@Kerry Trent Mitchell
I agree with you. This Geni site is not a serious genealogical site. It is only usable for hints and pointers and a lot of fun. Professional genealogists you will never find here. I believe the owners of the site don't want a quality site, they want a quantity site and that is why they are pennywise and poundfoolish ! There is a easy possibility to make the site perfect, but I fear that the owners not even want to know how that can !
are YOU serious? One moment you're demanding free access to other people's work and the next you re saying this site isn't serious? For someone who doesn't take this site seriously you putting in a LOT of effort.
There are actually plenty of professional genealogists who are active in the site. Geni is actively seeking to improve data quality all of the time. As someone who's been here for three years, I can say they are doing so very successfully. So hang around for a while. Geni is going places.
I think many of the people on geni are serious about their tree and other's trees but at the same time I also agree that geni is best used as another tool in research. It does give you a lot of hints as does other sites but it's facts are not always written in stone ,which is true of other sites as well as books and records. Just because geni says it so doesn't mean you or anyone else shouldn't check out all options. Never know what you'll find. Geni is also good for another reason. We all get to interact with other people who are interested in genealogy. I do some professional Genealogist that wouldn't tough any web site with a ten foot pole. They still say the old fashion way is the best way and many feel the only way. I don't using web sites to get clues and to see if others are on the same tract as me or I with them. But you might be wise not to use it as your only tool.
@Shmuel-Aharon Kam (Kahn) / (שמואל אהרן קם
Hi Shmuel, I am very serious.
Indeed I do a lot of effort.
Perhaps my problem is that I am a pergectionist.
Nothing is ever perfect for me. My own work is never perfect enough.
I try the best but that will never be reached.
I started as a hobby genealogist in 1969 and now I am among others also active as an administrator for a small genealogic wiki site Rodovid. I have also experienced on WeRelate, SharedTree and Familypedia, all sites with the goal to make a big tree.
The common problems everywhere are the quality of the users and the lack of sufficient administrators.
Therefore they should need at least two databases, the original database to which everyone has free use and a controlled database administrated by administators, curators and trusted users.
It would be nice if the users who want a private tree and don't want to collaborate, should not be connected to the big tree with any of their profiles, because they block the expanding of the big tree and make duplicates which are not able to merge.
What a great discussion! - all the way from the philosophical underpinnings of historical record to those underlying Geni. Overdue time we had it. Thanks guys.
On the point of the historical validity of genealogical documentation - I'm surprised anyone even thinks the records are actually verifiable even to 1500. If political history is inevitably the record left by the winners; I’d like to hear the argument against the statement that (genealogical) history is/ has ever been necessarily more than what your peers will let you get away with saying.
The question of the status of written records as truth when it comes to ancestry runs most obviously smack into the problem of the patrilineal descent customs on which our tree is based, -despite the fact that until DNA testing it was only the mother we could be sure of with any scientific certainty. Most of our tree is based on data that depends on taking the mother’s word for the child’s paternity at face value – as though there have not always been excellent reasons for women to answer expediently! (The contradictory biblical lineages of Jesus, and Mary’s alleged assertions, being only the most obvious example of this ;->) Only the DNA tree will be able to claim scientific accuracy – and at the moment there are 7 of them, not one!
Which goes to the point of Geni’s notion of One World Tree. In another discussion thread, I was recently called to defend the validity of documentation that could be used to trace, say, Nelson Mandela’s ancestry in an African tree. Once you think about it, it quickly becomes apparent that there can be no One World tree based on post-literate sources. That tree comes together pre-history. Perhaps, the most we are creating (able to create?) here is the Post Colonial World Tree?
Hmm Erica, I wasn’t trying to be controversial, or even political – I meant the term to describe the extent of geographical dispersal of the family members on our tree, and to point to the fact that there are population groups that eluded the genetic colonisation by the West - whose historical record will probably only join in to our tree at a pre-history level. My logic could be wrong here (and my sense is that your programming brain might be able to point it out to me) in that I’m conceiving of the one tree in vertical terms with initial ‘Adam /Odin (actually Eve!)’ origins as the trunk. It’s just a thought about the logical impossibility of everyone in the world linking into Our World Tree based on recorded history, not DNA - and a concern that it suggests a blindspot on our part in assuming there can ever be only One. (a good Postmodern point about multiplicity)
OK that's a slight exaggeration as I do think my grandfather made it through grade 8 (age 14 or so in the US). But his father did not, he was needed on the farm.
Of course there is far more to genealogy than the written record and the documentation, just as there is more to it than the genetics. If the oral accounts are not given genealogical validity what does that mean, that societies without written language didn't exist?
