Sunday, May 12, 2013

I Have My Family Tree Back to Adam and Eve

I wish I had a nickel for every time I have heard this one - "I Have My Family Tree Back to Adam and Eve"  In January on the FamilySearch Blog with have this from Nathan W. Murphy:

"Warning. Contains spoilers. Have you ever heard these words uttered “I Have My Family Tree Back to Adam and Eve”? When asked if it is possible for living people to extend ancestral lines back to Adam and Eve, Robert C. Gunderson, Senior Royalty Research Specialist, of the Church Genealogical Department, stated:
“The simplest answer is No. Let me explain. In thirty-five years of genealogical research, I have yet to see a pedigree back to Adam that can be documented. By assignment, I have reviewed hundreds of pedigrees over the years. I have not found one where each connection on the pedigree can be justified by evidence from contemporary documents. In my opinion it is not even possible to verify historically a connected European pedigree earlier than the time of the Merovingian Kings (c. a.d. 450–a.d. 752).
“Every pedigree I have seen which attempts to bridge the gap between that time and the biblical pedigree appears to be based on questionable tradition, or at worst, plain fabrication. Generally these pedigrees offer no evidence as to the origin of the information, or they cite a vague source.”
And then there is this from Nathan in Part Deux:

"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."

I think it is time to put this myth to bed. I totally agree with Nathan after my 35 + years of genealogy research that no one and I mean no one has a verifiable tree back to Adam and Eve!