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Pedigree and Progress: Genealogy as a Radical Teaching Practice

Tom Laichas
Crossroads School

    Recently I found, in a used bookstore, Anthony Wagner's Pedigree and Progress, provocatively subtitled Essays in the Genealogical Interpretation of History. Sir Anthony, the Clarenceux King of Arms in Britain's College of Arms, weaves his arguments around ninety-three full-page pedigrees. Some are rather interesting.
    According to Pedigree 44, for example, Henry III of England was just six degrees of separation from Kublai Khan. (It works like this: Eleanor of Aquitaine's nephew, Charles II of Naples, wed Mary of Hungary, whose sister Anna married Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II Palaeologus, whose half-sister Maria married Kublai Khan's nephew, the Persian Il-Khan Abaka).1
     But Anthony Wagner's really big news is that genealogy can build "bridges to antiquity"—that is, connect postclassical dynastic lineages with those of the ancient Mediterranean. Most genealogists believe this to be impossible: the damage inflicted upon documentary sources by 7th-11th century invasion, war, and commercial decline has erased all evidence that might have linked European elites to Roman or pre-Roman families. Wagner rejects such pessimism. Look to the Roman Empire's eastern peripheries, Wagner suggests—to Armenia and Georgia, Byzantium and Cilicia—where familial records survived long after the collapse of the Western empire. To prove this is possible, Wagner works back from England's Edward I through Bagatrids, Suren-Pahlavids, Artaxiads, and Visigoths to the Julians of Rome and thence to Jewish Maccabees, Greek Seleucids, and Persian Archaemenids to Gyges, a 7th century BCE king of Lydia.
    For the millions of British and Americans claiming descent from Edward I, this is fabulous news. Yet there are doubters. The "genealogical account of the kings of Iberia can be dismissed almost in its entirety," fumes one critic, annoyed at the speculation built into some of Wagner's lines.2 4
    In fact, Wagner's educated guesses are the least of his problems. Anyone who has worked with 16th and 17th English "visitation" pedigrees, church records and court documents knows that there exists a gap between genealogical claims and biological facts. Even modern documents—state-issued birth certificates, for instance—may conceal more than they reveal. According to one recent study, nearly 4% of British toddlers are not the children of their presumptive fathers.3 5
    Wagner, the College of Arms' number two, was not naïve. He well knew the pitfalls of tracing biological descent. But proving biological descent was not central to his argument. Wagner's point was this: for something over two thousand years, a close-knit cadre of elite families decisively shaped Eurasian history. Though permeable, the boundaries of that elite were well-defined. The fact that this elite sometimes perpetuated itself through adoption or sheer pretense does not, by itself, weaken his argument.
     Actually, Wagner goes even further, arguing that this elite invented the modern world, its work done through its London and East Anglian merchant elites and their cadet branches in North America.4
     When I first read it, Wagner's argument struck me as wildly out of place. One can imagine publishing a book like Pedigrees and Progress in, say, the 1880s or 1930s. But in 1975? In Harold Wilson's Britain? It is like opening a newspaper to find a columnist calling, entirely seriously, for the restoration of the Qing or Hapsburg empires. Really now: are there still people around who think about history this way?
    Well yes, there are. So I tried a thought experiment. Let's say that a "genealogical interpretation of history" is possible. Taking Wagner seriously, let's try putting lineage at the conceptual core of a world history curriculum now dominated by cultural exchange, environmental modification, and technological innovation.
Can we justify doing so? And if we do so, what will our students really be learning? 9

    Family history is, of course, a wildly popular hobby. Far more people are working on their lineages than have ever taken a world history course. Our first question, then, is this: why has genealogical research been so marginal to history curricula?

