APG-L Archives

Archiver > APG > 2003-11 > 1069015860

Subject: [APG] Genealogical Theory
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2003 15:51:00 EST

Jeff Birdsley <> wrote:

<< The biological subdiscipline concerned with genealogy is called
'phylogenetics'. Phylogeneticists produce trees depicting genetic
relationships, usually of species, but sometimes of individuals. >>

Michael Hammer, whose biotechnology laboratory at the University of Arizona
does the DNA tests for Family Tree DNA, equates phylogenetics with genealogy in
a recent review article co-authored with Stephen L Zegura, both associated
with the university's Department of Anthropology. (Hammer 2002, at p. 306)

Commenting on the school of phylogenetic systematics known as cladistics
(Hennig 1966), they wrote:

"In actual practicve, cladists classify by inferred branching patterns. They
attempt to recover phylogenetic (genealogical) relationships among groups of
organisms and produce classifications that exactly reflect genealogical
relationships (Wiley 1981). Thus, the processes of phylogenetic (historical)
reconstruction and classification are not separated."

Publications cited:

Hammer MF, Zegura SL. 2002. The Human Y Chromosome Haplogroup Tree:
Nomenclature and Phylogeography of Its Major Divisions. Annual Review of Anthropology

Hennig W. 1966. Phylogenetic Systematics. Urbana: Univ. Illinois. 263 pp.

Wiley EO. 1981. Phylogenetics. New York: Wiley. 439 pp.

It seems today as if the theoretical underpinnings of genealogy will be found
not only in history, paleography and diplomatics, where its classical roots
lay, but also in such diverse disciplines as anthropology, molecular biology or
cellular biochemistry, and information theory, to say nothing of psychology
and sociology (social communications) or philosophy (logic).

Regarding citations of published works: the more we come to depend on science
for our underpinnings, the more appropriate that we use the scientific
citation style--the parentheses-enclosed surname of the lead author and publication
date, with a bibliography of works cited at the end--rather than the
less-informative humanities style of numeral references to foot or end notes. We will
still need numbered notes to identify and describe sources from among the many
different types of original documents we rely upon. However, for published
works, it is the reputation of the principal researcher and the timeliness of
the research that gives weight to a cited assertion, rather than a description
of the nature and provenance of its source.

Donn Devine, CG, CGI
Coordinator, Devine Surname DNA Study
Wilmington, Delaware, USA

Surname Study Web site:

CG, Certified Genealogist, CGI, and Certified Genealogical Instructor are
service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license
by board certificants after periodic evaluation, and the board name is
registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

This thread: