Genealogy – What Is That?
In my meager understanding, genealogy is the study of the history of a family – yours or mine, for example. It has become a science for a number of reasons over the years.
One is to be able to decide how to divide up an inheritance, particularly when there is a large family and the person who is leaving (or has left) the inheritance has not left any particular instructions.
Another was to decide the voting rights (the old “grandfather” clause in the USA) – in the South after the Civil war, you could vote if your grandfather (I suspect paternal, but I’m not sure) had voted. Naturally, none of the blacks who had recently been slaves could point to a grandfather who had voted, ensuring the whites that they would always be able to eliminate the blacks as a force in the elections (these provisions were subsequently removed from the regulations, as you can imagine).
It has been also very important in determining the accession to the throne in countries that have Kings and Queens. Particularly when something unexpected happened to the expected future king or queen.
In any case, there are many people who are fascinated with the story of their heritage, and genealogy has become a very popular occupation (not so much for money as for consuming time).
Wikipedia defines genealogy this way:
Genealogy (from Greek: γενεά, genea, “generation”; and λόγος, logos, “knowledge”) is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members. The results are often displayed in charts or written as narratives.
The pursuit of family history tends to be shaped by several motivations, including the desire to carve out a place for one’s family in the larger historical picture, a sense of responsibility to preserve the past for future generations, and a sense of self-satisfaction in accurate storytelling.
Some scholars differentiate between genealogy and family history, limiting genealogy to an account of kinship, while using “family history” to denote the provision of additional details about lives and historical context.
Obviously, not exactly for the reasons I mentioned, but probably more valid ones.
In any case, while we are busy tidying up our family story, we will also give you some information about the practice and theory of genealogy in the appropriate section. We hope you enjoy this, and we welcome your comments.
- Family Tree Makers: You Want a Software Program that’s Easier than a Walk in the Park | Family Tree Software [note: this was originally advertising for a company that sells software for making family trees – as you will see – but the website is now for sale!]
- vici blog » Blog Archive » Filling in Your Blank Family Tree (Jordan McCollum)