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Sorry, but family history really is bunk
The Spectator ^ | 30th April 2008 | Leo McKinstry

Posted on 05/08/2008 3:18:15 PM PDT by forkinsocket

Leo McKinstry says the current craze for genealogy reflects an unhealthy combination of snobbery and inverse snobbery, and is a poor replacement for national history

When I visited the National Archives at Kew last week the place was full of them, scurrying about with their plastic wallets in hand, a look of eager concentration on their faces. It was impossible to escape their busy presence as they whispered noisily to relatives or whooped over the discovery of some new piece of information.

These were the followers of one of Britain’s fastest-growing craze, the mania for researching family history. Studying bloodlines and tracing ancestral roots was once the preserve of the aristocracy. Today, as I saw at the National Archives, it has become a favourite activity of the British public. We are becoming a nation of obsessive genealogists. According to a recent study by the polling organisation YouGov, 28 per cent of British people have tried at some stage to trace their family tree, and 10 per cent of the population are currently doing so. It is said that genealogy websites are the most commonly visited on the internet after pornography. The website Genes Reunited, which claims to be ‘the UK’s number one family tree and genealogy site’, boasts that it has no fewer than eight million members. Another major web company, Find My Past, says that it has a registered usership of 1.32 million people and a mailing list of almost 600,000.

Ten years ago, there was just one mainstream genealogy magazine. Now there are seven. Another indicator of this fixation with family history is the phenomenal success of the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are?, whose weekly episodes feature different celebrities tracing their roots.

(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: america; ancestors; carolina; colony; confederatedemocrats; dna; family; genealogy; geneology; godsgravesglyphs; guncontrol; history; ireland; scotland; uk
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To: HungarianGypsy
I found info on the web which said I was descended from Chaucer. When I find info like that, I do more research. Sure enough, I found another site which said he did not have any descendants after the 1500’s. So, I did more research and found out they only counted descendants from sons and not daughters. The daughter, gd, or whoever it was, was my ancestor. So, if you find info like this, just do more research. Another site said my ancestor was the Empress of Russia so I did more research and can not disprove it. So, who knows. My late husband always told me that if I went back far enough, I would be related to just about anyone! Guess he was right.
81 posted on 05/08/2008 4:41:21 PM PDT by MamaB
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To: HungarianGypsy
The Phoenician Connection

Charlemagne And Thomas Jefferson

82 posted on 05/08/2008 4:48:50 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam
Famous DNA

Ancient DNA

83 posted on 05/08/2008 4:51:10 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: x

bump


84 posted on 05/08/2008 4:51:49 PM PDT by Centurion2000 (Party ahead of principles; eventually you'll be selling out anything to anyone for the right price.)
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To: SoldierDad

My cousins in law did their geneology, and found they were second cousins once removed. Didn’t even know it, either.


85 posted on 05/08/2008 5:15:24 PM PDT by tbw2 ("Sirat: Through the Fires of Hell" by Tamara Wilhite - on amazon.com)
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To: dighton

Yup. I checked and there he is. But I was happy to go back further.


86 posted on 05/08/2008 5:19:42 PM PDT by Mercat (the magician has lost control of the show)
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To: forkinsocket
Americans who are still studying in the National Archives are just starting their research so there is always a lot of "scurrying" among excited "new discoverers." In the D.C. area, the Library of Congress is "where it's at" with more books on your particular American family lines than you can read in a lifetime.

Since our children are getting so little knowledge of American history in our public schools beyond the fact that Thomas Jefferson may have had black children, a personal study of one's own American heritage has become the home study course for real American history. Also, knowing where one comes from gives one a better sense of where you need to go.

BTW, anyone need a LOC copy card with $20 or $30 still left on it? :) I had only the opportunity to scurry around the place for about five years when more urgent retirement plans took me out of the City of Information.

BTW, the LDS Genealogy Center at Kensington, MD is another good place to scurry about.

87 posted on 05/08/2008 5:23:18 PM PDT by Muleteam1
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To: Gondring

I use original documents when I have them and I have some great ones from my grandmother’s wooden file drawer but when I don’t, I do use internet sources but I note that I do. Its fun and harmless. If someday someone takes it as gospel, oh well. My grandmother’s cousin wrote a book about one of my family names and now she is famous in the geneology world as a true source. I knew her as crazy cousin Tenny. I have identified one name which she mispelled and that mispelling made a huge difference. But God bless her she had fun and she did have a lot of good original sources.


88 posted on 05/08/2008 5:29:28 PM PDT by Mercat (the magician has lost control of the show)
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To: passionfruit

Exactly. McKinstry is full of used food.


