WHAT IS GENEALOGY?
Lorenzo Caratti di Valfrei wrote in his manual of genealogy that «genealogy is the science that verifies and studies the relations of consanguinity, affinity and fictive kinship, that exists among different people». The genealogist then, first has to establish the existence of some genealogical relationship through research and study, and then to classify and to measure the proximity of those Interpersonal relationships.
In this definition of genealogy, three important concepts can be found and they must be defined, that is:
1.Consanguinity, the relationship that ties people to each other in relation to generation and descent (Fig.1).
2.Affinity, the relationship that joins togheter a person (A) to the family of her partner (B) (Fig. 2).
3.Fictive kinship, the relationship that joins togheter a person (A) to those who, even if they are neither relatives or related, are genealogically bound to him (Fig. 3).
Of these three relationships I described, the only one that presents blood relation characteristics is consanguinity, whence it is said that the relationship of consanguinity is the most genuine type.
On the other hand the relationships of affinity and fictive kinship are social relationships, that is, they are built socially through unions such as marriage, and they can vary from society to society.
The genealogical research aims to identify the relatives, the affinities and the fictive relatives of a certain person.
Genealogy nowadays then is a science from all points of view, with a purpose and a research method that are peculiar to it.
The graphic description of the relationships that are to be found during research may be several, and for this reason, they cannot be discussed here. For instance, below there are two different kinds of graphic description that the relative captions will aim to understand.
At the end of the genealogical research, I will inform you of all the possible options you have in order to build a graphic representation of your own family tree.
Picture 4 shows an example of an ancestor genealogical table “per quarti” limited to the male and female ancestry of the grandfathers of the person. Each box, either square or circle, at the end of the research will be associated with a number according to the Sosa-Stradonitz method, and, on each occasion, it will identify the person through a special form that will contain some brief biographical information.
Beneath, picture 5 shows a classic genealogical ancestor ascending table of a family, that is starting from the progenitor until the person A.
The square represents a male person, whereas the circle represents a female one. Vertical lines represent the kinship relationships of different generations (father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc.) as regards to A, whereas horizontal lines represent the relationships of the same generation (brother, sister, cousin, etc.). In this example, the progenitor is the grandfather of A. The same A has furthermore 3 cousins, 2 males and 1 female, and 3 uncles.
The straight line that connects a square to a circle indicates the marriage link.
Genealogic ascending table “per quarti”
Genealogic ascending table of a family.
Picture 6 shows a Genealogical tree of a family with fief ancestry in the XVII century within the Vicenza province. As it can be seen, the name of the progenitor is written under the capital A and the table itself takes into account just the male descent line until the applicant person.
(the photo is published with the kind permission of Marangoni Mons. Antonio, director of the ecclesial archives of Vicenza diocese)