One of my main academic interests is the way genealogical fakes are created and preserved. For many years I was active on Geni.com, 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 losing battle.
Even so, most of my genealogical correspondence continues to be people asking my opinion about different lines where they suspect a fake. Answering those messages is a lot of work. And, truthfully, my heart isn’t really in it right now. I’m off on other things.
I’ve stumbled across a YouTube channel — UsefulCharts — that does some pretty good work on presenting basic information on this topic. So, I’m going to take the easy way out and just link to some of them. I don’t agree with every point of every presentation, and I would caution that many of the presentations oversimplify. But still.
- Greek Mythology Family Tree (Primordials, Titans & Olympians) (Sept. 16, 2019).
- Is Everyone a Descendant of Royalty? (Apr. 12, 2019).
- Is Queen Elizabeth a Descendant of the Prophet Muhammad? (Nov. 21, 2018).
- Muhammad & the Caliphates Family Tree (Feb. 8, 2019).
- Who has the best claim to the title of Roman Emperor? (Oct. 18, 2019).
- Who Would Be King of America if George Washington had been made a monarch? (Jul 4, 2019).
There are some shortcuts that will save you a lot of time if you accept them upfront. Despite what you might read in the popular press and on the Internet:
- There are no proven descents from Adam and Eve.
- There are no proven descents from King David.
- There are no proven descents from Jesus.
- There are no proven descents from Joseph of Arimathea.
On the other hand:
- Everyone in Europe is probably descended from Charlemagne.
- Everyone in the British Isles is probably descended from William the Conqueror.
- Everyone in the British Isles is probably descended from Edward III.
Everyone is descended from royalty. Not everyone can prove their connection to these lines, but having a proven lines is very common. If you have one, very cool, but you’re not special.
Revised Oct. 27, 2019 to add link.