We are very much in agreement. I just like throwing the word post modern at lit people.
For even more fun -- semiotics.
In Response to Sharon Lee Doubell's point,
"On the point of the historical validity of genealogical documentation - I'm surprised anyone even thinks the records are actually verifiable even to 1500. If political history is inevitably the record left by the winners; I’d like to hear the argument against the statement that (genealogical) history is/ has ever been necessarily more than what your peers will let you get away with saying. " I would have to make the point as well that it really depends on what your Ancestors want to have known, I have spent many hours running down irregularities and verbal history in my family only to come to one dead end after another. It was only after a trip to Germany, that I got "the other side of the storey" and made progress. The truth was about 1/2 way between. :). as I expected but in my mind, needed to prove. It all boils down to the fact that we have human traits, with human responses.
I think your argument has merit. Unfortunately, many people wish to glorify themselves by claiming what they feel is a superior lineage. This just muddys the water for all of us who want to know the simple truth.
As for me, I couldn't care less about my link to the pilgrims (a batch of misguided misfits) or royalty (inbred bastards). No, my secret desire is to find an axe murderer or pirate in my family's history. That would be truly much more interesting for me. But no matter how much I may want to link myself to certain historical figures (Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden), I absolutely refuse to fudge the records or fabricate any profiles to suit my silly whims. I will just be happy with whatever truths I can uncover, and content in the knowlege that my heritage does not define me.
I agree with you totally,,, I do care if the reasons for my ancestors immigrating to North America were for reasons that were not particularly upstanding, but I am not going to hide the facts. That they immigrated here is all that matters to me, and I feel that this project that has gone on for over 15 years now, is not going to end in my lifetime, only a honest reporting of the facts is going to help the one who takes over from me. I too am only looking for the truth, what that truth is cannot and should not be shaded. It is unfortunate that even in this day when producing a family history, one gets requests from other members of the family to, "be a little more diplomatic" in presenting the facts. I really dont care who knows that I have an ancestor that 200 + years ago promptly bought a lodging near a lumber camp in Northern Ontario and promptly installed 8 working girls. I think he was a very interprising man and fullfilled a need in the community.
Hehehe, the lumber camp story is great. I wish that I could find something similar in my tree.
I did not find out that my grandmother was illegitimate until about 3 years ago. I suspect her mother was of the "enterprising" sort, but I can't say with any certainty. It seems everyone that knew wanted to hide the "shame". Finally, my mother(84) told me. She said that she just figured everyone who would care was already dead so it didn't matter anymore.
In another branch, my great-grandfather was 22 when he married my great-grandmother who had just turned 14. Today, such an event would likely land him in jail, but alas, nearly 130 years ago this kind of thing was more common place. Anyway, they went on to have 4 kids and were quite happy until she died unexpectedly at 29 and he was so heartbroken that he never remarried.
I have also found 1st cousins getting married, but that is nothing scandalous giving the era, even though they were not part of a royal family.
Finally, I have a great-great grandfather that was in the state prison during the 1880 census, but as yet, I have no idea what crime he commited.
So far, my pilgrim ancestors are the closest I have found to "scoundrels". The more I learn about them, the more I realize there was a very good reason they were not welcome in Europe.
I am holding out hope that an exceptionally shocking revelation will be revealed soon, and then I will have a great story to pass on to my kids.
ALFRED & KERRY, On the subject of notorious criminals on your tree - I challenge you to find a 'worse' criminal relative than Daisy de Melker:
South Africa's First Female Serial Killer, and second white woman to be hanged - in 1932. All her children & all her numerous husbands died (except the last one - to whom I am related). She poisoned them with arsenic!
You will see I've spent loving attention gleefully adding all the gory details to her profile ;->
ERICA - 'In the beginning was the Word' - today it may be named Semiotics; once it was called 'God' ;-> (who deputised Adam to start naming things)
Pre-history? - 50 thousand years ago when some humans left Africa to colonise the world. Surely there must be whole population groups in Africa, China, N America, Australia - whose historical lineages haven't intersected with our tree since then. After all, not everyone must automatically have been queueing up to mate with our 'noble' ancestors & their increased propensity for skin cancer ? ;->
'Pre-literacy?' - All of those irritating ancestors of mine who couldn't even be bothered to leave some documentation about who their parents were!!!
(I've also seen pre-literate teenagers in high school classes who apparantly exist completely outside history ;-> They would argue that Touch Screen Avatars are still a language, though ;-)
What a fascinating discussion! Sharon, as to your post-Colonial Tree Theory and your followup observation that "I’m conceiving of the one tree in vertical terms with initial ‘Adam /Odin (actually Eve!)’ origins as the trunk. It’s just a thought about the logical impossibility of everyone in the world linking into Our World Tree based on recorded history, not DNA - and a concern that it suggests a blindspot on our part in assuming there can ever be only One. (a good Postmodern point about multiplicity)"...