    Most scholars view "family history" with genial disregard. Surrounding genealogy is the odor of a priggish small town banker and his fusty D.A.R. wife, both exalted by their putative descent from Charlemagne's quarreling heirs. Stock characters of the last century's social satire, they even now are objects of a delicious contempt. The "lineage societies" which sprouted up between 1850 and 1950 (i.e., the Mayflower Society or the Society of Magna Carta Dames and Barons) are without doubt the best possible evidence that America's industrial-era upper middle classes did suffer from serious "status anxiety."5
    Those who would bring genealogy into their classroom must also contend with its reputation for sentimentalism. This is not to say that genealogy lacks rigor; to the contrary, graduate students in history could learn something from the evidentiary rules credentialed genealogists are obliged to obey.6 Even so, family histories rarely reveal fundamental truths about the human condition. Their usual purpose is considerably more mundane: to valorize a family name. Read enough of the genre and you'll hear the resounding echo of 19th century nationalism. Every family is a Lilliput, its historians chronicling the sovereign claims of a tiny but proud republic.
    And so for decades, college and high school history teachers wrote family history out of their classrooms. Only in the late 1970s did this begin to change. 13
    The event usually credited with bringing family history into the schools, at least in the United States, was Alex Haley's Roots, an enormous success both as a book and an even bigger success as a 1977 ABC miniseries. Perhaps a hundred million people tuned in as Haley's family story was traced back to one Kunta Kinte, "the African." While Haley invented some portions of Roots and, apparently, plagiarized others, his work spurred an enormous surge in genealogical research.7
    The internet arrived fifteen years after Roots. Long frustrated at the dispersal of records and the costs of travel, family historians greeted the Web with unrestrained enthusiasm. No wonder: using the web, it is now possible to examine parish records, census manuscripts, headstone transcriptions, photographic archives, platt maps, ship manifests, and newspaper notices that would formerly have required years of travel to examine. The web has also spawned thousands of "how to" blogs, library catalogues, chatrooms, and reference resources. The largest index of web-based genealogy, "Cyndi's List," lists a quarter million links.8
    Along with Roots and the internet came a third development: the proliferation of anthropology, sociology, and local history courses. To teach techniques of oral history, ethnography, and folklore collection, instructors required that their students undertake family history projects. These projects filtered into high schools as early as the 1960s.9
    The growing interest in genealogy complements broad cultural trends. One is identity politics. Family history can lend dignity and purpose to people who see themselves as marginalized or unmoored. If modernity displaces people from community, genealogy can recreate it. 17
    As well, genealogy can be read a form of consumerism. Collection is cousin to consumption, and genealogy satisfies both. A devoted researcher will over time accumulate a surprisingly large archive of data, photographs and material objects. The meticulous researcher will classify, sort, and display such material, buying archival-quality scrapbooks, photo albums, and shadow boxes to do so. Inexpensive genealogical databases will neatly organize all this information into family groups, assigning each individual a unique number according to ahnentafel, Record, or Henry systems.10
    Finally, genealogy is deeply implicated in the culture of celebrity. It is frankly absurd to brag about descent from Charlemagne when, a) his descendents now number in the millions, and b) in the context of 9th century Eurasia, he was little more than a second-tier political figure. Even so, those who aspire to a full fifteen minutes of fame can clock a few seconds by counting Charlemagne among their sires.


    Identity, commodity, celebrity: far from a throwback to 19th century status anxiety, family history turns out to be thoroughly insinuated in discussions of modernism and post-modernism. This alone makes it an ideal topic to share with world history students.

    And yet, even when we dissect it with the sharpest of post-modern scalpels, we may fail to understand the popularity of genealogy. A devotee of family history will devote a lifetime to a single historical project, an investment of time and resources far greater than most historians can afford to invest in any monograph. What could possibly account for such zeal? 21
Often, it is nothing more complicated than discovering grandma's old trunk. 22
    My grandmother died in 1967. I was nine years old. I watched as my father brought the trunk into the house and shoved it into the cedar-lined hallway closet. I had never noticed that this closet also stored a lot of other old things: metal boxes secured with clasps and latches, leather-bound photo albums, irregular packages wrapped in newspaper and plastic. 23

One day, when my parents were out, I raided the closet. I found:

·          A tarnished medal issued by the Grand Army of the Republic to my great-great grandfather, Daniel Smith of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry.

·          A painted wooden hand-fan.

·          Three tintypes of my great-great-great grandmother, taken in Dodge City, Iowa.

·          My grandfather's World War I photos, service record, naturalization papers, and original Greek surname.

·          My grandmother's worksheets for DAR membership.

·          A Nazi flag, part of the booty my father's company had taken back to the U.S. after World War II.

·          A collection of over a hundred photos taken by my dad's unit as it motored across Europe, three days behind the front, in 1945. These included nine pictures taken at Buchenwald of emaciated prisoners, pit graves, ovens, and bones.

·          Photos of my mom's grandfather, in Russian military uniform. My mother told me that he'd been in the Russo-Japanese War. She also told me that his mother-in-law had cursed his marriage to her daughter. Both he and his wife died when my grandmother was a child.

·          News and gossip from the dead, whose handwriting curled gorgeously across the backs of hand-colored postcards addressed without zip codes and paid with penny stamps.


    Puzzled and a little frightened, I began asking questions. Here's what I learned: a lot of older people did not want to talk about the past, at least not as fully as I wanted to hear about it. My Jewish relatives refused to speak meaningfully of the villages they left. My Greek relatives claimed they knew nothing. What stopped them? Shame? Failing memory? Anger? Impatience?

Here, then, is another reason genealogy is popular: it fills the silence. 26

    Hundreds of college and high school courses now require genealogical projects. Such assignments typically require family interviews, documentary analysis, and a family chart. Whatever their other educational benefits, these projects have remained with students long after the rest of their schoolwork has been forgotten. The teachers who required this work over the years have given an enormous gift to their former students. For many of us, the video or cassette interviews we conducted with our parents or grandparents are the only thing remaining of their voices and their lives.11

    Still, there are certain limits to hands-on genealogy in world history courses. 28
    One problem: genealogy can't take most students very far back. Few of us can name any ancestors living before, say, 1850: in fact, we may have trouble identifying our great- grandparents.12 Dogged persistence can yield remarkable results. Even so, while a student genealogical project may illuminate the modern world, it is unlikely to tell students much about earlier eras. As DNA testing becomes less expensive, students may be able to reveal connections to a very distant past. For now, though, analysis of a cheek swab costs upwards of $100.13 29
    A second challenge is emotional enmeshment. A student who interviews parents or grandparents is deeply invested in both the process and the outcome. Even without the emotional baggage, student genealogical projects carry with them the risk of presentism. 30
    One of my first lessons in presentism was a photograph long missing from my family's albums. The photo, a turn-of-the-century carte de visite, is of two newborn twins. One is my great-uncle Bruce. The other is an unnamed brother, stillborn and buried shortly after the photo was taken. The parents, photographers in a small Illinois town, took the picture themselves just after the birth. For some years, it hung in their parlor. Since then, no one has seen it. 31
    It was an older relative, Cousin Grace, who told me about the photo. Grace found the idea of photographing the dead utterly repellant. The photo (she said) demonstrated just how grief-crazed my great-grandmother must have been when she posed the two bodies next to one another. 32
    Over the years, I collected hints here and there that such photographs were not grotesqueries at all, but were commonplace 19th century memento mori. Only in the 20th century did reaction to these artifacts sour. Removed from parlor walls, the old photos ended up unlabelled in attics and drawers. Of the tens of thousands that must have existed, far fewer now remain.14 33
    To read the evidence correctly would require considerable knowledge of 19th and 20th century social history. A genealogical project perfect for a contemporary social history class could be less effective in a world history survey course. 34


    None of these difficulties need deter a world history instructor from requiring a genealogical project. More problematic, I suspect, is genealogy's central axiom: that (as Wagner suggests) individuals and their families really do make history. Personal agency is not popular just now. We trace linkages among "networks" and "webs," not dynasties; we build grand theory around "consilience" and "memes," not genealogy. Horizontal is in. Hierarchy is out.

    It is from the sciences that we have lifted our "networks," "webs" and "memes." They are merely the most recent of borrowings that stretch from 18th century "natural laws" to 20th century "paradigm shifts." It is no coincidence the current vocabulary emerged in the 1960s along with cybernetics, and has grown further with the development of the internet and its "treemaps," "social software," and "wikis." Such "non-linear dynamic systems models" make terrific metaphors for our age, inspiring our teaching and writing to an almost giddy lyricism.15 36
        In this context, Wagner's focus on individuals and lineages will strike many as quaintly reactionary, if not positively perverse. Even so, students who read carefully enough may be forgiven for assuming that we actually share Wagner's views. 37
    Western Civilization textbooks talk about elite families in greater detail than they devote to most other topics. Our grandparents would find much familiar in these books. Isabella and Ferdinand still create the Spanish state through their marriage; Henry II brings Aquitaine under his control through marriage to Eleanor; Queen Victoria's disputatious grandchildren still make World War I a cousin's war.
    World history multiplies such examples. The Sundiata epic turns on the career of a prince of Kangaba. Vowing to avenge his murdered father and brothers, Sundiata overthrows and kills the usurper Sumanguru, creating Mali. The Thai story of Princess Suryothai has a similar theme: a family of usurpers is undone by the legitimate heir, whose moral claim to the throne is burnished by his wife's selfless sacrifice in battle. Early Ottoman Sultans expeditiously murdered their brothers to secure the throne. According to some scholars, Incan panaka (lineage) cults materially weakened Incan resistance to Pizarro.16 38
    The implicit message students get from these stories (whether we agree or not) is that lineage and state-building are inextricably bound. Certainly newer dynasts believe this to be so. There are plenty of Kims, Assads, Mubaraks, and Kabilas who believe that the nation is an expression and extension of the family name. Sons inherit not only their father's titles, but their father's cult of personality, patronage network, and nationalist trappings: l'etat c'est nous. 39
    The idea that a family can maintain and advance its own internal values, not only among its members but in the society at large, looms large elsewhere as well. In the United States, conservative lineages (Podhoretz, Kristol, Taft, Buckley) vie with liberal families (Kennedy, Bayh, Stevenson, King). The same might be said for historians: Abu-Lughod, McNeill and Dallek are on their second generation and Schlesinger is on the third. Internationally, descendants of founder-figures remain politically prominent, among them Mexico's Cuatehmoc Cardenas (son of Lazaro), the young Gandhis (grandchildren and great-grandchildren of India's Jawaharlal Nehru), and, in Greece, George Papandreou (son of Andreas, grandson of Georgios). Successors of defunct royal lineages end up in politics as well. Hapsburgs sit in the European parliament; a Saxe-Coburg heir to the Bulgarian throne has served as the country's prime minister. Dynastic politics remain significant in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Cambodia. While such lineages no longer monopolize political space, their "family structures complement other institutional arrangements," nurturing "trust among both elites and masses."17 40
    Families lower down the socio-economic ladder also replicate distinctive cultural and social outlooks from one generation to another, altering the broader society as they do so. E. Digby Baltzell's Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia makes that point particularly well. According to his account, Philadelphia's merchant elites cultivated a political culture largely divorced from the city's affairs and did little to preserve a coherent class ideology over the generations. Heirs of Boston's Puritan families, in contrast, created political rituals, built schools and colleges, and involved themselves in communal affairs. Long after the demise of a truly "Puritan" New England, the old families remained in power, shaping not only New England's political culture, but that of the entire country.18 41
    We miss an opportunity to engage the issue of family every time we give students a "family tree" to clarify relationships among the elites cluttering our textbooks. Why marginalize these illustrations, using them as little more than convenient reference sources? Such charts were, after all, legal documents, laying out an argument for a heritable claim. Accepting a chart as accurate meant acknowledging a family's power over property, labor or commodities. Family trees were also social and political manifestos, asserting corporate identity and guarding family boundaries. 42
    Dynasts made such charts central to the arts they sponsored. One Mughal portrait depicts three sultans seated anachronistically alongside one another, Jahangir looking on as his father Akbar affectionately looks upon his brother Shah Jahan. Not only are all three depicted as though they were about forty years old, but Jahangir and Shah Jahan were rivals. All this is beside the point: the tableaux is intended to underscore the legitimacy of Shah Jahan; it is he, after all, who meets his father's gaze. 43
    Elsewhere, claims of lineage and legitimacy transformed entire landscapes. Ancient tumuli line England's Deben River, marking (so we presume) the resting places of East Anglian king Redwald and his descendants. Egypt's Valley of the Kings is an even more dramatic instance. In both cases, the succession of tombs mimics the succession of monarchs, each monument legitimating the next. The living king, having performed his rituals before the last of the tombs, declares himself their heir. Carved into living rock, here is a lineage writ very large indeed. 44


    Wagner's problem (and ours, if we draft Wagner into classroom service), is his exclusive focus on elite families. Yet prestige lineages have never belonged solely to elites.

