Genealogy Wise

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From time to time, I encounter individuals who have huge family files comprising tens of thousands of names. These people, who I will call name collectors, seem intent on compiling the largest collection of names possible. Usually, they have absolutely no idea who any of the people actually are, but they take pride in the huge number of individuals. Name collectors are neither genealogists nor family historians. With today's technology and a few GEDCOM files anyone can have a huge collection of names. Often, these collections date back well into the Middle Ages and beyond. It is not unusual for someone to claim their genealogy goes all the way back to Adam.
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Comment by Richard Dahlqvist on September 16, 2009 at 11:52am
You are one of those pretentious genealogists who vehemently abhor "name collectors" as you call them!

Who are you to judge whether they should be allowed to call themselves genealogists or not?

Tracing the roots of ones family, and therefor collecting names, is NOT one of the seven deadly sins.

Sure I agree with you that people who connect themselves through bad research, even false research, to someone famous or important without proper or valid documentation of the sources is not benefical to the genealogy movement.

But neither are you if you look down, with disdain, on people who trace their lineage without finding out every single little fact there is to know about the persons they research.

Not all of us have the intention of writing a history book on every person in their ancestry.
But yet we are genealogists. No matter what you self-proclaimed experts say.

I am glad to call myself a "name collector" in the sense that I am tracing my lineage, collecting their names, dates, places and any other pertinent information that pops up.
And should I find the time and will to do more in-depth analysis of the persons or the time they live in, so be it!

I am however not chasing famous names. I don't care whether or not I am in any way, shape or form related to that king or that actor or that, to all americans important, famous founding father.

By setting out to prove your greatness by connceting yourself to important persons could lead you to the path of vanity.

And I am sure that this is what you, the author of this blog, are saying. However, I see no distinction between these vain researchers of me in this blog!

Lastly, I do apologize for any grammatical errors that might found in my reply.
English is not my first language.
Comment by Unknown Ancestor on September 15, 2009 at 12:21pm
Well said, and needed here some some on GenyWise. I have published and lectured extensively on this issue. My plea to have GW not purchase a collection of family crests was met with some protest. I wish FamilyLink would separate GW and WorldHistory into pre- and post-1500 sections.

I'm aware that the LDS Church has issued statements saying it is impossible for anyone to trace their lineage to Adam (using the Bible, folklore, epic sagas, royal lines or whatever). We will never know, for example, who Charlemagne fathered with his wives or mistresses. And Priam of Troy et al.

Jen, in 30 years I have never had the LDS libraries or services charge me a fee. Where are you stuck? Try our group on Serious Queries.
Comment by jennifer suzanne dawson on September 14, 2009 at 8:50pm
Hello James and other Genealogy lovers.I agree with your idea of names .V .facts. I need to find my Fathers CARTER family and its driving me mad. People give me dates but on following up I find dead ends . In summing this up I have only 3 names in my Paternel Familt Tree. I cannot spend money on sites , even the Mormons charge. There maybe relatives out there I will never know. Jennifer.
Comment by Kate Steere on September 14, 2009 at 11:58am
Hi-

I have spent three years working on the various lines of my family, including my FIL's lines, and I will never have thousands of people on my tree, even if I get 'back to Adam'. My intent is to try to give my children and their grandparents and great grandparents a better idea of their family, and to know where they come from. By working painstakingly to 'prove' who the family is, I want them to understand how important their own history is, not worry whose tree is bigger than theirs, LOL. :)
Comment by William S Dean on September 14, 2009 at 10:01am
Among the old Californio families as well as among the various "clan families" of the UK and religious groups such as the early Quakers among others, the term "cousin" is used quite inclusively, going through numerous generations, inter-marriages, and extending perhaps to six or more degrees of relationship. "Collecting names" is just the first step toward a thorough genealogical record in these instances, I think. Then begins the more laborious procedure of placing them in historical context, checking documentation, and so forth. I believe this also reflects a more modern approach to genealogical studies as opposed to the older style in which, for example, some people only traced back "one name" or only included the male individuals and called that their "lineage." Often, at least in my case, these various "cousins research" have shed a lot of historical light by association that otherwise would have been ignored or left out because the direct linear approach was the norm. As with most things, the modern genealogist thinks (and researches) "outside the box".
Comment by patsy adkins on September 13, 2009 at 8:50pm
When i see that people have gone back that far. Im like show me your document's please. I think that your GED COM File should include your family. That would be Aunts and Uncles and who they married. Not everybody else who isnt related to you.

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