Post by email@example.com Post by Peter Stewart Post by Paulo Ricardo Canedo Post by joseph cook Post by Paulo Ricardo Canedo
Thing is, even the generally skeptical Stewart Baldwin accepts discontinuous descents. Indeed, he prefers it to conjecturing exact descent.
This is misleading, and easily misinterpreted. While I have no objection to conjectures in principle, provided that the uncertainties are adequately stated (often not the case), I have little taste for strings of conjectures that have been made solely for the purpose of filling in the "generations" between one person and an alleged ancestor. Temporarily making such conjectures may sometimes be convenient at an intermediate stage of the research in order to decide where to look next, but they need to be abandoned if supporting evidence is not found. Far too often, such conjectures take on a life of their own, and this can often happen when the goal becomes to find a line of descent between X and Y without first having any clear evidence that such a descent exists.
Post by Peter Stewart Post by Paulo Ricardo Canedo Post by joseph cook
I think it is wise not to speak for people who are present here and can ably speak for themselves. However, nobody "prefers" "discontinuous descents", whatever that phrase is supposed to mean. It absolutely does not fall under the category of "Genealogy" however.
I would have to disagree. To take a simple case, someone might name a person as their grandson in their last will and testament. If the identity of the intervening generation cannot be established by other evidence, then you have an example of a what I have called a "discontinuous" genealogical relationship.
This is not a discontinuous relationship at all, but just one with a
name (and possibly also that continuously-related personage's gender)
missing. By a discontinuous line I mean one where not even the number of
generations within a gap, much less the exact connections with or
without names, can be established.
Post by firstname.lastname@example.org
Another example, with a possibly uncertain number of generations, can come from knowing that someone was the legal heir of a certain individual. To mention another possibility that has recently become available, Y-DNA tests can be used to prove that individuals descend from the same direct male line. While such tests do not usually prove that one individual was a descendant of another, it is sometimes that case that a direct descent can be proven by Y-DNA evidence. This is another case that definitely falls into the category of genealogy. (Of course, attempts to fill in the missing generations with undocumented conjectures is not genealogy in any serious scholarly sense.)
This is not genealogy but genetics - the studies have distinct names
because they are different disciplines.
Post by email@example.com Post by Peter Stewart Post by Paulo Ricardo Canedo Post by joseph cook
If your statement is meant simply to say someone prefers not making up facts from no evidence.... I think we are all in agreement on that. It is in no case a counter-argument to Peter's point.
We are all descended from fish. While this is interesting from a scientific perspective, it is not genealogy. And I would argue investigating how we are descended from fish is *far* more interesting than knowing vaguely, that maybe, there is an Achaemenid ancestor in our tree.
I meant that, in this kind of cases, Stewart Baldwin is willing to accept that X was probably descended from Y but not conjecture an exact line of descent.
I agree with Joe's well-made points.
Like everyone else living today, I am descended from countless people
who lived in antiquity; but I can't identify any one of them or trace
any line to that time which is even nearly continuous - and I don't care
a fig. It would provide nothing but a momentary vainglorious buzz if I
could, and it would provide nothing at all but a worthless curiosity to
I'm not sure that you should be speaking for others with regard to how much interest they might have in such a long descent.
Obviously I'm not purporting to speak for anyone else - I didn't say
that others would regard it as a worthless curiosity but just expressed
MY OWN view that it would be one.
Post by firstname.lastname@example.org
Trying to find a long ancestry has been a major motivating factor to many genealogists, and this is not changed by the fact that so many of them do poor research.
Trying to find cold fusion has been a major motivating factor for some
physicists. Where did it get them?
Post by email@example.com Post by Peter Stewart
The point of medieval genealogy is to substantiate as full a picture as
practicable through interpretation of documents or failing that through
deduction from circumstantial evidence.
Pre-supposing a result and then jamming odd jigsaw pieces together in
order to achieve a distorted semblance of that imagined picture is not
at all the same pursuit. I still do not understand why some people
expend time and effort on this kind of futile chase after will-o-the-wisps.
I agree with much of this, but I would not apply the term "will-o-the-wisps" to all DFA research. For example, as I stated in an earlier posting, a reasonably good (but not certain) case can be made that the nineteenth century Bagratid king of Georgia were descended from the Arsacids, by a "discontinuous" descent that ran through the Mamikonids and Gregorids. The fact that an approximate route can be specified for this descent makes this a reasonably good candidate for a "discontinuous DFA." This example needs to be distinguished from the attempts to link this line to the medieval European nobility through the Byzantines, which are largely guesswork, or the even more questionable attempts to link back to the Achaemenids or further.
A discontinuous descent to modern Bagratids (despite making little or no
allowance for our ignorance of adoption practices to ensure succession
at times within the vast span of the putative lineage - as, say, with
Rajput ruling families in India) is not exactly what I would classify as
substantial genealogy rather than an exercise in wish-fulfillment.