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My cousin is not my ancestor

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My cousin is not my ancestor

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:19 pm

At the risk of sounding like a pedantic grump. ....

I turned to the September issue's "My Family Hero" and as soon as I saw the phrase "My Victorian Ancestor", my heart sank. Because I knew what was coming next... Twice in the headings we are told that Louisa Twining is James' ancestor. And then in the text we are told that James is a cousin of Louisa several times removed. Then she's not his ancestor is she?

If this magazine can't use terms like ancestor and descendant correctly, why should I trust any of your technical terms? This isn't just a style issue like complaining about split infinitives - given the increasing use of DNA, we surely need to get these terms right or people may spend money on tests that will never work because they've misunderstood what the applicability is.

Please train your sub-editors (or whoever) in the correct usage of "ancestor, descendant and relative".

Adrian

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Re: My cousin is not my ancestor

Postby Victor Nutt » Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:23 pm

I totally agree, but surely it should be 'whomever'!! Or have I got it wrong again?

Another amateur pedant
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Re: My cousin is not my ancestor

Postby Guy » Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:37 am

That all depends one your definition of an ancestor.

For example three dictionary definitions are-

A person from whom one is descended
A person who serves as an influence or model for another
A person from whom an heir derives an inheritance

In the first definition then you are correct a cousin is not an ancestor but in the second and third they could well be.
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Re: My cousin is not my ancestor

Postby Sylcec » Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:27 am

Adrian - I heartily agree with you.
However, I'm afraid that it's a case of common usage winning again. I regularly see references to "my ancestor" in genealogy group discussions on, eg. facebook and other forums. Most of the time the person referred to is NOT an ancestor but a great uncle, cousin's 2nd husband, etc etc.

Almost equally annoying is that "genealogy" and "family history" are now frequently defined as having the same meaning - which to my understanding they do not. Yes, they are intimately connected, but have different meanings. Wikipedia has combined them as the same thing.

rant, rant, rant .... :)
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Re: My cousin is not my ancestor

Postby Editor » Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:18 pm

I'll have words with our sub-editor/myself and see if I can crack down on this!

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Re: My cousin is not my ancestor

Postby g w aldous » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:02 pm

AdrianB38 wrote:At the risk of sounding like a pedantic grump. ....

And then in the text we are told that James is a cousin of Louisa several times removed. Then she's not his ancestor is she?



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do you mean he is not her Ancestor or she is not his decendant.. :roll:
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Re: My cousin is not my ancestor

Postby Sylcec » Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:09 pm

No - he (Adrian) meant that Louisa is not James' ancestor!
i.e. James is not a descendent of Louisa.
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