Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2002-01 > 1010744922

From: (Andy)
Subject: Re: Overall Reliability of Medieval Lineages
Date: 11 Jan 2002 02:28:42 -0800
References: <>, <>

(Brad Verity) wrote in message news:<>...

> Well, who is "most people"? Americans? British? Nigerians?
> Mongolians?

Most people, including those populations. Pretty much anyone without a
solid link to the particular person (for the sake of this discussion,
say a European royal) in the last 250 years or so -- anything prior is
going to be suspect due to the high number of generations/genetic
transmissions (again, both parents per generation) that would have to
have occurred JUST SO in order for the lineage to be perfectly

> Most Americans can reliably trace back to at least their immigrant ancestors, > as the records are fairly numerous and catalogued.

Well, who are "most Americans"? Most Americans like myself (caucasian
mutts whose ancestors have been festering here long enough not to know
of any immigrant origins) are going to have a lot of difficulty going
back much further than, say, 1820-1850 using primary sources. Why's
this? Because Americans didn't even start keeping any official records
(birth, marriage, death) until the beginning of this last century.
Some colonial states have incomplete records for earlier periods, but
what good are those if you can't connect the people in those records
to the people who lived during the periods in which there were no
records to identify their origins? I don't consider secondary sources
(family genealogies, LDS records, census records in which
relationships can only be inferred/guessed) to be very reliable ways
to construct a genealogy -- yet these are the "sources" that most
American genealogists rely upon. And, these "sources" are the
foundation on which many of this group (again, most American
genealogists) link back to their medieval ancestors.

>I assume you mean illegitimacy - given the thousands of ancestors
each living >person has, it's safe to assume we all have an
illegitimate line or two.

It's a lot higher than that. According to one study, over 10% of
children born today are secretly illegitimate (and this was based only
on exclusion by blood types, so I imagine that DNA tests would raise
that number even higher). If you apply this figure to a thirty
generation lineage (say, to Edward III of England), where at least (on
average) 50% of the line carriers are male, there is a 100% chance
that at least ONE of those line carriers did not actually father one
of the children -- and this would invalidate the entire lineage.

> An attempt to document all of the descendants of Henry VII was made in
> the early 20th century by the Marquis de Ruvigny in his PLANTAGENET
> ROLL OF THE BLOOD ROYAL series. As I recall, not every line could be
> brought forward, but what it showed is that almost all of the
> descendants of Mary (Tudor), Duchess of Suffolk, were in the 19th
> century British aristocracy.

"Almost all" of his descendants means nothing if there were lines that
couldn't be "brought forward."

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