Should we cut the Irish line to Adam & Eve?

Started by Justin Swanström (taking a break) on Monday, February 18, 2013


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2/18/2013 at 7:42 PM

One of the debates on Geni is about whether we should include lines that not everyone is able accept. One example of this debate is the line from Adam and Eve to the present day.

Most people in Western Europe with a royal connection have a line running back through the ancient Irish kings to Adam and Eve.

According to the Bible, one of Noah's grandsons was Magog .. Biblical scholars generally believe that Magog was intended to be the ancestor of the Scythians, north of the Black Sea. Two of Magog's son were named in the 16th century Book of Jasher: Elichanaf . and Lubal ..

Irish legend gives Magog another four sons: Bathath Farssaidh, king of Scythia, Faithechta, Jobbath, and Emoth. According to the 11th century Lebor Gabála Érenn (Book of the Invasions of Ireland) and the 17th century Annals of the Four Masters, these sons were the ancestors of the Irish kings.

These lines from the Irish kings back to Adam and Eve entered the genealogical mainstream in the works of John O'Hart (1824-1902). They now appear in thousands of Internet genealogies.

The Irish lines create a problem. Users who link to Adam and Eve through these lines generally have about 70 or 80 generations, but the Biblical Tree Project estimates the correct number to be about 150 generations.

In other words, the Irish lines are far too short. This isn't a problem with Geni; it's a problem with the sources.

As a collaborative community, we have two options:

1. We could leave the lines intact, and live with the result. If Geni shows only 70 or 80 generations back to Adam and Eve, then that's what the sources show, so no problem.

2. Or, we could cut the connections between Magog and his four sons who lead to Ireland. In the About for the sons we could put links to Magog, so people who are interested in this line of descent could find it easily. This is what we've done in many other cases where there is a strong dispute about the reliability of the source. The net effect would be that many people would lose their line to Adam and Eve.

What do you think?

2/18/2013 at 8:43 PM

Cut with pointing link in the over view and also the curstor note. The "150 generation" calculation helps with keeping the tree "plumb" (if not straight).

2/19/2013 at 1:09 AM

Let me make sure I'm understanding you correctly, Justin Swanström (taking a break) : You propose cutting the line to a mythical persona on the principle that it is more mythical than another mythical line??

2/19/2013 at 1:11 AM

As to plum trees :-) @Erica, is your point that all gods on the tree must be equally aged??

2/19/2013 at 1:12 AM

Or that there can be only one - and he is not a Highlander? :-)

2/19/2013 at 7:03 AM

Discussion began on --- God Almighty is my 83rd great grandfathers! Who was keeping those logs of name?

2/19/2013 at 7:50 AM

Haha, Sharon. A nice way of presenting that point of view ;)

Actually, I think the argument would go something like this: the two "myths" belong to different cultures. They should not be presented as part of an organic whole.

We see this all over western Europe. When the pagan kings converted to Christianity they adopted the new and modern ideas that went with it. Cutting edge thinking, for that day. The kings used to be descended from their gods, but the new science said everyone was descended from Adam. So, they also had to be descended from Adam. It was a matter of prestige. They couldn't be just descendants of an anonymous line. So, the monks did the "research" and discovered (invented) a line for the king back to Adam.

If you'll excuse the pun, I'm an "agnostic" on these old lines. To me it seems self-evident that people in every culture will trace their ancestry to the people and gods in their foundation stories. The Jews to Abraham, the Scandinavians to Odin, the Greeks to Zeus, etc.

It doesn't bother me to see ancient lines eventually reach the period of mythology. In fact, I think that's exactly what we should expect to see if we care about history.

But, these old lines bother a lot of other people.

I'm not advocating anything. Cut this line, or don't cut it. It's all the same to me. What I hope to do here is show that there are two clear options. No matter which option we choose, some people will be unhappy. And that's why we need to open it for discussion rather.

