How does this site regard biblical genealogy?

+11 votes
The patrilineal geneaology of Jesus (yes THAT Jesus) is well known. Why can't I find it on here? Is it not allowed? or has nobody added it yet?


in Policy and Style by Aaron Gullison G2G6 Mach 5 (52.9k points)
How is a family tree from the Bible any more valid than a family tree from Ancestry?  If one isn't a source neither is the other.
There are lots of people who never have/had children, but they still have a place on the tree. They may not be someone's parent, but they are someone's child, sibling, cousin, etc. :-)
I understood that no dates earlier than 1000 were acceptable because they cannot be reliably verified.

I understand that some folks believe, but that is belief, not proven fact.

If we allow this, we open the floodgates to all and anything folk may claim to believe, but are we not trying to compile a factual record ? People get so agitated if one does not show sources or bios, so how can we support something that is based upon mere belief ?
Plenty of reputable historians accept Jesus as a historical figure, there would be supportive literature useable as sources, no primary sources, though, but that would apply to many medieval profiles also. But see Erin's comment below for reasons it would not be feasible to create such a profile.
I would have to question if those ''reputable historians'' based their opinions upon their belief system, or upon hard, verifiable, facts.

I could claim that I truly believed my ancestors originated from Mars, and if one's beliefs are permitted, I would be right to enter that on my tree.

As to medieval profiles, many early Parish Registers still exist, and they were written at the time in question, by people who probably knew the individuals first hand, so it is reasonable to accept them.

Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed historically,[f] and historians consider the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke) to be the best sources for investigating the historical Jesus.[18][19][20][21] Most scholars agree that Jesus was a Galilean, Jewish rabbi[22] who preached his message orally,[23] was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.[24] In the current mainstream view, Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher and the founder of a restoration movement within Judaism, although some prominent scholars argue that he was not apocalyptic.[19][25]  


As to medieval profiles, a quick perusal of the sources cited on FMG (the site used as reference for AuroAristo) will show that many of these sources have been written several years to centuries after the events documented. Parish registers generally did not exist before the 16th century, certainly not when Charlemagne was born.

So, given that he was alleged to have been resurrected, what date would you ascribe to be his true death date. This sets a precident, as no other historical figure has had that claim made of them.

Parish Registers. I have an extensive collection of these in microfiche form, some dating back to the 13th century.

Speaking of Charlemagne, you are no doubt aware that he was instrumental in editing much of the biblical records, deleting that which displeased him, and adding other material.
I am not a scholar of antiquity nor am I a person basing my reading of historical studies on any particular belief system. As the quote from the Wikipedia article above and the rest of that article should make abundantly clear, what religious people believe has no bearing on whether an historical figure existed or not. Muhammad according to the belief of his followers ascended to heaven on the back of his horse. Does that make him an invention of fantasy? By the way, there are no parish registers as proof of his birth either.

6 Answers

+19 votes
Best answer
Hello Aaron,

WikiTree's cut off is at AD zero (no B.C.).

Sincerely, Peter
by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (531k points)
selected by Mags Gaulden

Jesus' birth was after AD 1 (it has to be), so that means his name can be added in, right? 

The general consensus among historians is that Jesus was born BC:

  • 7 or 6 BC Meier, John P. (1991). A Marginal Jew: The roots of the problem and the person. Yale University Press. p. 407
  • about 4 BC Rahner, Karl (2004). Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi. Continuum
  • about 4 BC Sanders, Ed P. (1993). The Historical Figure of Jesus. Allen Lane Penguin Press
  • 3 or 2 BC Finegan, Jack (1998). Handbook of Biblical Chronology, rev. ed. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 319

Bibliography from

The problem I see here is that BC means Before Christ. He can't have been born before he was born, that makes no sense. Therefore he should be recorded as being born in either Year 0 or Year 1.(IMO)

It would be more accurate to say that WikiTree's policy excludes profiles for people born before 0 BCE (Before the Common Era, or Before the Christian Era). As Helmut pointed out above, there is really no scholarly consensus on which year Jesus was born BCE.

