[APG Public List] celebrity connections to royalty or famous historical people

eshown at comcast.net eshown at comcast.net
Fri Jun 25 13:24:00 MDT 2010

Joan wrote:
>I have been asked to speak briefly with a radio host on Monday morning and
would like to provide a broader opinion than my own on the following topic
specifically at what point in going back do these connections lose any real
meaning for us or our clients:
>>"we want to know how anyone finds connections that old [e.g. to nobility
or to royalty -their example is Count Vlad]- we're so often hearing that
some celebrity is related to another or something like that. We'd want to
talk about the field of genealogy and how these connections are found. When
does family connection lose meaning in your opinion? Just because they
shared a relative 400 years ago, does that matter to people you've worked
with? In your experience can we all find someone famous in our family tree
if we look far enough back/ are we all related in some way if you go far
enough back?"
 >Any brief thoughts on this topic?
The success of US and People magazines attest that the public is enamored
with celebrities. No radio host should be surprised, then, that the public
thinks it's cool to be told they are related to nobility, royalty, or people
of infamy. But, as we know, there is a vast difference between the public
stereotype and the actual practice of genealogy.
What the media does not 'get' is that genealogy is not about finding
celebrities. It is history in microcosm. Each of us has our own way of
describing what genealogy means to us. Mine would be this:
Genealogy is about understanding ourselves and the influences that have made
us who we are. It's about understanding the men and women whose genes we
carry and whose customs we cherish or purposefully reject. It's about
understanding the world we live in, and how the actions of past men and
women shaped the issues we deal with today. It's about understanding how the
problems of those past societies shaped our forebears and how the individual
choices they made affected their families and ultimately us. 
The Board for Certification of Genealogists' website also has an
'explanation' of genealogy to which you might refer the radio host. It's at
the home page: www.bcgcertification.org.
Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
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