Certification of Genealogy research

Genealogy has published standards of proof. You can find them on the Internet at the site of the Board for Certification of Genealogy and at the site for the National Genealogical Society. Without going into the nuances of these standards, the short of it is that once you reach a point where it is impossible to independently verity the records at hand, that is pretty much where genealogy ends and mythology begins. When there are no original records to support the conclusions reached then the conclusions are not sustainable.

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In days past - and perhaps even today - people placed great significance on being able to say they are descendants of Charlemagne (circa 1000 in Europe). When you look at the pedigree of an individual in a society such as this you will see it is full of first names and missing spouses (both husbands and wives) and devoid of any source citations beyond the work of some other person or group. In short, the proof is lacking.

The irony, however, is that if you look at the problem strictly in terms of mathematical probabilities, it can easily be demonstrated that any person with any Northern European ancestry is almost certainly a descendant of Charlemagne - not only that, but is likely a descendant of his through several of his many wives! This is true because when you go back 30 or 40 generations, the number of "slots" in a pedigree chart at the earliest generation is far greater than the number of people in the population available to fill those slots!

When I ponder "descendants of Charlemagne" my personal belief is that no one can really definitively establish - in terms of generally accepted genealogical standards - such a pedigree. This is true even though it is a mathematical certainty that the person is, indeed, descended from Charlemagne.

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Posted in Photograph Post Date 07/06/2017


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