Actually, I don't conceptualize the Big Tree on Geni as a tree with a single trunk , but rather as a mass of interconnected and intertwined vines reaching back into (and getting murkier as they go into) an unknowable very distant past. The potential global interconnectedness for me is not about us all springing from one set of ancestors as in the JudeoChristian tradition, but about the postmodern, globalized, interconnectedness NOW that links us all even if we do not share a single ancestral past. We are linked through modern transcontinental and cross-cultural marriages and mergers in all kinds of ways.
Saying that, I am astounded daily, as I work on Geni, to discover just how many of us in the European diaspora *are* indeed connected. It seems that I am somewhere between a 9th and 25th cousin with almost everyone I come into contact with regarding Geni--well, at least 75-80%, which is a pretty high number. It makes me realize what an incredibly interconnected gene pool that body of medieval nobility and royalty that so deeply intermarried between the 10th-16th centuries engendered.
When I started on Geni, I only had two or three ancestral lines that "broke through" into the medieval period, for which records are only available for the affluent and powerful. I presumed all my other family lines were just peasants, since most of my American ancestors, I thought, were just farmers (post-peasants?).
But since I've been on Geni those loose ends at the top of my tree keep getting connected, and I'm finding more and more that my 18th and 19th century sharecropper and tenant farmer ancestors here in the American South often had seemingly illustrious ancestors a few centuries back, and now I cannot count the number of lines that stretch back into the middle ages.
Of course I realize that at any time any of those lines is likely to change, given the transitional nature of our Geni enterprise at the moment. But even then, I do trust that most of it is likely to be fairly accurate, and getting moreso every day as we document more and more.
I can't wait until we have mapping super impositions to track population movements over time genealogically.
I suspect such a map would show pockets deep in the past that are quite well documented, even by current Western standards ... and then centuries of dark spots (they didn't call it the Dark Ages for no reason).
The oral traditions would in fact be quite accurate, they just would be hard to tie into historical time because of Einsteinian dating concepts. But we don't need DNA for that (although that would be fantastic to have and feed in, and it's just a matter or time before Geni figures that one out, too); we just need archeology interfaces to feed in their data. And historians to upload theirs. Etc.
So who has contacts with:
- The Human Genome Mapping Project
- NatGeo's population migration DNA Project (Dr Spencer Wells)
Actually maybe someone can help me draft a letter to Dr Wells team, I believe he's in NYC and teaches at Columbia.
Erica ... I agree that all of that would make it much easier, especially when you start researching "ancient" history. However one of the problems I am running into right now is placing/tracing my ancestors migrations across Europe, I can find suffient documentation back to the late 1500's (family bibles ect) and while these records can be difficult to decipher, it is the place names that I find most difficult, occassionally I run into a town or city that has not changed its name but more than likely in Europa, Germany, Prussia and the Baltic states, the place names have been changed. This combined with the many different spellings of place names of the time, make it most difficult to map any sort of migration. To date I cannot find a good cross reference and have yet to find a good overlay map of the area with the historical place names. This I think would be a boon for those of us that are still stuck in the 1500 - 1900's :).
If anyone has a link to such a map or cross reference, could you please let me know.
Ok everyone! This is all so fascinating! I would love to trace back further in my tree but it's really slow going as I'm not really sure where to find info... The few people in my family that I have access to who might be able to give me a starting point are really old and forgetful or else they've died. I know only of family names and go back about 150 years on my father's side (not so far on mother's) but I have no idea how to go further on this track. My dad's is easier as long as I follow father... father.... father but when it comes to the female side I lose my way because of course women changed their name. I don't know where to find books or records that might list these names... as for family bibles I wouldn't know where to find them or who in the family might have one. I was born in the U.S. and raised in Canada and have visited Hungary once for 1 week in my mid-20s . My mother mentioned a couple of years ago that her family mix is Hungarian, Croation, German and a few others. My dad's I know is a mix of Hungarian, Austrian & Polish for sure and maybe further back something else. My parents escaped from Hungary in 1944 after the war and went to Belgium, then to South America, and ended up in Canada. Can anyone give me some pointers on where else I might search?
I feel the pain. I am lucky to have my father as the English side and a solidish Anglo American tree to work with. To my amazement after a few months of working through the American side, once I hit the event "immigration from England from HERE and this person" (in other words, the Geni big tree) ... the world opened up, and next thing I knew ... John of Gaunt! And most of it, as a generalization of course, more or less accurate. (Holding nose while saying that :>.)
