Connecting a Fraudster

+16 votes
The "Priory of Sion" fraud/hoax was based on a series of forged documents that pretended to connect the Frankish Merovingian kings to Jesus and Mary Magdalene.  The last of the Merovingian line, it turns out, was alive and well (at the time) and ready to claim the throne of Europe.  The forged documents became the basis for, or tied in, other legends, affecting the Knights Templar and a chapel in Scotland.  BBC was taken in and did a TV series treating some of the material as true.  Dan Brown did the most to popularize the fraud with his novel "The DaVinci Code."

Fraudulent genealogy gets woven in to real genealogy and causes real genealogists hours of headaches sorting out the bad from the good.  So if there are enemies of good genealogy, one of them is certainly Pierre Plantard, who instigated the Priory of Sion fraud.  

Pierre Plantard has a wikipedia page describing his career.  I thought someone so destructive to genealogy should have a profile on WikiTree and created one.  He is dead now, so his profile is public.  And while Wikipedia lists what his parents did, it doesn't say who they were.

Recent French genealogy is not my forte, so this is a call for researchers of contemporary French genealogy to find a way to connect fraudster Pierre to the global family tree!
WikiTree profile: Pierre Plantard
in Genealogy Help by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (299k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Recommend that you add a tag for the Priory of Sion Forgery.
So I get confused between categories, templates, stickers and other WikiTree inventions.  What do you mean by a tag?
I guess this would be a G2G followed tag. The keywords printed in white on green labels (a bit difficult to read, especially if your eyes are getting tired). There's a maximum number though and I'm not sure how many that is, plus I'm not sure many people have a priory_of_sion followed tag.

Perhaps mentioning the Priory of Sion in the title of the post and adding frauds or disproven_existence in "Surnames and project tags" box would help cover more ground?
I've added information on his first wife.
With the death details you provided I should be able to pull her death record.
Yes, the G2G tag - if the post is tagged with the Sion Fraud, when others search for that fraud it will show this post.  Additionally, when others look at posts with sion_fraud, others with the same tag will appear at the bottom of the post.  Much like when we see that so and so is a great Wikitreer - you see all of the other posts wherein they are a great Wikitreer and also posts about them, say, they reached Astronaut status.  Whether or not the G2G tags aid in Google searches, I'm not sure but I'd bet they do.

but it's such a good story!  wink

5 Answers

+12 votes
Best answer

Unfortunately since he was born after 1912, his birth record is not available online.

Here is the best-documented of his Geneanet profiles, with parents (but no proof that they are the correct parents at this point). If they are the correct parents, it is possible to reconstitute their ancestry.

The Geneanet contributor who made the profile says he's focussing on people connected to the Rennes-le-Château stories, so his pages may contain a few nuggets for you, Jack.

by Isabelle Martin G2G6 Pilot (319k points)
selected by Deb Durham
And the marriage record of the parents (Pierre Plantard and Amélie Raulo) states that the husband was a "valet" which appears to fit. They were also married in the same arrondissement (7th) where Pierre Athanase Marie Plantard was born. I ordered a copy of the birth record anyway.
The photocopy of the birth act has arrived, provided by the Mairie de Paris (quite an authentic document for a fraudster!).

Pierre Athanase Marie was born on March 18, 1920, 2 am, at his parents' home, 35 rue de Lille in Paris. His parents were Pierre Plantard, 42, valet de chambre, and Amélie Raulo, 36, no profession. (follow the witnesses' names).

Additional information in the margin:

Married Anne Léa Hisler at Paris, 7th arrondissement, on December 6, 1945.

Married a second time at Paris (16th arrondissement), March 18, 1972.

I'm not allowed to upload a scan since I would need special permission from the Archives de Paris for that (this is stamped in red on the document).

We have the information on his first wife from her death act. This information matches the Geneanet profile mentioned above.

(Edited to remove name of the second Mme Plantard, who is likely living).
+9 votes
Don't get me started...   he has members of my family in his list.  I have spent years saying it was a huge hoax...   sigh....
by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (577k points)
+2 votes
Totally in agreement about drawing attention to genealogical fraudsters-Plantard is certainly one of the most infamous in recent memory.  I haven't checked yet, but now I will, to see if there's a WikiTree page for Gustave Anjou yet.  He really did a number on several of my ancestors.  Such a headache.
by K. Anonymous G2G6 Mach 9 (91.7k points)

Here is Gustav Anjou's WikiTree profile.

Thanks!  I was spelling his name wrong.  Hope he doesn't turn out to be a relative of mine.
0 votes
I'm wondering if we should create [[Category:Genealogical Fraudsters]] or something like that, and use it to mark the profiles of people who are known to have produced fraudulent genealogies. Then, link it upwards (possibly through a more general [[Category:Fraudsters]] to [[Category:Black Sheep]].
by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (302k points)
We already have categories for the frauds they perpetrated; surely no need to 'honour' the fraudster.
Their name appears in the category named after the frauds they perpetrate.  So I think we already have them nailed!
I wasn't thinking so much in terms of honouring them. Or shaming them, for that matter. I was thinking more in terms of having a single handy list of genealogical fraudsters, so if somebody comes across a genealogy book, they can compare it to the list, and have a quick way of determining whether the book they've found is likely to be fraudulent or not. (And, yes, they could do the same thing by checking each of the categories for the frauds they perpetrated, but, especially as that list gets longer, that's getting to be too much like work.)

That's a great idea and it sounds to me more suitable as a Free-Space Profile linked to an existing category, rather than creating another category.

It would be linked to this category:

Frauds and Fabrications

The category itself can only link to material that is already on WikiTree, and should only have enough text on it to tell people what the category is about.  But the free-space profile you create and link to the category can list all the fraudsters you come across, link to their Wikipedia profiles, etc.  The sky is the limit -- go for it!

You have to be sceptical of all the books.  Fraud in genealogy isn't an isolated phenomenon, it's endemic.  People have always lied about their ancestry.

In England, just about all the peerage and baronetage books, county histories, Visitation books and other pedigree collections published before about 1890 contain pedigrees that were consciously falsified at some point.  You can't put all the compilers of the books on the fraudster list.  Not can you assume that if the editor is reputable the pedigrees must be sound.  He didn't research them all personally in primary sources, he got them second-hand.

In America, Albert Welles wrote 150 years ago that 98% of early immigrants were of unknown origin.  But thousands of family histories followed a genre convention of kicking off with a romantic back-story for the immigrant.  The writers seem to have assumed that the convention was understood in the genealogy trade.  Nowadays, people do genealogy without learning about genealogy, but they defraud themselves.

Inaccurate genealogies are not necessarily the work of conscious fraudsters. In some cases it's nothing more than sloppy work. The genealogist just wanted to tie all the loose ends together and ended up making incorrect assumptions. One good example is Nicolas Viton de Saint-Allais, perhaps not a fraudster (though he comes pretty close by some accounts), but someone whose works should go in the Unreliable Sources list (it's well explained in his French biography; unfortunately the reservations on his genealogy work did not make it to the English wikipedia page).

+1 vote
Umberto Eco wrote a satirical novel "Foucault's Pendulum" which touched upon the Holy Blood, Holy Grail story as well as every other conspiracy theory, cult, etc.
by Mark Burch G2G6 Mach 7 (72.1k points)

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