“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.


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  1. Hallo mijn naam is Roy Huijer en vraag aan vrijwilligers hulp voor et onderzoeken naar de verre voorouders van Joannes Hendricus Huijer geboren 1794 te Amsterdam wie is er zo vriendelijk mij te helpen naar de familiegeschiedenis Huijer.
    Bestaat er ook een familiewapen van Huijer,ik heet Roy Huijer en ben geboren:18 april 1960 Brunssum Nederland.
    Ik hoop dat u zo vriendelijk wilt zijn mij te kunnen helpen naar het verre verleden van mijn voorouders .
    met vriendelijke dank :Roy Huijer.

  2. The power of words cannot be doubted and the family Surname ranks as the
    chief daily reminder of what a man or woman is, in verbal communication.

    That “Genealogy was originally the prerogative of kings and princes.” is an incorrect statement, according to Sons and Descendants: A Social History of Kin Groups and Family Names in the Early Neo-Babylonian Period. “The dissertation asserts that the use of family names among kin groups was determined primarily by descent or adoption. The appearance of identical family names at different cities was due largely to individuals relocating to new cities and not to fictitious claims of shared ancestry by different families.”

    Additionally, Milton Rubincam, editor of the revised edition of Genealogical Research: Methods & Sources, notes on page 564, that the ancient Etruscans, who inhabited north central Italy from the 8th century B.C., were the first Europeans to introduce surnames. The conquering Romans derived the idea of surname identification from the Etruscans. They developed a sophisticated system of nomenclature of three and occasionally four or more names.

    Ancestor Masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture, by Harriet I. Flower, published 1996, lists numerous extant Roman family trees and interconnects Etruscan genealogy, [with its stress on female ancestors], with the subsequent Roman traditions used in the memorialization and preservation of family genealogies.

    In 1924, during excavation on hill of Ophel, east of Jerusalem, an ostracon was discovered that mentions: Jehizkiah of the Partridge clan from the stock of Bukkiah;
    Ahijah of the Sorrel horse clan from the valley of Jeho[shaphat];
    . . . iah of the Gadfly clan from the valley of Jeho[shaphat].
    This list is a type of census record. It shows surname or clan identification
    in Israel with geographic locus, going back to the era of: Elijah the Prophet, the Tishbite of the inhabitants of Gilead.  Additional geographic locus is noted in 1 Kings 19: 16 . . . and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.

  3. Part II Continued response and review.

    Authoritative answers to these questions comes from genealogists grounded in economics. Merchant activities of the Jews, back to the time of Abraham, are noted in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Jan., 1958), pp. 28-31. In the article “Abraham and the Merchants of Ura”, author Cyrus H. Gordon mentions that for some strange reason, little if any attention has been paid to the repeated statement in Genesis that the patriarchs were in Palestine for trading. The patriarchs went abroad
    to do business, as Abraham comes from beyond the Euphrates, visits Egypt, fights with kinglets from as far off as Elam; i.e., it is clear that Abraham was a merchant prince.

    Record keeping and maintaining accounts were necessary for the establishment of trading activities. The Book of Mormon, written in reformed Egyptian, mentions that the family of Lehi and associates came from Jerusalem circa 600 B.C., taking a route near the seacoasts, down the area of the Red or Arabian Sea. This was a typical pattern of travel in this time period. Anciently, apparently there were spice routes running parallel to both sides of the Red Sea, by which way merchants brought their products to Egypt for use in the art of embalming their dead and for burning in ritual and domestic contexts. [See: Oxford Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 13, No. 2, July 1994, Incense, Camels and Collared Rim Jars: Desert Trade Routes and Maritime Outlets in the Second Millennium, pages 121-148, with the proposed incense trade routes shown in Figure 11, page 132.]. From a secular, historical standpoint, Lehi must have belonged to an elite Jewish merchant class as he had gold and silver and other precious things. He had knowledge of at least both Hebrew and Egyptian, and was familiar with all of the commercial knowledge needed for the proper transportation of goods and services.

