This last Madness Monday posting will take a few comments to get through. I was partly chagrined by the posting itself and then further dismayed that two of the most influential genealogical bloggers responded to it with comments I also disagreed with. So, much to discuss. The first thing is: if you don't know your history, look it up before you post. In today's world, wikipedia is but key strokes away. I always use it to verify dates. I'm not saying you should take its word on historical interpretation, but for dates, it's pretty doggone reliable. So this sentence:
It's not that hard to find this in wikipedia:
Marriage was outlawed by the Catholic Church (name later given to the group called the CHURCH) some time in the late 17th or 18th century. That time line not critical to comment but I am aware that in days of old, (500 years ago +) the clergy were married more often than not.
The First Lateran Council (1123), a General Council, adopted the following canons: Canon 3: We absolutely forbid priests, deacons, and subdeacons to associate with concubines and women, or to live with women other than such as the Nicene Council (canon 3) for reasons of necessity permitted, namely, the mother, sister, or aunt, or any such person concerning whom no suspicion could arise. Canon 21: We absolutely forbid priests, deacons, subdeacons, and monks to have concubines or to contract marriage. We decree in accordance with the definitions of the sacred canons, that marriages already contracted by such persons must be dissolved, and that the persons be condemned to do penance.So, we've gotten that factual error out of the way. I'm not sure even what the clergy marrying has to do with ancient pedigrees in the first place. This is part and parcel of the great American tradition which is the non-religious education of our population. I've always been amazed at how many people can quote the Bible, but have no knowledge of its history or even the two original languages from which it comes. [In my home I have the Bible in ancient Hebrew [O.T.] and ancient Greek [N.T.]].
All of this seems to be a prelude to the salient question of the poster: can you trust ancient lines? I call them ancient lines because she notes lines going back to Abraham. If you've done genealogy for a while you'll see lines going back to the ancient world in various forms, either to King David, Adam & Eve, Alexander the Great, etc. The answer is a resounding no, but not for the reasons you may be thinking. In all ancient pedigrees there is one or more trouble generations that connect a perfectly reasonable medieval ancestry into those ancient pedigrees, which may also be reasonable. It's the connection that is either flawed (i.e. erroneous) or unproven. The biggest example is Zaida. She is one of the wives/concubines of King Alfonso VI of Castile (ca. 1040-1109), and most people of western European extraction with any provable medieval royal or noble lines descend from him. The problem is (and always has been) that we can't prove which of his children were by which of his wives. Some people have cast that problem aside because Zaida is a likely descendant of the prophet Muhammad. It is also through her (and a few others) that one can make an assertion of a descent from Cleopatra.
So, why did such big time bloggers like Myrtle and Footnote Maven, punt?