giving to its race-ideal
the coherence and endurance of personality".
(Here of course "race" has nothing to do with inter-racialism, racism,
or arrogant superiority; nor does "sacred" mean the Highlanders
considered their chiefs gods. It is a reflection of the deeeply
respectful pride they felt for their kin and their determination to
protect and enhance their families/clans by example, knowing their
lives would be recorded by the bards and brehons for posterity as the
custodians of a *sacred* trust. And woe to a chief (or a wife) who
allowed a non-relative to be put forward as a wrongful chief of the
family. It has happened, though very rarely. Con O'Neill's "son" being
one example. In Celtic tradition tanistry was one protection allowed a
chief against a questionable pre-marital conception.
Irish Chiefship: A title and dignity based on male-line connected
descent (Salic or agnate form of succession) from the eponymous
ancestor of a noble clan or sept.
Interestingly, for purposes of family organization and administration
early Celtic overlords (i.e., King ("government"), Provincial King,
etc.), though a chief paid tribute to them, held *no* sovereign power
over the clans under them. As noble and sovereign communities they
were responsible first and foremost to themselves. This is still
recognized in International law, in that successor governments cannot
pass judgment or enforce family matters instituted by prior regimes or
ancient practice. (See "Early Irish Society", ed. by Myles Dillon:
article, 'Secular Institutions', by D.A. Binchy, p. 54). Thus, any
modern government could pass any laws it likes on definitions of such
things as "marriage", "family", etc., but you are correct that such
terms will mean what they have always meant to those who hold to the
millenia-old meanings of these things.
|Is this genealogy? (was: Re: Same sex "marriage,"... by John Pimentel <>|