2/19/2013 at 10:21 AM

"..... To me it seems self-evident that people in every culture will trace their ancestry to the people and gods in their foundation stories. The Jews to Abraham, the Scandinavians to Odin, the Greeks to Zeus, etc."

That's pretty much my understanding as well, and the difficulty being the common "Adam."

As a Geni user I find the medieval shortcuts confusing for my own tree. If I see 150 generations to Adam, for instance, I can easily enough find the basis for that calculation; I may not believe it, but I follow the case made.

Not so much for the other pedigrees I'm afraid, and that's why I'm arguing for the "cut and link" approach.

2/19/2013 at 10:40 AM

Justin, it's always worth commenting on your posts, just in order to get you to tell me the historical story line. I just love these potted histories of yours. thank you.

in this case, I'm only pointing out that we must know what logical principles operate behind the decision to cut a line, so that we know what precedent we are setting up to operate in the future.

=the two "myths" belong to different cultures. They should not be presented as part of an organic whole.=
Perhaps, but by cutting this line, we establish ourselves as the arbitrators of which culture can legitimately assimilate another's myths.

If our best reason for doing it =is a strong dispute about the reliability of the source= we will definitely be called upon to apply that same standard to both the lines back to god / adam

and, if whatever objective principle we use to denigrate the sources of the one, will also undermine the sources of the other, what are our unbiased grounds for cutting off only one of them?

Since we know for a fact that Homo sapiens 'Eve' actually appeared about 5,300 generations ago, making a judgement call on the margin of error between 150 generations and 80 generations is patently illogical, in my opinion.

Like you, I really enjoy that we can trace our oral genealogies all the way back into the mists of myth.
Arbitrating amongst mythologies on scientific grounds, seems to me to be a fool's game.

2/19/2013 at 10:44 AM

Erica, we cross posted, sorry.

= I may not believe it, but I follow the case made.= how does this NOT apply to both options?

2/19/2013 at 11:11 AM

No, it doesn't for me.

Don't get hung up on "Adam" - for me that's a "marker.".

The case made through Exilarch's etc. Is logical and on going. I can accept it or not but it IS actively worked on by scholars I respect.

"Irish Kings" (and other medieval / Victorian pedigrees) do not fall in that category.

Geni does not currently support "alternate paths" and I can also tell you that is server intensive and computationally expensive programming. So from a "shared tree" perspective - where we like to see our relationships even in the deep past - we do need to make some choices.

As an "agnostic" the longest lines possible sit the best. :). 79 steps - I lose respect for the platform, I don't even want to look at it. 150 steps - and I follow the argument - I can live with it.

I think I'm being a typical person here?

2/19/2013 at 11:17 AM

Sharon you are also losing a core point I think.

The medieval pedigrees are an integration of cultures into a judeo Christian "world view."

With the exception of neo Pagans etc, that world view still shapes Western European history, and that's where we descend. When I study 17th century history I need to understand THEIR view to build my tree better. I do not need to worry about the Mabinogion - that's nice to visit, but not relevant to my tree particularly.

But the 150 gens from "Adam" is.

2/19/2013 at 11:17 AM

My own line to God used to show as the one through one of the Persian princesses in the Babylonian exile. I liked that one far better than the present 'Highlander' short cut, and I agree that it can almost certainly show older source documentation than the 'Highlander' one. (Even if the motives of the Judaic documenting genealogists were exactly the same as the 16th century Irish monks - establishing legitimacy for power.)

But my 'Babylonian' path is most likely to still be there, and the real problem is that Geni only shows the shortest path it can find.
But is this a good enough reason to cut it?

2/19/2013 at 11:17 AM

cross posting again - wait, i will read your reply

2/19/2013 at 11:22 AM

By the way - I would like to consider myself a historical relativist. But I am also a product of time and place and particular cultural artifacts, the biblical one being a huge one.