    Frequently, social movements adopt prestige lineages to legitimize their struggles. Whatever Túpac Amaru's actual lineage or intentions (and there is some doubt), many Quechua speakers believed that Don José Gabriel Condorcanqui was a royal scion. If he was using indigenous Peruvians to achieve his own ends, his followers were just as surely using him as a symbol of their own aspirations. 46
    Appropriated by the marginalized and the powerless, prestige lineages can invert the political and cultural order. The fight over Thomas Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemming is more than a struggle to open Jefferson's Monticello cemetery to Sally's descendents. It's an effort to open up the whole of U.S. history, rewrite the memorials, and rename the dead. Thus do people long marginalized appropriate the elite's own lineage-lore, turning it into a weapon against elite power. 47
    Some of the most significant appropriations of elite lineages have been those which underwrite mestizo and creole identities. In the United States, the most famous of these is Israel Zangwill's play "The Melting Pot." Early 20th century Mexican intellectual José Vasconcelos reveled in Mexico's mixed ancestry, declaring that this legacy had created la raza cosmica, the Universal Race. The cross-pressures on men and women with dual lineages are, of course, a staple of much 20th century fiction, from Nella Larsen (USA), Passing and Quicksand to Thomas Mann (Germany), "Tonio Kröger" and Pramoedya Toer (Indonesia), This Earth of Mankind.19 48
    Dual lineages fascinate historians. How many critics, glancing at Marx's biography, juxtapose the fact that he was simultaneously Hegel's student and a rabbi's grandson? Or that Gandhi's intellectual and spiritual parents included both Europeans (Ruskin, Thoreau, Tolstoy, Shaw, Capetown Quakers) and Indians (Tagore and Rajchandra)? Is it important that French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, the student/son of Heidegger and Husserl, also was a student of Talmud, and thus "descended" from the community of Euro-Mediterranean Jewish scholars, writing on both, explaining each to the other? 49
    Indeed, mixed lineage is at the center of the most characteristic studies of world history, those which stress "cross-cultural contacts," the tension between "traditional" and "modern" identities, and the interaction of Asian and African peoples with their European satraps. Why not foreground lineage and genealogy in our classrooms, just as we do ethnicity, class, and other approaches to historical scholarship and story-telling? 50
    Of course, those who stand outside the metropolis and its elites do not merely co-opt and subvert elite lineages. Lineage becomes all the more important where central governments are weak and the threat of violence is high. Under such circumstances, family may be the only reliable refuge. This was certainly the case among families navigating the violent and politically uncertain worlds of 12th century Iceland, the 18th century English-Scottish borderlands, early 19th century Greece and Argentina, and 20th century Bali. In the 21st century, the media chastises Iraqi clans for frustrating any larger political project. These "tribes" are taken to be pre-modern or anti-modern or simply corrupt, resisting the state's legitimate attempts to transform their members into rational, individualist citizens. But in Iraq, as in northern England or Iceland before it, the risks of ceding power to the center –a center understood to be dominated by rival families or peoples—are enormous.20 51


    Lineage is not just about family. It is a powerful—indeed, central—metaphor for legitimating religious, intellectual, and commercial hierarchies.

    The Panchen and Dalai Lamas, the Catholic Pope and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch all ascend to their offices through a ritualized succession which purposely replicates that of a son receiving his father's legacy. Sometimes, as in the case of Siberian shamans and Chasidic Rebbes, succession literally passes from father to son. In others—Sufis, for instance—the succession passes from master to student. In an echo of Mughal iconography, religious paintings frequently depict teachers and saints from across the centuries gathered together in arrangements suggesting both comity and lineage.21 53
    Intellectual historians describe philosophic movements not as families but as "schools," visually rendered in Raphael's "School of Athens." Not everyone would agree. Randall Collins traces master-student lineages in such schools, characterizing their structures as a succession of face-to-face communities or, in the idiom of sociology, "interaction ritual chains." Collins' study, The Sociology of Philosophies, features over fifty charts depicting such chains linking Greek and Roman, Christian and Jewish, Confucian, Buddhist and Islamic thinkers from the Anaxaminer and Socrates through Foucault and Derrida. These look an awful lot like genealogical charts, a resemblance Collins acknowledges when he drops "interaction ritual chain" in favor of "intellectual lineage."22 54
    This is, in fact, precisely the way most premodern peoples understood the relationship between the master and the acolyte. Why? One reason, surely, was the absence of institutional systems to legitimate knowledge. Without refereed journals and tenure committees, how could anyone confirm a young scholar's claim to innovative intellectual accomplishment? That claim rested instead upon the reputation—and the lineage—of his teacher. 55
    Intellectual lineage is still with us, of course. A young professor remains the "student" of the older scholar who chaired her dissertation committee. This senior professor earns honor from mentoring graduate students who may later compile a festschrift in his honor. A fictive family? Of course. Yet no less important for that. 56
    Analogous to such fictive intellectual families are fictive commercial families. Throughout commercial diasporas, relationships built on kinship ties (as well as legal and social sanctions enforceable over long distances) made long-distant trade possible, accounting for the dispersal of Jews, Sogdians, Omanis, Gujaratis, Chinese, Lebanese, Armenians and Scots over the face of Afro-Eurasia. When necessary, these diasporas constructed fictive lineages. Philip Curtin writes, for instance, of the Aro trade diaspora in southeastern Nigeria. Individual Aro would enter into "artificial kinship ties with non-Aro, who became blood brothers and were thus able to act as hosts in villages where no Aro resided permanently." In other networks, successful merchants advanced capital to start younger men in the business only after rituals tying the one generation to the next. These rituals were not just ornamental. Far more important than credit, the older men were extending their family reputations to the younger.23 57