    Additionally, it should be remembered that a whole city, at the nexus of world trade in the ancient world; namely, the City of Jerusalem, was reestablished on the keeping of proper family records and genealogies. “These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood. And the Tirshatha (or provincial governor) said unto them . . .” Further noticed in the Petition to Authorize Elephantine Temple Reconstruction, as mentioned: Darius II, Persian emperor from 425/4 to 405/4 BC, “To our lord, Bagohi, governor of Yehud,” Bagohi is one of the names in the lists of Judahites who returned from Babylon. Jews returned to the Land of Israel from Babylonian exile following the decree by Persian King Cyrus, the conqueror of the Babylonian empire in 538 BC, also known as Cyrus’s Declaration.

  4. Part III Conclusion

    Since Babylon, the Etruscan people, and the Romans were politically discontinued; historically, from an economic standpoint, the only hope of reconstituting a reasonably credible ancient pedigree, remains within the purview of the Jewish merchant class and the connective relationship it had with the city of Jerusalem,

    As noted in Ancient and Medieval Jewish History, edited by Leon A. Feldman, (1972), it cannot be denied that over the centuries, Palestine exported not only its excellent fruits, wine, and grapes but also grains. It is known that there were large imports of manufactured articles and the importation of metals was a significant part of the economy. The “Black Obelisk” of Shalmaneser III (reigned 858-824 B.C.), mentions information about Jehu, King of Israel, concerning tribute, circa 841 BCE. “The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears.” According to M. Salomon Reinach, a well-known French anthropologist, (see L’Anthropologie, Vol. X, 1899, page 397), there was in 1000 B.C.an overland trade in tin between the British Islands and Thrace, or Macedonia. Later, it can be noted that Athaliah was the daughter of (King) Ahab and [his wife Jezebel, who was the daughter of Ethbaal, King of Tyre (Phoenicia), and the sister of Baal-Eser II, a King of Tyre, who was then succeeded by his son Matgenus (Mattan I) (840-832 BC)], who was the father of Pygmalion (also known as Pu’mayyaton), king of Tyre from 831
    to 785 BC.

    Evaluating fragmentary ancient records from the standpoint of an economic genealogist, The Irish Mil genealogies are military, ship census and family data, connected by historical time period after the Battle of Carchemish, circa 605 B.C., when Tyre was forced to submit to the rule of Babylonia. The various curses placed against the sons of Mil so that they could not find Ireland again, are similar to “the curses leveled against Tyre
    should it abrogate its treaty obligations”; i.e., the early data on Ireland contacts reveal treaty and trade relationships. Just as in the triad of three Kings in Ireland, [Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht, and Mac Greine]: “May
    Baal Shamaim, Baal Malagec and Baal Saphon raise an evil wind against your ships to undo their moorings and tear out their mooring pole, may a strong wave sink them in the sea and a violent tide [rise] against you”. This curse, taken from Neo-Assyrian Treaties and Loyalty Oaths, c. 1988, [as reviewed in Tyre “In the Heart of the Seas”] shows a cultural link to Irish Texts, #394, “The druids of Ireland and the poets sang spells behind them, so that they were carried far from Ireland, and were in distress by reason of the sea.”

    Ancient Ireland was involved in trade relationships, with artifacts showing multiple extensive connections to literate Middle Eastern societies [that required written contracts], back to circa 1000 B.C. This would have required, at least a small group of literate individuals within the social elite, to create and record these transactions: to establish and maintain internal trade routes and road systems,
    as well as preserve and record the genealogies of elite family members that were involved in these exchange relationships; thus, providing exacting accountability between ship / trade contacts over time.

