Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 02-22-2003, 09:16 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 160
What's an Indirect Descendant?

In genealogy, the phrase "direct descendant" is used regularly. Isn't that redundant? Either you are a descendant of a particular person or you're not.

Some genealogy reference books attempt to define indirect descendant as "descended from a common ancestor but through different lines" which, in my opinion, means you are potentially distant cousins, but you are still each (direct) descendants of a common ancestor.
#2
Old 02-22-2003, 09:17 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Slithering on the hull
Posts: 26,279
You're an indirect descendant of Ben Franklin if you're a direct descendant of his sister.

It's an imprecise term, and I avoid it in my genealogical discussions, but lots of others employ it.
#3
Old 02-22-2003, 09:29 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 160
If I'm a descendant of Ben Franklin's sister, I am a descedant of their father, but am I not a decesdant of Ben, at least not in a biological sense.

Sounds like "indirect descendant" is way for some people to try to claim a relationship that doesn't exist - e.g. I'm an (indirect) descendant of George Washington.
#4
Old 02-22-2003, 09:46 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Slithering on the hull
Posts: 26,279
Oh, the relationship exists, all right. It's one of collateral relations. And kingships have turned on such things. How do you think the German-speaking George I ended up King of England?

I also posit that "indirect descendant" sounds better to a lot of people than claiming Ben Franklin as a "cousin". He would be one, something like first cousin 7 times removed.

Personally, I'd opt for cousin. Heck, Prince William of England is 27th cousin, 9 times removed.
#5
Old 02-23-2003, 01:03 AM
BANNED
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7
George W Bush is an indirest descendant of Franklin Pierce the 14th President of the United States through his mother Barbra Pierce (Bush).
#6
Old 02-23-2003, 07:11 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: The snow is gone!
Posts: 26,811
Ah, but George I got the nod because he was a direct descendant of the Electress Sophia (his mum), who in turn was a direct descendant of James I & VI (her grandfather).
#7
Old 02-23-2003, 02:14 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 160
Consider the following three sentences:

A. I am a descendant of George Washington.
B. I am a direct descendant of George Washington.
C. I am an indirect descendant of George Washington.

B = A, therefore "direct" is redundant and can be left out.

For C, if George is a great-great-...-parent, then it is the same as A.

If I am related to George through a sister, cousin, brother, etc., then I am not his descendant, but we are, of course, relations.

What's wrong with just being cousins or a grand-grand-...-nephew? Why the rush to claim descendancy from someone who isn't your ancestor?
#8
Old 02-23-2003, 02:17 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 6,920
Of course, since George Washington had no children, no one is his direct descendant...

Zev Steinhardt
#9
Old 02-23-2003, 02:40 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 160
Quote:
Originally posted by zev_steinhardt
Of course, since George Washington had no children, no one is his direct descendant...
No. No one is his descendant.
#10
Old 02-23-2003, 03:02 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Slithering on the hull
Posts: 26,279
Quote:
Originally posted by Rillian
No. No one is his descendant.
While I agree with you, we are now faced with semantics. Some people recognize indirect descent to mean what was described. I know what they're talking about when the term is used, even if I think it's silly. But so far they've refused to change for my benefit.
#11
Old 02-23-2003, 03:08 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 160
Quote:
Originally posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
While I agree with you, we are now faced with semantics.
I agree. Since my OP asked what an "indirect descendant" is, I think you have answered the question.

Direct Descendant: a biological descendant of a person.

Indirect Descendant: a blood relation, but not a biological descendant of a person. Used by some people because it sounds better than "third cousin, twice removed" or similar relationships.

Thanks everyone.
#12
Old 02-23-2003, 03:28 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Slithering on the hull
Posts: 26,279
Well, then we'll just have to agree to......... um, agree, I guess.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:36 AM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: remove concrete walkway homemade high explosives skywatcher tv spelling joke hyperion map derisive pronunciation ermine vs weasel shutterfly slideshow magnum caliber slow cranking car english cheese salad high blood pressure military filing teeth at home why do employers ask if you receive food stamps what does bye mean in sports this phylum is by far the most numerous and diverse of all animal phylum. how deep to bury a cat how many slices in a papa john's large pizza repair leaky pvc joint difference between silverware and flatware is my birth certificate a bond standard comic book page count how much is two bits worth