And so we return to the classroom. Where does this lead us?

    Those instructors who would develop lessons and projects which compel students to think about lineage will find a number of good introductions to the issue. Of these, I particularly recommend Alex Shoumatoff's discussion of "Stratification and Pedigrees" in The Mountain of Names.24 I think, though, that lineage ought to be more than a one-shot assignment; it can be one of the central themes in a world history course. 59
    Once students know that family is a core theme, they can begin looking for its consequences. To do this, I assign excerpts from Anthony Wagner himself. Exactly because he is such an unreconstructed elitist—because his views are so much at odds with those of any contemporary historian students might read—he provokes thought, discussion, and argument. Ultimately, Wagner's thesis is a straw man, easily attacked. However, foregrounding Wagner towards the beginning of the year gives students an added perspective from which to interrogate original sources. 60
    Eventually, students consider how lineages shape politics, distribute wealth, define gender, and delineate status. They can also look at the ways lineage serves those who challenge authority as much as those who legitimate it. Finally, students assess the fate of lineage in a modern world which (it is said) values administrative efficiency, meritocratic authority, and the rule of law. 61
    When he completed Pedigree and Progress thirty years ago, Sir Anthony was out of step with younger scholars. Now, perhaps, it's worth asking our students to walk alongside him for little while, if only to look at the landscape his path makes visible.
Biographical Note: Tom Laichas is co-editor of World History Connected and teaches world history at the Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California..  


1 Anthony Wagner, Pedigree and Progress: Essays in the Genealogical Interpretation of History (London: Phillimore, 1975).

2 Stewart Baldwin, posting to soc.genealogy.medieval, July 14, 2000, accessed via Google Groups.

3 Mark A. Bellis et al., "Measuring Paternal Discrepancy and its Public Health Consequences," Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 59:749-754 (2005) online at:

4 Wagner's expertise was British and Continental family history; he confessed to being out of his depth anywhere else. Yet he found Chinese claims of pre-Han descendancy plausible. "Such pedigrees, I believe, exist but for all I know they may be myths. I therefore end by placing the ball in the court of the Sinologists and hoping that they may be able to return it." Wagner (1975), 75.

5 For a full list of U.S. lineage societies, see the Hereditary Society Community of the United States of America ( "Status anxiety" was among Richard Hofstadter's explanations for Progressive era political culture. See Hofstadter, The Age of Reform (New York: Vintage Books, 1960).

6 There are two organizations which credential professional genealogists: the Board for Certification of Genealogists and the Commission for Accreditation of Professional Genealogists. Both require extensive training and examinations. For a sample of professional standards, see Board of Certification of Genealogists, The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual (, 2000) and Elizabeth Shown Mills, Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2001).

7 For a creative recap of Haley's plagiarism, see Philip Nobile, "Alex Haley's Advice to Ambrose and Goodwin" online at the History News Network, (, January 29, 2002.

8 Cyndi's list may be found at:

9 The most extensive high school oral history project is Foxfire, whose students have documented and participated in Appalachian folklife for the past thirty years. Twelve volumes of their work have appeared over the years, available at

10 For organization of family history, see William Dollarhide, Managing a Genealogical Project (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1999). For record preservation and archiving, see Jane S. Long and Richard W. Long, Caring for Your Family Treasures (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000).