    Belinus the Great was a legendary king of the Britons, as recounted by Geoffrey of Monmouth. He was the son of Dunvallo Molmutius and brother of Brennius. Belinus and Brennius merged their armies into one great one and invaded Gaul. After a year of warfare, the joint army managed to submit all the Frankish kingdoms in Gaul to their authority. Now with an even greater army, Belinus lead his great army to the Italian peninsula and threatened to invade Rome. [In actual history, Rome was captured by an individual named Brennus, following the Battle of the Allia on July 18, 390 BC.] When the brother of Brennius died, (Belinus the Great), he was succeeded by his son Gurguit Barbtruc. When Gurguit Barbtruc was returning from a military voyage to Denmark, he came across a fleet of thirty ships of men and women, called Basclenses (Irish), under the leadership of Partholoim. Thus, Partholón, leader of the second group of people to settle Ireland, appears synchronic to the era of Gurguit Barbtruc, which contradicts and makes completely fictitious, all of the listed time frames: “2680 BC according to the chronology of the Annals of the Four Masters, 2061 BC according to Geoffrey Keating’s chronology, and the time of Abraham according to Irish synchronic historians.”; as so presented according to the works of one of the major figures in the development of British history.

    Comprehensive reevaluation of records
    for Family Tree Back to Adam and Eve begins therefore with reign of Zedekiah:

  5. Part IV Addendum

    American Medieval Genealogy vs Irish Genealogies;

    Publication of a National Geographic collectors edition: “Mysteries of the Maya” includes fragmentary king lists.

    I found it interesting that America now has a medieval past that can now be documented from National Geographic efforts. In particular, data comes from the online photography file.

    “A stone monument from the Maya metropolis of Tikal commemorates the arrival of Fire Is Born in A.D. 378. Its shape recalls the feather-adorned ball court markers typical of central Mexico, the homeland of Fire is Born. The writing on the shaft describes him as the envoy of a mysterious ruler named Spear-thrower Owl, represented in the medallion at the top by an owl with an atlatl, or spear-thrower. Other sources reveal that Fire Is Born installed Spear-thrower Owl’s son as the new king of Tikal.”
    . . .
    “The death mask of Pakal, the great lord of Palenque, immortalizes the vigor of his youth with 340 pieces of jade, four pieces of shell, and two pieces of obsidian, most likely arranged on a wooden backing that has since rotted away. Inscriptions record that Pakal spent eight years of his seven-decade reign preparing his lavish burial. When he died, on August 28, A.D. 683, he was laid to rest laden with jade—this mask, a large pendant, earplugs, rings, necklaces, and bracelets—beneath a temple where he would be venerated for generations to come.”
    . . .
    “One of the last great kings of Cancuén, Taj Chan Ahk, presides over a ceremony in September A.D. 795 on a recently uncovered masterpiece of Maya art. With hundreds of sites still to be investigated, many more such testaments to the glory of the Maya civilization await discovery.”
    . . .
    “Solid evidence that the end was near for the Classic Maya culture, a stone monument in Toniná was dedicated on January 18, A.D. 909—the last known date in the Long Count, a calendar system that spanned centuries. As the once great cities collapsed and the divine kings lost their power, most people probably drifted away in search of a better life, leaving no one to carve monuments—and no one to care that the recording of history had come to an end.”

    I am reminded of the cursory considerations given to ancient Irish genealogy, even though they had similar stone remains.
    Veneration of trees is validated by Ogham; referred to as the “Celtic Tree Alphabet”, based on a High Medieval Bríatharogam tradition ascribing names of trees to the individual letters. Trees provided bark for writing, other products (resin) for body preservation, tools and human comforts. Sometimes, a “biological body” genealogy appears to have been created, composed of various family relatives. Bodies were preserved using naturally occurring acids and peat bogs, not eaten; they did not devour them.

    Ogham stone writing is found, dated to circa 500 B.C. on the European continent, within the known ancient Irish trade and cultural (Gaels) framework. Gallaecia (modern Galicia and northern Portugal), had an early form of Ogham script. The ancient Irish culture is also manifest in surviving stone Ogham, with Latin comparisons, additionally showing known ancient Irish
    culture having written contact with Roman traders. All surviving evidence suggests that ancient Ireland had Ogham writing skills, used in part for cross Atlantic trading relationships, dating back to circa 500 B.C. “Evidence exists which shows that the Celtic trade with the Mediterranean world was flourishing. Their religion was druidic, centered in Brittany.” “In the 5th century BC, the La Tène culture, characterized by finely crafted jewelry, weapons and pottery, spread from eastern Gaul and by the 5th-1st centuries, this influence had spread from Hispania to the shores of the Black
    The University of Cork has preserved a special collection of Ogham writings, part of boundary marker and grave inscriptions, in Ireland, with identifiable names in “genealogical” formations. They are similar in their form and markings, to upright Ogham stones found on the European continent, in the nations of Spain and Portugal, the latter dating to 500 B.C.

