walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Genealogy: what's the phrase for that?

Family trees are only trees when viewed from the perspective of a single "I": my ancestors branching above me, my descendants in the roots below me (or vice versa) and me, the trunk. Otherwise, technically speaking, they are directed graphs (with undirected links between spouses, I suppose).

In any event, musing about genealogy leads to a befuddling question: that branching in the ancestry can't really just keep going, two parents for each person going back forever. There's a phrase for that (and it doesn't seem to be demographic collapse). I just can't remember what it is.

2 of my 4 grandparents are known to have entirely Dutch ancestry (to the extent that that means anything, cf. European history). 1 of my grandparents has substantial Dutch ancestry, within the context of a religion that emphasized in-marriage. I've had a self-pubbed genealogy for that last grandparent since I was a child and I knew perfectly well that there were people getting married who had the same (not real common) last name. More recently, I stumbled across a Poldervaart-Poldervaart marriage in the Netherlands which surprised me (collateral, IIRC).

Here's what I didn't expect to find. That fourth grandparent is the product of a first cousin marriage. So I have 2 fewer grgrgr grand parents than the equation predicts.

On a related note, you know how people who get overly excited about even the hint of the suggestion of a possibility of someone doing something naughty often turn out to have some connection to same in their own life? Yeah, that'd be my parent, the child of that grandparent.
Tags: genealogy

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.