11 For an excellent collection of family history teaching materials, see the Summer 2001 issue of OAH Magazine of History (vol. 15, no. 4). Along with useful articles, this issue features Steven Mintz, "Teaching Family History: An Annotated Bibliography." On line, see Linda Pomeranz's careful approach to documentary analysis in "Linking Family History and World History (

12 Alex Shoumatoff, The Mountain of Names: A History of the Human Family (New York: Kodansha International, 1995), 58-59.

13 The genealogical virtues of DNA analysis are overestimated. Of eight great-grandparents, the method will tell us something of the distant ancestry of just two: our father's paternal grandfather and our mother's maternal grandmother.

14 For more, see Dan Meinwald, "Memento Mori: Death and Photography in Nineteenth Century America," The practice of photographing the dead is returning, this time through the Web. One site, for instance, posts photos of stillborn infants at the request of their grieving parents. See Julia Scheeres, "Photo Homage to the Stillborn", Wired News, December 28, 2001, online at,1284,49308,00.html.

15 Peter A. Corning, The Synergism Hypothesis: On the Concept of Synergy and its Role in the Evolution of Complex Systems. Originally from the Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems 21:2 (1998), republished online by the Institute for the Study of Complex Systems at:

16 Bamba Suso and Bana Kanute, Sunjata: Gambian Versions of the Mande Epic by Bamba Suso and Bana Kanute (London: Penguin, 2000). The Story of Suryothai (2003) has been brought to film by Chatrichalerm Yukol (himself a Thai prince). It is a film which says at least as much about 20th century Thai politics as it does about 17th century Thai history. For succession crises in Ottoman families, see Norman Itzkowitz, Ottoman Empire and Islamic Tradition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972), 74-75. For a brief overview of Inca lineage cults and succession crises, see Charles C. Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 62-96; for the panaka, see 88-92.

17 For an extended discussion of dynastic succession in Greece, featuring Karamanlis, Mitsotakis, and Papandreou heirs, see "Enduring Virtues: Greece's Political Dynasties Go On and On" in The Economist, October 10, 2002. For "trust among both elites and masses," see Thomas E. Reifer and Christopher Chase-Dunn, "The Social Foundations of Global Conflict and Cooperation" at the Institute for Research on World-Systems, online at:

18 E. Digby Baltzell, Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia (New York: Transaction Books, 1996). For similar arguments in four U.S. "cultural hearths", see David Hackett Fischer, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).

19 Israel Zangwill, The Melting Pot: A Drama in Four Acts (Whitefish, Montana: Kessinger Publishing, 2005 [1915]); José Vasconcelos, "The Cosmic Race" in Gilbert M. Joseph and Timothy J. Henderson eds., The Mexico Reader (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2002), 15-19; Nella Larsen, Quicksand and Passing (Piscataway, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1986); Pramoedya Toer, This Earth of Mankind (Penguin, 1991 [1975]); Thomas Mann, "Tonio Kröger" in Mann, Death in Venice (New York: Vintage, 1989), 75-132. See also Bernadine Evaristo, Lara (London: Angela Royal Publishing, 1997), a novel-in-verse which traces a mixed-race family over a century and a half and Juan E. De Castro, Mestizo Nations: Culture, Race, and Conformity in Latin American Literature (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2002).

20 For 18th century northern England, see David Hackett Fischer, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991). For Iceland, see Njal's Saga (New York: Penguin, 2002). For Argentina, see Antonio Sarmiento, Facundo, or Civilization and Barbarism (New York: Penguin, 1998 [1858]). For Bali, see Geoffrey B. Robinson, The Dark Side of Paradise: Political Violence in Bali (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995).

21 For a classroom-friendly discussion of intellectual lineages in the Islamic world, see Shoumatoff, The Mountain of Names, 71-73.

22 Randall Collins, The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000). For "intellectual lineage", see, for instance, Collins, 90.

23 Philip D. Curtin, Cross-Cultural Trade in World History (Cambridge University Press, 1984), 48. Robin Cohen, Global Diasporas: An Introduction (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997).

24 Shoumatoff, The Mountain of Names, 1995.


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