    In a similar manner, ” Early records show that the Aztec city in Mexico, Tenochtitlan, they used to produce 42,000 packets of paper annually to be paid in tributes” See also:
    “For more than a millennium, the Maya had entrusted their religious and temporal well-being to their god-kings. These leaders displayed their might and majesty in lavish rituals and pageants, in opulent art and architecture, and in written records of their triumphs, inscribed on stone, murals, and ceramics.”

  6. I say it is possible to have a tree going all the back to Adam and Eve.

    I say it is impossible to get proper documentation all the back.

    I say it is super duper ultra impossible to the nth impossible degree to have a complete tree (And that is not even counting Aunts, Uncles and cousins) past your 18th great grandparents. Of which there are 1,048,576 of them. i.e. all of your ancestors listed.
    Save for adding to an accumulative effort.

    I can get about 10,000 names per year. And that is putting in between 30 to 90 hours per week.

    You have just under 1.3 nonillion 98th Great Grandparents. Obviously, many of them are going to be the same.

    You have 81,129,638,414,606,681,695,789,005,144,064 104th Great Grandparents. To double that, to get the number of your 105th Great Grandparents, you have to add it manually, because calculators do not list that many numbers. lol. Well, they reduce it to an equation that is equal.

    1. Seriously? “As the people of the Church and the world become ready to receive additional light and truth, more records will be forthcoming than what little we have. Among the records awaiting us are the plates of brass. ”

      “Lehi also discovered the genealogy of his fathers upon the brass records; he therefore knew that he was a descendant of Joseph who was sold into Egypt, through his son Manasseh (1 Nephi 5:14; Alma 10:3).” . . . “We know, therefore, that many unknown or hitherto corrupted texts of Hebrew scripture will be restored to the world in correct form. To those of us who are interested in the study of the Bible, this is a comforting and even a thrilling prospect.”

      Furthermore, “Oliver Cowdery went with the Prophet Joseph when he deposited these plates. Joseph did not translate all of the plates; there was a portion of them sealed, which you can learn from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. When Joseph got the plates, the angel instructed him to carry them back to the hill Cumorah, which he did. Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room. He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun or artificial light; but that it was just as light as day. They laid the plates on a table; it was a large table that stood in the room. Under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than probably many wagon loads; they were piled up in the corners and along the walls. The first time they went there the sword of Laban hung upon the wall; but when they went again it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates; it was unsheathed, and on it was written these words: “This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and his Christ.”4”

      I am sure that the handwritten inspired journal records of John the Revelator and the three Nephites will be a great read for all future Latter-day Saints; etc.

  7. There are some muslims who can trace there family tree back to Adam and Eve, the descendants of the islamic prophet muhammad can trace there lineage back to there forefather/prophet and from there can trace lineage back to Adam and Eve which goes through other prophets like Abraham, Noah etc. So yes it is possible.

    1. http://www.konoozalislam.com/vb/showthread.php?t=3473
      [With respect to the lineage of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh], there are three versions: The first was authenticated by biographers and genealogists and states that Muhammad’s genealogy has been traced to ‘Adnan. The second is subject to controversies and doubt, and traces his lineage beyond ‘Adnan back to Abraham. The third version, with some parts definitely incorrect, traces his lineage beyond Abraham back to Adam [AWS].
      After this rapid review, now ample details are believed to be necessary . . .] You may review related links at this
      reference: (without further comment)

  8. I think most LDS people who say their lineage is traced to Adam have not put in exhaustive research– they are repeating what their relatives have told them. Their relatives have been, very likely, imposed upon at some (perhaps distant) point in time by someone selling a beautiful chart made with calligraphy showing the purported lineages.
    I have discovered the hard way that such people are greatly insulted if I tell them it’s bogus. I now send them a link to the Robert Gunderson quotes and say that I’d like to hear their thoughts after they have read them.

