Anglo-Saxon Genealogies

“Germanic pre-Christian ideas of ancestry wouldn’t necessarily be totally intuitive to a modern person looking back.“ This is a favorite topic of mine. I rarely pass up a chance to point out others who agree with me. Here, Simon Roper. The old, poetic genealogies handed down by our remote ancestors “were probably not completely reflective … Read more

Medieval Irish Genealogies

A good orientation to the problem of trusting medieval Irish genealogies. Don’t make the mistake of copying what you find online. It’s all very interesting, but it’s not vetted genealogy. Donnchadh Ó Corráin, “Creating the Past: The Early Irish Genealogical Tradition” in Chronicon 1 (1997) 2: 1-32. ABSTRACT: Traditionally Irish early medieval genealogies were seen as the … Read more

Holy Grail, Holy Fraud

Honestly, nothing makiies me crazy quite like supposedly serious genealogists taking data straight from books like Holy Blood, Holy Grail and others of that ilk that should be just entertainment. I often think I should take on a systematic study and create a website devoted to the subject. Not going to happen, so I’m happy … Read more

Foreign Origins

Our European ancestors often did genealogy as propaganda. Nowadays it’s sometimes hard to convince new genealogists, people who might have only a limited historical education, that there wasn’t some secret, oral, underground stream of tradition that has been suppressed by clumsy academics. No. It was pure propaganda, and today we can see through it easily. … Read more

Royal Fakes

One of my main academic interests is the way genealogical fakes are created and preserved. For many years I was active on, working with other volunteer curators to round up and fakes, get them corralled, and so improve the quality of the medieval tree there. In the end it turned out to be a … Read more

Ragnar Lodbrok

I have a special affection for Ragnar, but not for the reasons you’d think. I’m a volunteer curator at, but several years ago I got thrown out of the site by another curator, Anette. We have a Ragnar Lodbrog project at Geni, as you might expect. Anette started the project. A bunch of us … Read more

Great Heathen Army

They found it. Or more accurately, they’ve decided what they found in 1979 really is it. I’m talking about a mass grave at Repton in Derbyshire. The experts have solved a dating problem. Now it seems very likely the bodies are from the Great Heathen Army. Here’s the short version. In 865 vikings from coming … Read more

You’re Descended from Royalty

Everyone is descended from royalty. It’s just the way it works. At this point this fact should be so well known the universal reaction should be a yawn. But somehow the news hasn’t reached a lot of researchers. So, worth another post. Adam Rutherford wrote about this recently. He starts off, “Charlemagne, Carolingian King of … Read more

Fictitious Habsburg Genealogies

Imperial Habsburgs

Genealogists today often think of genealogy as a search for the truth about family relationships and history. But, for our royal and noble ancestors genealogy was something different. It was a two-pronged propaganda campaign. One goal was to prove they were an ancient and distinguished family. The other goal was to prove that they were … Read more