How reliable to you think these connections are from my Mormon family?

Started by Jean Hageman on Wednesday, July 10, 2013

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7/10/2013 at 12:22 PM

Hi,

I'm new to genealogy, but do have quite a bit of stuff as both sides of my family were very early Mormon settlers so my grandparents did up the genealogy for their children, and it's been passed down to me. On one side of the family, we [as most people here] go back to the nobility of Scotland and England, and my records note all the peerage facts so I'm comfortable with that.

On that side of the family, I've been able to connect to my ancestors trees, and several lines go back ancient Israel. One extensive chart I have shows a lot of that, but I guess my question is how comfortable are people with links going back that far? I think it's interesting, and I can buy the links back through the royal houses of Europe, but much beyond that seems like a stretch.

Any comments appreciated.

7/10/2013 at 5:21 PM

From what I've seen in other discussions, the general consensus seems to be that Geni members only want real people attached to the tree.

Furthermore, it's possible that what you want to add has already been added. I recommend that you build your tree starting with the most recent generations and working backward through its chronology, merging duplicate profiles as you go in order in order to minimize your data entry. If the "ancient" bloodlines on your chart are in the main tree already, I think that this strategy of data entry will reveal it to you.

7/10/2013 at 5:40 PM

John, thanks for your imput.

Once I got a few generations of my grandfather's ancestors in, I had dozens of tree matches so I merged profiles. All of the work appears to be done for me which is nice. I assume I have some distant relatives that are very diligent in researching this.

I did read in a Mormon forum [I'm not Mormon BTW] that royalty wanted to prove their link to Jesus. How true any of that is is beyond me.....

7/10/2013 at 7:06 PM

That very point was brought up in a discussion started by Justin Swanström about his proposal to "cut" the alleged descendancy of the legendary kings of ancient Ireland from the family of Adam and Eve. Another user offered the observation that numerous religious groups - whether or not also united ethnically - have claimed or even tried to demonstrate descent from the deity/deities they worshipped and/or holy people that they venerated. For example, there is the claim couched in the Priory of Sion hoax ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priory_of_Sion ) that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had issue that eventually gave rise to the Merovingian dynasty - a claim that was most recently foisted on the undiscerning public by Dan Brown's book "The Da Vinci Code". For another example, there is at least one spurious demonstration of the descent of the legendary ancient Welsh royals from Joseph of Arimathea ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_of_Arimathea ).

7/10/2013 at 9:06 PM

Jean, the short answer to your question is that you should be very skeptical of any European line that goes back before the about the 6th century. John has explained it very well, I think. (John -- I think you could teach me a thing or two about brevity!)

Some of the Irish kings are considered to be reliable back to the 6th century. The ancestors of Charlemagne are reliable for only a few generations further back, say to the 8th century. The Norse lines -- well, you'd get a lot of argument, but I think they're possibly reliable to about the 9th century with some notable exceptions. Some of the Welsh lines might be reliable back to the 7th century, and arguably a bit earlier.

Of course, there are other cultures that have much older genealogies. A few Jewish lines go back to King David, and some those (maybe) connect here and there with European royalty. And, let's not forget that the Chinese, Japanese and Indians have lines that extend incredibly far back.

Some of us are working on documenting the problem lines, holding public discussions when there is disagreement, and cutting the fake connections. As time goes on you should see the tree get better.

7/11/2013 at 12:05 PM

Hi Justin,

I'm glad you commented as I've noticed you follow at a lot of the same profile I do, and since we 10th cousins through John Wheeler I, and Agnes [Ann] Yeoman, I assume it's because they're both our ancestors.

That being said, I went back through John Wheeler's line on the ancestor page, and another ancestor of his goes back to Adam and Eve. It's rather funny as this profile showed Adam and Eve as our 96th great grandparents. A page or so later, we have grandparents going back 120 or so generations for that same ancestor.

In another line of mine, Adam and Eve are my 76th great grandparents. In other lines, I have grandparents going back at least 120 generations.

Do you know who put together the lineage of the Wheeler family? Being a curator, are you comfortable with it?

Thanks for your insight.

7/11/2013 at 2:36 PM

Jean, you're right that I'm a Wheeler descendant. Twice, even. The Wheeler ancestry on Geni is the shared effort of dozens of users all working together to add their bit of the big picture. I don't think we can really thank any one particular person. I have some doubts about their royal descent. I don't think it's implausible, I just haven't seen the proofs.

I take a "wait and see" approach. So many lines on Geni have been cleaned up and so many remain to be cleaned up, that I'm in the habit of assuming everything is subject to change.

I came into Geni with five or six royal descents from the English kings -- the same ones everyone else has. Once the merging started, suddenly I had hundreds of royal descents. There for awhile it seemed like every immigrant to colonial America had a dozen secret and previously unknown royal lines. Finally, the users started to clean up the lines by working together and many of those lines got the ax. I'm glad for all that hard work from everyone pulling together, taking time to really look at the evidence, and not being afraid to cut bad (unsourced) lines.

The problem with the number of generations back to Adam and Eve is always a favorite no matter how many times it comes up. Here's the simplified version -- When the European kings converted to Christianity, they accepted the literal truth of the Bible.

No king was ever going to admit that he didn't know his line back to Adam. A quick consultation, perhaps a threat about going back to the old gods, and the monks were happy to "do the research".

Those old time monks produced some wonderful genealogies, but unfortunately they weren't always good at math. As a group, they consistently under-estimated the number of generations they needed to get the king's line back to Adam.

So, we have all these "traditional" pedigrees and no way to know where to cut them. We know that somewhere in the middle the names are just inventions, but on the Biblical end they're probably right and in the generations close to the converted kings they're probably right.

I think this is the most interesting on-going debate we have but it's also a bit dangerous. Tempers run pretty high on all sides. If we cut the lines we upset one group of users. Leave them in place and we upset another group. My advice is to decide for yourself and ignore everything else.

7/11/2013 at 2:52 PM

Jean! I'm laughing right now because I just checked our relationship on Geni. You and I are 4th cousins once removed. That means you are one of my closest relatives on Geni outside my immediate family. Our connection is through the Luces. We're not just distant Wheeler cousins, we have the exact same Wheeler line through our pioneer ancestor Mary Ann (Wheeler) Luce! Wow. I love finding that.

7/15/2013 at 12:56 PM

Aw, I'm jealous! I don't have any relatives that close that are active participants on Geni.

Justin Swanström, Geni reports that you're my 14th cousin once removed through Isabel Girlington ( Isabel Kelke ).

Jean Hageman, Geni reports that you're my 15th cousin thrice removed - apparently through Thomas Morgan of Pencoed ( Sir Thomas Morgan of Pencoed ) and Jane Herbert ( Jane Morgan ). However, I question some of the connections in my supposed lineage to them.

7/15/2013 at 12:57 PM

I feel stupid. When did Geni links start sporting the names of their profiles?

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