Genealogy as a self-deception

Sometimes it’s quite difficult to explain why we are not genealogies. And do something exactly the opposite of genealogy. Let’s try to make some notes on this subject.

When a person has no plan or direction in life, he begins either frantically to join mass movements, corporations and all kinds of guru-karmovedov (that is, to believe that they know the future), or to look for points of support, on the contrary, not in the future, but in the past (believing that he can know the past). The first case is not very interesting to us: a person simply gives himself up for use by other people. But the second case is ours.

A person cannot draw a straight line at one point… Rather, he can, but an infinite number of straight lines… He needs to reduce his freedom to a mathematical ray. And this can be done at least in two points. He himself is one point. And somewhere in the past is different, and it must be found. First, he appoints as this point the most genuinely distant living relatives (grandparents), and then he learns from them about those that are further away, already inanimate, as if moving the second point further into the past.

Why move the second point as far back as possible? Because the small mathematical segments do not give an idea of ​​how resistant their genus is to the political, economic, cultural, social and lasting fluctuations in the landscape of life. In other words, if you draw your kind through yourself and the grandfather who was born in 1930, then it is completely not obvious that your family and your family scenarios will be stable beyond the period of socialism. But if the fulcrum is still in the Russian Empire, this “sustainability index” seems to increase somewhat. Well, the most self-confident people find their second points in the time of Ivan the Terrible, in other states and so on. And they are proud of their roots, although at the same time they themselves are often not fruitful branches. A five-star proletariat preoccupied with eternal survival.

Going further down this mathematical line, a person stops at some point. Usually this is due to the fact that no further information can be collected, they are lost. At this moment, he appoints the most ancient ancestor as a proband, that is, the ancestor, and proceeds to the primary analysis of what he collected.

Usually at this moment it all ends.

It turns out one unpleasant thing. Despite the fact that although all the ancestors about whom it was possible to collect information are connected by kinship, they have absolutely nothing to teach us. One was a soldier, the other was in prison for a youngster, the third was a drunkard, the fourth had great success in embroidery, the third served the king, the fourth was a revolutionary, and so on. That is, the primary analytics does not give any answers, a single line is formed between the uterine digger and the proband, but it is a curve. And if it is a curve in the past, then continued into the future, it will never straighten either. It will be the same curve.

But so his life is so crooked! Not for this in the past delved!

This is where the genealogy ends. He says: “We have found you all the ancestors that you wanted. They sold you a beautiful film for this information, like we did it, and a “family book”, where they wrote everything we dug up in calligraphic handwriting. You have 560,000 rubles and good luck!”. The clanhead leaves the genealogy center with this waste paper in a suspended and sad state.

And our work here is just beginning, because it is necessary to conduct secondary analytics, to enter it into our technologies, which “straighten” the line of gender. And in such a straightened form, the genus actually becomes the last name. That is, an object of design, and not a random historically spread bibliographic material. From this point of view, it is much more important for a person not how far the second point in the past is, but how far the direct distance between these points is. If it is really direct, if the family legend and the mythological tunnel are spelled out qualitatively and executed, then the second point may not be too far, within the third generation. So often neither genealogy nor half a million expenses are needed.

The fact that the directness of the line is more important than the actual data was well understood by the members of great families themselves. For example, Pavel Florensky (1882–1937), a Russian scholar, religious philosopher, theologian:

“Apparently, each kind has its own law, from which you can’t get away. A race is a whole, and not the sum of successive generations… Everyone’s life task is to know the structure and form of a kind, his task, the law of his growth, critical points, the ratio of individual branches and their particular tasks, and against the background of all this – to know his own place in its own kind and its own task, not its own individual, set in itself, but its own – as a member of the clan as an organ of the higher whole. Only with this generic self-knowledge can a conscious attitude towards the life of one’s people and the history of mankind be possible…”

What we do and what people just need from relatives in the past do not like genealogies and are somewhat despised, calling our activity “genealogical folklore”. For them, something that cannot be reflected by the forces of genetics and machinery (that is, is not contained in the state archive) is an empty air shake. However, exactly what cannot be formalized is what people are looking for. Some space where you are free. Therefore, we affirm that a surname is about freedom. And we, unlike genealogies, in this sense can give advice on how a person should deal with his family history. And most importantly – for what.

Vitaly Trofimov-Trofimov, “Family legend


Good luck in finding.