2/19/2013 at 11:23 AM

Sharon you'd have to post profile links for me to even begin to have an opinion. :). I really do not go into the "deep past" except under duress. :):)

2/19/2013 at 11:27 AM

Okay, you make good points; I agree with you
=I think I'm being a typical person here?= Obviously you are, from my perspective, because I really miss being my Babylonian granny line.

But what of the perspective of the users whose ONLY line back to God goes through the Irish / Victorian lines? (sidepoint - Do you think there are any?)
We're cutting their line back to God, just so that we can see the one of ours that we prefer.

2/19/2013 at 11:28 AM

I meant 'seeing' my Babylonian granny, not 'being' her!

Private User
2/19/2013 at 11:36 AM

I too enjoy reading this discussion. Thank you, Justin.

I hope that we can set a precedent of some sort. I can see that eventually I'll have to deal with similar issues in my part of the tree.

So, more particular to this case, I'm in favor of cutting the Irish line. I do think 80 generations is too wrong. That only gets us back to Confucius, and there's 50 more generations to go to get to the founding myths of China.

The second reason that I think we should cut it is that there is a clear place to cut it. I can imagine for many lines, there's no good place to cut. (Of the 50 generations from Confucius up, I would be hard pressed to find one to cut.)

2/19/2013 at 11:37 AM

That's why there is this discussion - to see if anyone objects to the proposal.

2/19/2013 at 11:46 AM

True, and if there are no objections from users, then I have been convinced to agree with you and 刘杳 Liu Yao - Justin has pin pointed a good spot at which to prune.

2/19/2013 at 12:02 PM

Cut the links.

2/19/2013 at 2:48 PM

Sharon wrote: "If our best reason for doing it =is a strong dispute about the reliability of the source= we will definitely be called upon to apply that same standard to both the lines back to god / adam".

Oh, yes please, me want this, hungry for this, in fact starving and close to dying....

Justin wrote: "To me it seems self-evident that people in every culture will trace their ancestry to the people and gods in their foundation stories. The Jews to Abraham, the Scandinavians to Odin, the Greeks to Zeus, etc."

Come on cut them all, oh pretty please, oughaeouehh (quoting the tasmanian devil....)

The only way to make all these genealogies correct is to have Connor, Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez and his likes present. If not these persons are present, then it's a kind of magic. And that is as far from my sourcebased genealogical research as it can get.

Cut them all!!!

2/19/2013 at 6:12 PM

as a basis of inter-faith and with due respect to all beliefs ... we should avoid in being too Christian and Jewish here at then this shall free us from further problems and crisis ... if the Hindu are too serious in believing at the Vishnu ... so let it be.... and the Irish descents deserve also the respect for their true lineage without shortcuts ....

2/22/2013 at 5:10 PM

Sentiment seems to be running in favor of cutting the connection. We're going into the weekend, so let's give it another day or two and see what other opinions we get.

2/22/2013 at 6:37 PM


2/22/2013 at 9:23 PM

Whew! You scared me, Jason. I thought for a second you were saying you had cut it. In that split second, my mind was racing trying to find a nice way to tell you we need to wait just a little longer.

I should have known to trust you!

2/23/2013 at 7:53 AM

I am for Cutting the links - with a Note in the About or Curator comment - where the Cut was made, with links to the 2-3 Discusson threads on the topic.

Justin Swanström (taking a break)
I think that cutting this particular line is OK, because pretty much everybody realizes it is WAY too short. BUT...

1) I would DUPLICATE the profile for Magog, and explain in BOTH profiles in BOTH the Curator's Note and the "About Me" WHY this was cut and link to the other profile. Doing it that way, makes it much easier to find the relevant profiles in search results.

2) Be prepared to cut these links again and again, as new people add duplicates of these lines...

3) Make both "end" profiles Master-Profiles and LOCK them tight.

if you do a search for these other religions you speak of, they ARE already present to varying degree in the most ancient tree.

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