Freitag, 18. Januar 2013

Genealogical Snobism

Last night, my dear significant other stumbled upon a genealogy thread on "pirate 4x4", which is - as I'm told - a very popular off-road site on the net. I love driving off-road (ever since I discovered it's much more fun driving yourself that sitting in the passenger's seat, screaming), but I'm not into the tech side of it, so DSO was the one who discovered this.

First, I laughed out loud. This guy posted that he had spent some years "doing some family geneology" (sure, you did!) on, with the result that he "has verified 100%" that his ancestors were in America before 1740".

Just to be on the safe side: When you don't know how to spell "genealogy" and you don't know the meaning of the word - just go with "I researched my family's roots".

Second, I seriously doubt that he actually "researched" his family. Maybe I'm prejudiced here, but many people who use phrases like this just copy someone else's tree. And we all (should) know that this practice doesn't give you a "100 % security".

(While typing this, I'm looking dreamily at my copy of "Professional Genealogy".)

Call me a snob, but I'm serious about what I'm doing.

Third, this guy sounded as if he thought his ancestry was special because his "American" roots go back to the 18th century compared to those whose ancestors arrived later. That is what I call a snob.

But maybe it's just a genealogical way of saying: "My (family tree) is larger than yours."

Honestly, how can one actually think that one's ancestry is "more important" or "more valuable" than other peoples'? That's something I'll never get.


  1. Yes, I agree. No offense to the 4X4 poster, but nobody cares about how far back his roots go. As a genealogist I enjoy hearing about the roots of others, but not when they present it like that.

    On the flip side of the coin, I find it kind of funny when people brag about how far their American roots go. That's not really saying much since we are such a young country (relative to the rest of the world!).

  2. True. And I really enjoyed some of the other 4x4 guys' comments like: "I'm part native American, so I guess my American roots go back a little further...".