    1. I think one needs to be exceeding careful in the use of the word “bogus”. The January 1991, Ensign presented the article: “Of the House of Israel”, by Daniel H. Ludlow, editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. His concluding remark was that [From what the prophets have said, then, most members of the Church come from Gentile nations, but they have some Israelite ancestors in their lineage. Therefore, they are not “assigned to” or “adopted into” the house of Israel. They are legal heirs of the covenant, and the lineage proclaimed in their patriarchal blessings identifies the blood line that ties them back to Abraham.]

      [On another occasion President Joseph Fielding Smith emphatically stated: “The great majority of those who become members of the Church are literal descendants of Abraham through Ephraim, son of Joseph.” (Improvement Era, Oct. 1923, p. 1149.)]

      Thus, most members of the Church do have given them, a “proven” lineage to Adam. There are extensive missing links. We also know that Adam lived and that Jesus was sent to save all mankind from the fall. [Seth, who was ordained by Adam at the age of sixty-nine years,. . .Because he (Seth) was a perfect man, and his likeness was the express likeness of his father, insomuch that he seemed to be like unto his father in all things, and could be distinguished from him only by his age.] Christ obtained a physical body, which He could not have done were it not for the fall of Adam. The eternal Godhood of Jesus Christ mandated His obtaining a mortal body through the loins of Adam, from His mother Mary. It is a contemptuous insult to the glory, to the honor and majesty of Jesus Christ, to suggest any lesser ancestry before the arrival of Adam and Eve on earth.

  9. We all know the bible can trace from Adam down to Jacob or Isreal
    If we can’t find the genealogical records , most likely because they didn’t survive , we can still receive our patriarchal blessings which by revelation from God we know of which house of Israel we come from. In that sense we each all may trace a path from Adam to the present day.

    Documentation on paper?
    Only as far as I’ve a copy of my blessing from God.

    I feel the greater error on the part of ,”genealogists” is that they demand the paper trail proving the connection.
    Only 11 people were blessed to SEE the plates.
    Does that make the book of Mormon any less true?
    Just because the physical evidence is no longer on this earth for “science to prove”, doesn’t mean the proof doesn’t exist.

    1. God, Omniscience of

      Genealogists will obtain their paper trail through becoming as pure and holy as God. Then they will be worthy enough to see as God sees and to know as God knows; that, by the Spirit of Elijah, they might be enabled to recover all the truth and facts concerning mankind.

      Known unto God are all his works from the beginning:

      O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it.

      But the words which are sealed he shall not deliver, neither shall he deliver the book. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth; for behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof.

      And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth.

      Now the Spirit knoweth all things; . . .

      The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes;

      but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.

      And the Lord showed Enoch all things, even unto the end of the world; and he saw the day of the righteous, the hour of their redemption, and received a fulness of joy;

      Nothing is ever lost. Jesus Christ will restore it all in due time, as we prepare
      ourselves to be worthy to receive truth.

    1. I’m going to be a little less diplomatic and state that they are more than a little delusional. The most ancient extensive written records come from the Middle East. Yet the people who claim ancestry to Adam and Eve cringe at the thought they could have anything other than pure European ancestry regardless of a complete lack of physical proof to their claims. Since Adam and Eve are said to be the father and mother of all humanity, doesn’t it stand to reason that every human being alive today is a decendant from them? Yet, a lot of prejudiced people from a certain church that I’ve come across just love to inform me I must be decended from elsewhere. Even though I CAN trace my ancestors to a specific, documented family in the Middle East.

  10. Please help if possible in find for any information-Ancestors-“;on Dirk Huijer,born,28-4-1765 in MÜNSTER West-Falia Germany.

    He maried Anna Maria Bosman in Amsterdam the Netherlands.
    Child Joannes Hendricus Huijer,born,23-11 -1794 Amsterdam.