View Full Version : Genealogy, present and future

June Pelo
20-10-04, 22:46
Our local newspaper writes: Western European families follow the male parent from generation to generation to determine lineage. Other places in the world use the female line. Thinking about it, following a line of mothers is less open to errors. Aristotle said that a mother is fonder than the father of their children because she is more certain they are her own. So why do we follow the male line?

In the western countries of Europe, gaining, holding and passing on land was a mjor concern. While women could and did participate in this, it was mainly a man's arena, especially with the "noble" families .. the first son inherited the castle. Daughters blended their family heritage through marriage. Those traditions grew through the ages into the rise of a middle class. They came across the Atlantic to this country and have been embedded in this country's estate law and lineage society rules.

Under this, adopted children do not have the same rights and privileges as natural children in genealogy. Daughters are not equals to sons in some circles. In the olden days with close-knit families, small towns and poor communications and records, covering up the products of philandering fathers or mothers was not as difficult as today. An accepted child who was "illegitimate" could belong to a lineage society but an adopted daughter could not.

But now we face families derived from donated embryos, sperms and eggs. We can have known biological mothers and unknown fathers and vice versa. I don't even want to contemplete the possibility of cloning. Tomorrow's genealogists have their jobs cut out for them unless all this potential uncertainty creates new rules that say, "Follow the mother." Let the lawyers follow fathers for inheriting the castle.

Charlotte Sun, Oct. 20, 2004