Now that I've sort of gotten a handle on my trees in England and Scotland, and / or more to the point, gotten some cousins in my generation on the issue as well, we're looking at the Jewish European trees from my mother's side.
I *thought* we'd get no where new, but by thinking geographically we are at least learning some new lessons about the Austro Hungarian empire and possible migration routes.
I think at some point you need to generalize and *not* be specific in order to get clues. People didn't move for no reason or a personal reason, they interacted with history.
Now I would have thought -- oh forget it, there are no records in Ukraine! -- but that is not actually true. They are as avidly interested in accurate history in Lviv as we are here in NYC.
One of our current missions (obsessions -- this is genealogy and that tends to bring out the OCD in people) is to build out our global connections, and across multiple languages. Luckily we can give as good as we get, as those currently located in Europe can be as interested in connecting with their families in Australia, Canada, USA, and South America as we are in getting decent translating help from Hungarian. :) :)
"Einsteinian dating concepts".. I am confused. What do you mean?
I have degrees in physics and engineering and well, have never heard that term. Are you talking about Radiocarbon dating? The accuracy of such dating is not very good. and it will only verify oral traditions on a large scale. For example, carbon dating of remains of fresh water mollusks found in the remains of man-made structure 100 meters off the coast of the Black Sea dates to 7500BCE or 9600 years ago.
But this date is in doubt. It could be as earlier as 5600BCE.
We will only be able to go as far back as reliable records exist for any genealogy tree. For vast number people of European descent, the best you can hope for is in the 1500s and, even that is doubtful. The scant amount of records have been lost as a consequence of wars, national disasters, improper storage ect...
DNA will give us (and,by the way, the work is in its infancy), trends of migrations but NOT the details. Tracing back to a mythical Adam is impossible, from a scientific viewpoint. We may be able,one day , to trace back to several "root" mitochondrial Eve populations but that's about it.
Eve, do you know where your parents lived in Hungary? The LDS (Mormons) have a great collection of records, BUT, your parents were probably born after1900. Hungary has, I believe, a 100 year rule; you can only get records on people 100 years ago or longer. However, since you're related (or if your mother is still living), she can can request her own birth records.
As for the old records - if you know the village or city where they lived, visit a local LDS Family History Center. They microfilmed church records from all over Hungary, but I think it also depends on just what part of Hungary you need to look in. The last time we were there, no Romanian records had been filmed, for instance. I don't know about Croatian, Yugoslavian or Ukrainian, or Czechoslovakian records either. Parts of those countries were all part of Hungary before 1922. Even a portion of Poland, too, I think, was part of Hungary.
But if your parents were Hungarian speaking, they probably came from what is Hungary now. Although, there are still Hungarian speaking communities in what was Yugoslavia (now Serbia), and probably in some of the other countries as well. Hope that's not too confusing.
I was able to go back to the late 1700s for my family with the LDS records and the records I ordered myself from Hungary. The Mormons sometimes only copied the most recent (i.e. up to 1898 or so) set of records from churches; after that civil records were instituted. You'd have to contact the church or county seat to see if they have even earlier records. There used to be a company who did research all over Hungary, I don't remember their name now, but googling Hungarian Genealogical Research should bring something up if they're still in business. They're the ones who acquired copies of the earlier records from my grandparents' village for me. Good luck!
Here's a site with quite a few links; sorry to say, I don't recognize the company I used as being there. http://www.genealogylinks.net/europe/hungary/
Eve, here's another website for Hungarian research. I don't think these are the people I used, but some of the site content looks familiar to me:
LOL, can we at least TRY and keep this discussion on topic? In any case it would be better to post those last two links here: http://www.geni.com/discussions/80238
Look what i'm going to say now is my choice in saying everyone has the right to think for themselves.... The bible is an historical book about one family the blood line of adam all the way to Jesus if you read the bible you will see it is a book of one royal family through the ages, it gives the fathers and sons of the line from adam to Jesus yet no family line is mentioned of Cain- so this can presume that allot of people can be on the line from Cain as no one will know cause its not recorded. any one that thinks adam and eve were the first people on earth should take the book and read it again it clearly states in genesis in 7 days when god created everything adam was not included yet he had already created man in the 7 days only after he rested on the 7th day he created adam to name all that was created there for adam is not nearly the first human on earth if you doubt what I say then read the bible genises1 verse 26-31 adam was made in Genises 2 verse 7 .So it is possible not everyone is related to Adam and Eve but to someone entirely different.