89 posted on 05/08/2008 5:31:19 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Who Would Montgomery Brewster Choose?)
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To: Mercat
When I find census info, I always say which year, state, County, etc. I did not do that when I first started out so I have info from many sources which I do not remember. If I find some info on GenForum, I note the message number and the surname where I found it. It really helps.

Let me tell you about something I discovered just a few weeks ago. I was looking to see if a certain site had the death notice of my brother and the first one had my other brother's name at the top of the page. I saw the name and thought that it was funny that someone had his exact name which is unusual. I got to reading it and it was my live brother. It should have had my mother's name instead.

90 posted on 05/08/2008 5:34:13 PM PDT by MamaB
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To: muawiyah

I couldn’t find any African ancestry much to my children’s disappointment but they were happy that I did find two Indians, one a Cherokee woman named Rachel and another simply called, Eastern Chesapeake woman. I also have an endentured slave, refugees from the potato famine, a sheriff in Sherman TX at the time Jesse James was hiding out there, a ship boy who got stranded in NJ in the 17th century at age 10, several Revolutionary War heros including two who are women, a great grandfather who fought at Cedar Creek - actually, he started out with a Confederate militia and was captured at Shiloh, was paroled to his brother and father on condition he would join the Union Army. He did. Fathered 14 children, his wife died in child birth, he raised only one while fostering the others. That one was my grandfather. I have three rocks next to my computer. One is from the tumbled down chimney of a log house my gggrandfather built in Kentucky, another is from the cemetary of my sixth great grandma who was a Revolutionary War hero, and the other from the battle field of Cedar Creek.
And finally, I’m descended from a man who’s half sister and her husband openned the first brothel on Manhattan Island. She is the sixth great grandmother of Theodore Roosevelt. Beat that!


91 posted on 05/08/2008 5:49:04 PM PDT by Mercat (the magician has lost control of the show)
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To: forkinsocket

Leo McKinstry says the current craze for genealogy reflects an unhealthy combination of snobbery and inverse snobbery, and is a poor replacement for national history
~snip~

Soooo..does Mr. McKinstry assume that history was made by..uhhmmm.. some things other than people who are made from other people and these are what we call “families”?

Anyone who has taken the time and gotten interested in their geneaology has learned more about history than they would otherwise.

Honestly- these intellectuals carry it too far.


92 posted on 05/08/2008 5:58:30 PM PDT by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: blam

Geez. Sounds like the author just found out who his real father is.


93 posted on 05/08/2008 6:03:33 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_______________________Profile updated Monday, April 28, 2008)
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To: muawiyah

Oh I see, you are one of those people that think the civil war was about freeing slaves...say no more.


94 posted on 05/08/2008 6:05:59 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?)
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To: SunkenCiv
You can't blame him, he's british. The English have a long history of using bloodlines to oppress eachother. If we had that history in america, we'd have similar attitudes about genealogy too.
95 posted on 05/08/2008 6:09:06 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?)
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To: mamelukesabre
In the time of president lincoln, the democrats were the conservatives not the republicans. The republicans were the “tax and spend big government” party. So your boast of ancestors voting republican since the party’s inception is silly.

Silly, silly me. I forgot that anyone that felt that the Dred Scott decision in 1857 was UNCONSTITUTIONAL and political pandering was a liberal and not a conservative. After all the Democrats thought the humanity of a certain color was not really humanity, but merely a piece of property. As you inferred, it was the other party which put property before humanity and was naturally more fiscally conservative in the matters of big government. Well, I could care less what you label them, but God Almighty and history will say they were on the right side for opposing an EVIL Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision and the Roe v Wade decision because this Constitution will eventually be shown to have no more tolerance for infanticide than it had for slavery.

96 posted on 05/08/2008 6:22:51 PM PDT by Biblebelter (If the big blue states got to choose the Republican nominee, I say let them elect him in the fall)
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To: MamaB

What is NA?


97 posted on 05/08/2008 6:28:36 PM PDT by lonestar
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To: lonestar
Native American. Sorry that I did not just spell it out. I am so use to just abbreviating it.
98 posted on 05/08/2008 6:35:44 PM PDT by MamaB
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To: HungarianGypsy

My children are in a direct line to Charlemagne on their father’s side.


99 posted on 05/08/2008 6:39:23 PM PDT by LucyT
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To: LucyT

So...your children’s last names are MAGNUSSEN or something like that? Because if they are a direct line paternally, they should in theory have the same last name as Carolus Magnus...assuming no one in their family tree changed their name.

Or maybe not. I don’t really know where or when it became customary for children to inherit their fathers’ last names.


100 posted on 05/08/2008 6:48:39 PM PDT by mamelukesabre (Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?)
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