“I Have My Family Tree Back to Adam and Eve” Part 2

May 8, 2013  - by 

Several readers posted questions after my initial post “I Have My Family Tree Back to Adam and Eve” in which Robert C. Gunderson, Senior Royalty Research Specialist, writing in 1984, had stated that it is not possible for someone alive today to document a pedigree back to Adam and Eve. Readers asked (1) has additional research conducted since 1984 improved the situation, and (2) isn’t it possible for European royalty to trace their lineage back to Biblical genealogies? François Weil provides authoritative answers to these questions in his new book Family Trees: A History of Genealogy in America (2013) published by Harvard University Press.

Weil, Chancellor of the Universities of Paris, states:

Genealogy was originally the prerogative of kings and princes. The oldest surviving royal genealogies in Europe go back to the sixth century A.D. for Gothic sovereigns, to the seventh century for their Irish, Lombardic, Visigothic, and Frankish counterparts, and to the eighth and ninth centuries for Anglo-Saxon and Carolingian kings. (pp. 10-11)

Thus Weil and Gunderson agree – European royal pedigrees cannot be verified before the 500s A.D.

If family tree databases, such as FamilySearch FamilyTree suggest otherwise, I would encourage you to correct the information and ask contributors for their sources.

To learn more, read:

Family Trees: A History of Genealogy in America. By François Weil. Published by Harvard University Press, Online bookstore; 2013. ISBN 9780674045835. 320 pp. Indexes. Hardcover. $27.95 • £20.95 • €25.20.

 

Nathan Murphy

Nathan W. Murphy, MA, AG is a United States and Canada Research Consultant at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. He specializes in Southern United States and English family trees.

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