RootsTech 2014

Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Genealogical Consistency in Time and Space

I have been a SciFi fan since I read Isaac Asimov's Pebble in the Sky when I was about nine years old. See Asimov, Isaac. Pebble in the Sky. New York: Fawcett Publications, Inc, 1950. One theme of science fiction has always been time travel. There is quite a discussion about the origins of time travel stories (See Wikipedia: Time travel) but for me H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, was the most influential. See Wells, H. G. The Time Machine. An Invention. Pp. 152. W. Heinemann: London, 1895). So now you are thinking, "Here we go again, what can this possibly have to do with genealogy?" Hmm. Maybe this time I have finally gone off the deep end and starting writing random posts? It could happen.

But fortunately (or unfortunately) that time has yet to come. For the past few years, as I write this blog, from time to time I have focused on the vagaries of family trees. As I have pointed out quite recently, sometimes the information people put online is surprisingly and completely inconsistent, inaccurate, incomplete, medically impossible, physically impossible, insane, and has many other issues. Unfortunately, I am sometimes guilty of this myself. But recently, I have become convinced that the only way some of this information is correct is that my ancestors and collateral relatives knew the secret of time travel.

I am now firmly convinced that some (may all) of my great-grandmothers were secret time travelers. This enabled them to have children into their 80s and 90s and to marry 3 year old husbands. I can't imagine why this explanation for the inconsistencies didn't just jump out at me before, given my almost constant interest in science fiction. Sometimes it is hard to figure exactly which of my ancestors as shown on countless online family trees was the time traveler, but it seems to be more predominant in the female lines than the male lines. Maybe the male time travelers are just more adept at covering up their time traveling tracks?

I am seriously suggesting that,, and all the others add a very prominent check box that says

Just think of all the time this would save. We could then have a rational explanation for all the temporal inconsistencies and such that clutter up the world of online family trees. Think about this and see if this doesn't explain some of your own thorny online family tree problems.

Don't forget to thank me for finally making all the junk online seem rational.


  1. sounds like the answer ... make the scenario fit the data ...

    1. Not the ~data~ really, but the *entries* in whatever format.

      Time travel is so simple, too. A cousin wrote a family-line book with the first few generations quite implausible and baseless, but there were other oddities, such as one woman born in 1780s to a person b. ca. 1845. The IGI entry for this woman suffered from a typographical error having her born in 1760s. When my cousin discovered this he was thrilled, because it worked better for part of his scenario (but he never did state a rationale accounting for when her purported father was born).

  2. so that's it. I just thought great great grandma was a cougar.

  3. Another possibility is to substitute "Kokopelli" (Trickster and Story Teller) for "Time Traveler."

  4. If Einstein is right, actual time slows down for the person time traveling, thus slowing down the physical aging of the person. So does that mean all the ancestors that were wishy-washy on their birthdate (year) actually time travelers!?

  5. I'll be adding you to my G+ SF circle!