Longest Line

+3 votes
180 views
So I'm trying to be active through posting more on the forums and decided to ask a question about lineage.

This website doesn't allow people before 0 CE because of record keeping. So my question is. What is the farthest back we can go? Even if it is uncertain.
in The Tree House by James Goding G2G Crew (760 points)
recategorized by James Goding

4 Answers

+6 votes
If you add sources, you can keep adding ancestors, but chances are you will find that many people that are Pre-1500 have been added to wikitree, but many could be improved with sourcing.
by Linda Peterson G2G6 Pilot (530k points)
What is considered to be "reliable sources" Wills, land title transfers, church registers, those would be contemporary proofs, issued at the time (then), but what else? What would still be around and accessible from 8 CBE? or 15 CBE ?
Unless you're a very experienced medieval genealogist (and can read Latin), you're going to be limited to reliable secondary sources that cite primary documents.

Pre-1500 Resource Page has reliable sources for Pre-1500. There is a similar page for Pre-1700.

+6 votes
If you're talking about European ancestry, there are no reliable sources for any connections earlier than the Merovingian kings, who reigned from the fifth century CE. The bad news is, there are very few reliable sources for those guys, and very, very few have any sources at all. The good news is that everyone living today with European ancestry has these kings in their direct line; proving that is quite another matter, however.
by Stu Bloom G2G6 Mach 7 (74.6k points)

WikiTree has descents from a man called Mundzuk Bendeguz https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Bendeguz-1 who was apparently born in exactly 434, though no location is offered. His profile is part of the EuroAristo Project, which has not so far provided any sources.

 

+2 votes
I could imagine that some Roman Empire branches, or Ancient Egyptian (think: pyramides) are rather established enough to be added to Wikitree. Hooking them up is another thing though...
by Michel Vorenhout G2G6 Pilot (223k points)
+4 votes
Some general thoughts on long ancestral lines. One is the old saying that "a chain is no stronger than its weakest link" - meaning that one undocumented relationship will break the entire line.

Secondly, errors are cumulative, in the sense that the longer a line gets, the greater the possibility of eg. one unfaithful wife. In twenty generations' time, that probability may approach 1.

Third: even in a perfectly documented line, how many genes do you share with an ancestor 20 generations back? Answer: about 1 millionth.

And last but not least: You can't always take medieval sources at face value. The author may have had his own axe to grind, eg. forging a relationship in order to get hold of some land. This is really an area for experts.

Personally, I feel that deep genealogy before year 1600 mostly is futile. I find it far more rewarding to make sense of original documents from the 17th and 18th centuries. Going back 400 years or 12 generations, you've got potentially 4,096 ancestors. Good luck in trying to find them all.
by Leif Biberg Kristensen G2G6 Pilot (113k points)

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