Another issue with adding Jesus to the big WikiTree tree is that there is also no consensus if he was married or had descendants. So, if we can't add his ancestors and we aren't sure about his descendants, poor Yeshua ben Yusuf's profile would be floating around by itself. We can't even connect him to his siblings since we can't add their parents. So, while he's definitely one of the most culturally significant people to have ever lived, we can't be sure how genealogically significant he is (in the context of a tree composed of people born after 0 BCE).
That actually makes a lot of sense. Too bad there isn't a separate site for people born before the cutoff.
If you can find reliable sources for people born before 0 BCE you should start one.
Very well put indeed Erin.  Mags
+3 votes

Here are some other religious icons/leaders that are not on WikiTree yet:  Born c. 563 BCE or c. 480 BCE

And here's one that is on WikiTree:  

by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (536k points)
The Prophet Muhammad is at

I believe there are a number of notable families in the Middle East which include him in their ancestry.
Just looking at Brigham Young's profile, looks like he had many children but hardly any grandchildren.  is that right?  how come no descendants are showing there?
+4 votes
Nice discussion everyone. I've enjoyed reading it.
by Sabrina Combs G2G6 Mach 1 (18.9k points)
+4 votes
Please do not enter any Pre-700 family trees without SOURCES for their existence. It's impossible to tie these archaic trees into contemporary genealogy.

We have been earmarking many very early Greek, Roman and other profiles onward to Wikipedia.
by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (813k points)
edited by Maggie N.
+5 votes
A Point of Information: There was no year zero. The year 1 BC was followed by the year 1 AD. Although this is mathematically awkward, the creators of this numbering system used Roman numerals which lack both the symbol and concept of zero. In the 5th century AD, the monk Dionysius Exiguus, with the objective of eliminating calendar references to pagan Roman emperors, declared that Jesus was born in the year 1 AD (he was probably off by a few years) but did not concern himself with years or events preceding it. His calendar lacked a "BC" era. This wasn't a significant problem because Dionysius's system was little used until another monk, the Venerable Bede, added "BC" numbering 200 years later. Again, because of the lack of a zero, he started his numbering with 1 BC. Under Charlemagne the system became widely used throughout Europe. It should be pointed out that most events occurring before about 700 AD were not recorded with this system and the dates we now attribute to earlier events were calculated in later times by converting dates from earlier reckoning systems. This adds another possible source of inaccuracy for dates in this era.
by R. Hutchins G2G6 Mach 1 (15.1k points)
+2 votes
The simplest answer to the question is that WikiTree does not accomodate dates before the year 1.  Even though the objective of putting together a tree together that includes every living human is itself a virtually impossible dream, virtually no human alive today can trace their ancestry back, with reliable documentation, that far.  

Having such a cut off is beneficial to WikiTree because we avoid having to address number of interesting but contentious topics, including,

* the added mechanical wrinkle of addressing dates which get larger as they go backward -- dates which would not have been recognized by the people to whom they refer

*dealing with the anomaly that, given the historical references in Jesus' birth stories, historians identify the date of Jesus' birth as about 4 BC.

* referring to dates as AD/BC ("Anno Domini/the Year of our Lord" and "Before Christ", which are essentially expressions of faith), vs. CE/BCE ("Common Era" and "Before the Common Era" which are today's preferred secular references to dates).

* debating whether Matthew or Luke has the more authoritative ancestor list for Jesus, since they are different.

Fortunately, there are are surely plenty of other forums in which these fascinating discussions can take place!
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (344k points)

Related questions

+3 votes
1 answer
105 views asked Nov 29, 2016 in Genealogy Help by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (760k points)
0 votes
2 answers
+1 vote
3 answers
236 views asked Apr 24, 2019 in WikiTree Help by Kendra Kurz G2G4 (4.3k points)
+9 votes
1 answer
216 views asked Apr 27, 2018 in The Tree House by Graeme Olney G2G6 Mach 6 (65.1k points)
+3 votes
2 answers
+6 votes
3 answers
+8 votes
2 answers
+3 votes
0 answers
29 views asked Apr 24, 2017 in The Tree House by Gerald Baraboo G2G6 Pilot (949k points)
+6 votes
2 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright