Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Is This The Top", "Where And When Do We Stop"

                  When is enough, how do we say clear and convincing?
This is a hard question to answer as this is different for everyone. I like to form an idea or theory about my subject, then dis-credit my theories by my research. Many times however, I find something factual and it leads me to other theories. A preponderance of evidence was the term used when primary resources were unavailable. Such as someone born in say 1830 may not have a birth record. where do we go from there. A Census record is a great secondary source as well as a Family Bible. If we can gather from these sources we can build a clear and convincing series of documentation that will establish our subject's.

Definition for clear and convincing evidence:

Web definitions:
The burden of proof (onus probandi) is the obligation to shift the accepted conclusion away from an oppositional opinion to one's...

Definition for preponderance of evidence:

Web definitions:
The burden of proof (onus probandi) is the obligation to shift the accepted conclusion away from an oppositional opinion to one's...

As we can reasonably see, the two phrases are basically the same. 

These are my tool for determining the where and when I stop looking for records, 
when they begin to get sketchy. That doesn't mean the road has ended, only
 that we mustn't lose the sight of our goals. My goals are to find as many primary
 records as possible, then as many secondary records (which are many times
 a majority of our evidence). I do look at specialty records and have found good
 records, but use them only if they coincide with my primary and secondary records
 beyond a reasonable doubt.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Ancient Genealogist"

Anselm Of Saint Mary
                     Anselm Of Saint Mary, also called Father Anselm, French Anselme De Sainte-marie, or Père Anselme, original name Pierre De Guibours   (born 1625, Paris—died Jan. 17, 1694, Paris), genealogist and friar whose history of the French royal family and nobility is a valuable source of detailed and unusual information.

Anselm entered the order of the Discalced Hermits of St. Augustine in 1644 and, remaining in their monastery (Couvent des Petits Pères), devoted his entire life to genealogical studies. Among his early works are Le Palais de l’honneur (1663–1668; “The Palace of Honour”), concerning the genealogy of the houses of Lorraine and Savoy; Le Palais de la gloire (1664; “The Palace of Glory”), dealing with the genealogy of various illustrious French and European families; and La Science héraldique (1675; “The Science of Heraldry”).
Father Anselm

His most important work is the Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de France, des pairs, des grands officiers de la couronne, et de la maison du roy et des anciens barons du royaume (2 vol., 1674; “Genealogical and Chronological History of the Royal House of France, the Peers, the Grand Officers of the Crown, and of the Royal and the Ancient Barons of the Realm”). After his death this history of French nobility was continued by Honoré Caille, seigneur du Fourny, who had encouraged its publication, and by two other friars at the monastery. The third and most complete edition is that of 1726–33. A valuable source, it contains in its notes exact references to many original documents.

Bonaventura Salimbeni "Glorification of the Eucharist"

Monday, September 10, 2012

"What To Do When There's Nothing New"

                      Well now, we've all been here before. I've been researching an ancestor for quite a while (over a year). I've poured over census records, birth, death, books, naturalization, and specialty records. I've contacted historical societies in all surrounding areas. I've called and interviewed every living relative on numerous occasions. I've searched all of the surrounding families according to the multiple census records (Federal and State). Still at this point, the only records I have are secondary resources. I've made a clear and convincing case; although, the perfectionist in me doesn't want to let go. I'll explain in greater detail below how to use Anthropology as a Genealogy resource.




  1. The study of humankind, in particular.
  2. The comparative study of human societies and cultures and their development.
More info »Wikipedia - - - Merriam-Webster 
Source of definition:

              Luckily, I have a portrait of my difficult to brick-wall to evaluate his physical characteristics
                    The photo I have, was taken in the (Davidson County) Tennessee area, in around ~1850, dark hair, dark eyes, medium build, substantial high hairline, and low cheek bones, as well as a prominent jaw line. Let me walk you through this and my photo is at the bottom to compare with my findings.

Germanic Phenotypes(Borrebys)

Mostly unreduced, brachycephalized, and depigmented Upper Paleolithic survivor of Cro-Magnoid stock, related to Dalo-Falid and Brünn on one hand and Alpinid on the other. The affiliation is essentially with the former, but a partial process of alpinization establishes an evolutionary relation to the latter. The southern and south-western border with fully alpinized central Europeans is blurry, and has resulted in a number of local intermediate types, such as the Belgian "Walloons type".

Modern Borrebys are derived, historically, from the old northwestern European coastal fishing population. In many places, such as the Norwegian coastal district of Jæren, Borrebys seem to have been among the first humans to settle permanently, during the late Mesolithic.

In modern times the Borreby type is found nowhere as a true population, except perhaps in Jæren and on the island of Fehmarn, off the German coast, where it exists in relative purity. Elsewhere it is strongly diluted with other elements.

Germanic Phenotypes(Borrebys)
            This is the closest match that I personally have observed, below is my ancestor
My Great Great Grandfather, "William Riley Rediker I"

                    If anyone try's this and likes it, please let me know I would love to hear any thoughts.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Universal Genealogical Abbreviations and Symbols"

                     While conducting research I've filled page after page with names, dates, places, and side-notes. I developed my own style of grouping facts from my research using key-board symbols, symbols and abbreviations that appear globally on a daily basis.

Example: ([-] for birth)([ _ ] for death)([=] for marriage)([@] for place)([~] for about)([<] for before)
([>] for after)                                      ([=II] for 2ND marriage)


"The Countries flag can be added to your research instead of the text"
Religious Signs and Symbols
This would be a fantastic idea in my humble opinion. I would love to have further input and ideas...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"The Source Too Turn To"

                      When we look for ancestors the basic stone we have to turn first is, where to start.
That's simple, in the best place that suits that ancestor. Okay, maybe that's a little broad complex. Below,
I'll list a few examples that are of my own personal opinion.

Let's see here...
                        *If I'm looking for someone born after 1940, where would I look?
                                                                           Answer = "City Directories"
                        *This is a great start and a bountiful secondary source.

                         *If I'm looking for someone born after 1880 &  before 1900, where do I look and why?
                                                                            Answer = "Birth Indexes"
                                                                                 Why = Missing 1890 U.S. Census Records.
Further Still...
                         *If I'm looking for someone who died after 1880 & before 1900, where would I look?
                                                                            Answer = "Newspaper Obituaries"
                                                                                 Why = No other stable record's unless your lucky.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"Decoded and Deciphered"

decodedpast participle, past tense of de·code (Verb)

  1. Convert (a coded message) into intelligible language.
  2. Analyze and interpret (a verbal or nonverbal communication or image): "a handbook to help parents decode street language".

decipheredpast participle, past tense of de·ci·pher (Verb)

  1. Convert (a text written in code, or a coded signal) into normal language.
  2. Succeed in understanding, interpreting, or identifying (something).
In many forms of Genealogy their comes a time when we must take text provided and decode or decipher it into plain
written text that's easily understood.


Deciphering Old Handwriting - From a
genealogy course taught by Sabina J. Murray

Old handwriting in genealogy research

Not only have our words and their meanings changed throughout the years, the way we form the letters have too.
In order to get the most information from the records that are available, we have to decipher these records and put meaning into the symbols we see on the old documents or papers that we find.
As we read old Bible, census, courthouse, archive and Church records to obtain the names, places and dates, often we are unclear at the words before us. Also, the further back we go - the harder it is to read.
An important note to remember is that much of the writing is "phonetic." They wrote the name the best that they could by how it sounded.
This on-line tutorial will help you understand these old records better.

The Leading "s"

One of the most dramatic changes in letters has been the letter "s."

Here is a regular lower case "s" and another "s" that looks like a backward lower case "f."

Over 100 years ago the "s" was often written like a backward "f." This strange symbol for "s" was used very commonly in instances where there was a "double s." The unusual s first, called the "leading s." Then the regular s.
Sabina came across this name, early in her research experience, in the U.S. Census. She interpreted this name to be "Jefse" (after all, there are some very unusual names on these records) Later on she found out about the correct translation and felt a little foolish. The true translation is "Jesse."

Here's how the "leading s" looks in old genealogy documents

Old Style Abbreviations
Some of the writing looks like our modern day shorthand. To save paper and time, abbreviations were used often. Here are some of the things you will encounter:

Lines were often used in abbreviations. They can be found over, under and through any given abbreviation.

Smaller letters (both top and bottom) are common.

Single and double dots are used in a variety of positions.
Here are some great examples of abbreviations in old style lettering that you will find on the US Census and many other types of records:

Proper Names | Places of Birth | Occupations


When we think about someone's mark, we usually think of an "x." But, there were many different kinds.
Many of our ancestors could not write. Many of the signatures on wills and other legal documents were signed by a court clerk, while the person made his or her "mark." Even if they could write, many people still used marks.
Look at some of these examples of marks:

Numbers were also different.
Here is a good example of how an "8" can look much like the number "6."

Are ready to try for yourself? Try to decipher these:

Here's a genealogy document with old handwriting that you can decipher. Apply what you have learned in this lesson.

Try your skills deciphering the old handwriting on this old genealogy document.

Now you are ready to try to solve the old handwriting mystery that had Sabina stumped for many years?

This is from the will of Doctor Jonathan Eammis from Montgomery County, Georgia in 1797.

The good Doctor left his dear friend Sands Standle, his still (medicinal purposes only), a rifle, a barrel shotgun, his notes of hand, personal estate, and even his wearing apparel.
He also left Sands Standle's wife a silver watch and...

a horse named Clumse.

Here is the big mystery...

What is the name of Sands Standle's wife???

This old handwriting puzzle was presented to many experts in the genealogical field over a period of 4-5 years. No one could give Sabina an answer.
This was the only record that Sabina had found that mentioned this person's name. She wondered why the letter "t" was in the name. And it seemed that there should be a CAPITAL "T" instead of the apparent lower case letter.

How the Answer Was Found...

Sabina deciphered many documents over the years. One day she saw the letter "A" in a document that looked just like the one in the mystery name.

Here are some examples of CAPITAL "A's" that are all squished together.

She immediately made the connection to her
long time puzzle. The mystery was solved!

Here is the name again. Can you tell now?
Try to decipher this for a minute before going to the answer. Remember it took her years.


About Sabina J. Murray:
Sabina J. Murray is an accredited genealogist, teacher and expert researcher based in Northeast Florida. She is a former director of a Family History Center and her old handwriting course has been enjoyed by millions since it went on-line in 1995. She has additional tutorials published on the Treasure Maps genealogy Web site at - Your resource for genealogy, family tree and family history products, research tools and other genealogy search helps.

Copyright © 1995-2007 by Robert Ragan - All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"The Most Unlikely of Places"

                 Throughout the researching process we may step into places we never would've expected to.
U.S. migrations are sketchy at best and complex in general.

The above link is a set of stories that will guide you through migratory channels of the United States. There are many stories here to assist in your Genealogy research of U.S. migratory routes.



Back in Time

The Cumberland Gap

By Rickie Longfellow
The Cumberland Gap, which measures 1,304 feet in altitude, is Nature's passage through the Cumberland Mountains between Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. One of three natural breaks in the rugged Appalachian Mountain range, it served as a gateway in prehistoric times, when Native Americans used it as a footpath and buffalo used it to seek greener pastures.
In 1750, Dr. Thomas Walker, an English naturalist and scientist, led a small party of explorers to the Gap after hearing Native American descriptions of the pathway through, rather than over the mountains. Walker called it the Cave Gap, and named the river north of the pass the Cumberland River, after the Duke of Cumberland, son of Britain's King George II, who funded Walker and his group. In 1769, Daniel Boone explored the area and in 1775 he blazed the 200-mile trail known as Boone's Path or Boone's Road. The trail, beginning at the Gap, passed through Virginia to Kentucky's Bluegrass Region.
View of Cumberland Gap from the east.
View of Cumberland Gap from the east.
Photo from the Wilderness Road Company Web Site.
If the journey was not treacherous enough, there was also the occasional massacre by renegade natives. During the summer and fall of 1784, more than 100 travelers were killed on the Kentucky side of the gap. Like the ill-fated Donner Party, travelers had to abandon wagons full of household necessities in bad weather to travel the narrow gap by foot or horse. By 1796 it was known as the Wilderness Road having seen as many as 200,000 travelers, including Abraham Lincoln's parents and grandparents as they emigrated west. The Gap was then widened to allow Conestoga Wagons through to lands west.The Gap was used for commerce by 1800. Kentuckians drove long lines of horses and cattle through the Gap to the markets in the east. But by the 1830s, other east/west routes had been established, including the National Road, causing the Gap's popularity to decline.
During the Civil War both North and South held the Gap, prepared for an invasion that never happened. Both sides cleared and chopped the terrain. On September 9, 1863 a soldier from the 125th Ohio, O.G. Swingburg, wrote, "The trees, which had formerly covered the mountains were all cut down. Their trunks lie tangled and scattered in all directions to prevent rapid charges of infantry. Surely, a valley of death could not have been more skillfully constructed. All who walked that road today would agree that had the charge been made, it would have been the last road walked in eternity. It would have been murder to have ordered that assault." In 1866, the Federal Army abandoned the road after exchanging it several times with the Confederacy.
The Cumberland Gap Tunnel. This is the Tennessee portal where you can see the viaduct approach to the tunnel. Photo by H.B. Elkins.
The Cumberland Gap Tunnel. This is the Tennessee portal where you can see the viaduct approach to the tunnel. Photo by H.B. Elkins.
Photo from the Cumberland Gap Tunnel Web Site
Then the railroads came, but they bypassed the Gap after the Civil War, further easing east /west travel. The arrival of the automobile rekindled interest in using the Gap again. In 1908, the U.S. government built a "macadamized" road (layers of compacted broken stone) connecting Middlesboro, Kentucky to Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, and called it the Government Pike. The new road passed by Soldier's Cave, which became a tourist attraction, bringing more automobiles to the area. In 1916, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee built a similar road connecting the Government Pike to the "Dixie Highway" system.
In 1920, Lincoln Memorial University bought the Gap and tourist attraction "Cudjo's Cave" and surrounding land. In 1925, the Gap was included in the planning of U.S. Highways, on U.S. 411's planned route from Bristol, Virginia, to Corbin, Kentucky. The Tennessee approach was not included, as it had been in the Dixie Highway. U.S. 25 had been assigned to much of the Dixie Highway. By 1926, U.S. 25 was split with an eastern leg passing through the Cumberland Gap. U.S. 58 replaced U.S. 411 in 1934.
In the 1940's, The Cumberland Gap National Historic Park was established to protect and control the 20,000 acres of forested mountain. The tourism of the Cave was booming and with electricity installed, accommodations for overnight lodging was provided. Tennessee shares Cumberland Gap National Historic Park with Kentucky and Virginia, where the famous mountain pass lies.
In the 1990s, the Cumberland Gap Tunnel, a four-lane twin-bore mountain tunnel 4,600 feet long, was built under the mountain to replace the dangerous Gap road. The Federal Highway Administration's Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division administered the tunnel project for the National Park Service. The tab was $280 million, more than twice the estimate, since the old mountain had some surprises for the engineers-a system of underground streams.
The old Gap road was closed, with an estimated 5 deaths per year attributed to it. The Federal Highway Administration spent about $5 million to remove all traces of the old road on the Kentucky-Virginia border and to restore the land to its original beauty. Talented work crews using descriptions from old journals and maps have recreated the terrain to the appearance Daniel Boone first saw. The Cumberland Gap has come full circle through time-the man-made road is gone and the ancient trails returned.

Web Sources:

Monday, August 27, 2012

“poor, protestant, Palatines.”


  1. (of an official or feudal lord) Having local authority that elsewhere belongs only to a sovereign.
  2. Of or relating to the palate or esp. the palatine bone.
Each of two bones within the skull forming parts of the eye socket, the nasal cavity, and the hard palate.
More info »Wikipedia - - - Merriam-Webster


The first of this family to come to America, arrived in the year 1710. They came as refugees from the German Palatine. Their trek to the New World had led them by way of Holland and England.
The name was originally spelled Merkel or Merckel and pronounced in German as “Mare-kil”. The Palatines settled among, and intermarried with, the Dutch in Ulster County, New York. Here they soon were using the prevailing language which was Holland Dutch. (At Kingston church preaching was in Dutch until 1809).
In 1673, twenty-five years after the “Thirty Years War” ended in 1648, Louis XIV of France began his marauding expeditions for the purpose of exterminating the Protestant heretics. Destructive raids laid waste to the Palatine countryside. This ruthless pillage continued until 1688 when the French King himself entered the land “to make it a wilderness” as he declared.
The villages, towns and farms of the Rhine regions were pillaged and burned, and their inhabitants tortured, ravished or slain. Few escaped the country. Those who survived were spared further horrors when, in 1705, England, Holland, Sweden, and Prussia intervened and threatened reprisals unless this carnage ceased. The way of Spanish Succession followed (1701-1713) but it touched only lightly on the already devastated country.
Added to the horrors of the war, there came further to harass the unfortunate Palatines the unusually severe winters of 1703 and 1709. Vineyards and orchards were blasted by the cold. Birds froze on the wing, fires failed to warm the shivering populace. Also, there came ecclesiastical regulations that made still more unbearable the life of these “poor, protestant, Palatines.”
Their only salvation lay in migrating to other lands. The first group of 41 (men, women and children) left for England by way of Holland in 1708. They were led by the Rev. Joshua Von Kocherthal, a Lutheran minister, whose wife and three children were among the refugees. In London, they petitioned Queen Anne for permission to sail to one of the British Colonies in America. Hearing of their extreme poverty the good Queen granted them each a shilling a day towards their sustenance until a decision was reached.
England desired to expand her frontiers in the New World, so transportation for “these honest and laborious Palatines” was arranged on the British ship “Globe”. A special act of naturalization made them “denizens of the Kingdom.” (It is perhaps for reasons of gratitude that some of their immediate descendants, in the days of the American Revolution, seemed to have Tories and British sympathies, even to the extent of moving to Canada.”
This first group of Palatines  landed 60 miles up the Hudson River and built a town they called “Neuberg”, now called Newburgh, New York.  Queen Anne supplied them with agricultural implements and foodstuffs for one year. In exchange, the Palatines were to supply lumber for the Royal Navy.
A year later, when pastor Von Kocherthal returned to England for additional aid, he found 3000 refugees there. They were living in tents on the Black Heath of London. The queen acceded to his wishes that they too be sent to America to join the others. This time a whole flotilla of vessels was needed. They sailed from London in January, 1710. Among the ships was the “Globe”, making it’s second crossing with Palatine refugees.
For months this fleet of sailing ships with human cargo was tossed about on the stormy winter’s sea. At least one ship was wrecked and 470 immigrants died during the voyage. Another 250 succumbed after landing in New York on the 14th of June, 1710. After a period of quarantine on Nutten (now Governor’s Island, they proceeded upriver and settled on both sides of the Hudson, above Neuberg (New Town).
As time passed, some of the settlers moved on into the Schoharie Valley of New York and into parts of Pennsylvania. In the next few years Palatines migrated to the new land. Some of the ships landed at New York and some at Philadelphia.
One of the towns settled on the Hudson’s west bank was West Camp (now Saugerties) near Kingston. Here the minister who worked with Pastor Von Kocherthal was Dominie Haeger of the Dutch Reformed Church. It is in the records of the Dutch Church at West Camp that we first find mention of the name “MERKEL”. It was here, on 26 Dec 1711, that a baby born on the ship “Globe” was baptized. It was Johan Adam Merkel, son of Fredrik Merkel and Barbara Alman. [Adam was actually born 10 Dec 1711 in West Camp, Albany, New York]
We have no record of all the names in that second massive migration of the Palatine refugees, but from the baptismal record we know that Fredrik Merkel and his wife, Barbara, arrived with them.

The Palatinate Forest (GermanPfälzerwald) is a low-mountain region in southwestern Germany, located in the Palatinate in the state ofRhineland-Palatinate. The forest is a designated nature park (GermanNaturpark Pfälzerwald), equivalent Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), covering 1,771 km² and its highest elevation is Mount Kalmit (673 m).
Together with the northern part of the adjacent Vosges Mountains in France it forms the UNESCO Biosphere reserve Palatinate Forest-Vosges du Nord. The Biosphere reserve is one of the biggest forests in Europe.

Below this source-link are a great set of maps:

Read the free e-book Authored by:Sanford Hoadley Cobb

cyber link(s) to more information specific to this subject:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Paying it Forward" Genealogy etiquette

                 There are many people who conduct Genealogy research for personal or profitable reasons. Whether we are the big shiny Genealogist or the average working class Genealogist one thing combines them, "A natural love of Genealogy."
                 Let's face it, not everyone wakes up in the morning and says, "I can't wait to search those historic records." Genealogy isn't easy to do if someone lacks the passion it undoubtedly will demand. From my experience I'm probably an average working class Genealogist. This doesn't mean that I can't do the same thing big shiny Genealogist do, it only means they have more time to do it. I love Genealogy, I'll be doing this until they put my headstone on Find a
                 I enjoy reading the articles and looking at the links that are posted on media I explore, where are the human aspects I envision. I work with people who have the ooh look at me I'm important perspective. Assuredly, they might be important and who am I to call them out. I've been after pictures from someone for the better part of a year. I even offered they name their price and I'd pay them for the pictures. I didn't even get a response. Personally, I would have rather received a "NO" the kicker is that these pictures I'm requesting to purchase were donated by my Family no less. If only they had known and could have given them while retaining the rights.
                This post is slightly a ramble of aggravation and I apologize but the point is, "protect your Family Heritage" and watch big shiny people that have nothing better to do than give you a hard time. I would like to have these pictures for my first book I've been writing and I'm drawing to a close (hence the aggravation).

                I'm remembering a promise I made to a Genealogist not to long ago and I'm keeping it now.  Have a blessed evening to the withholding person of my Family History and I wish you the kindest regards by "paying it forward."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Perception is not always Reality"


  1. The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.
  2. The state of being or process of becoming aware of something in such a way.
Synonyms:realization - understanding - comprehension


  1. The world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them: "he refuses to face reality".
  2. A thing that is actually experienced or seen, esp. when this is grim or problematic: "the harsh realities of life".
Synonyms:actuality - fact - truth - verity

The way we look at events, people, places, and history is our reality. However, The notion of those events, people, places, and history are our perceptions of reality.


Originally appeared in: Several hundred publications
Now appears in: Human Origins: The Search for Our Beginnings by Herbert Thomas (Also discussed in Dry Store Room No. 1 by Richard Fortey, and discussed in detail in The Piltdown Forgery by J.S. Weiner)
Perhaps the best known case of scientific fraud, the Piltdown Man was believed to be the earliest-known human from Western Europe. In fact, it was the jaw of an ape (with filed teeth) paired with a human skull. Amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson collected a skull fragment in 1911, and claimed that workmen digging in the gravel pit where the fragment was found had given him another piece years earlier. More excavations turned up more material. Skeptics who suspected that the skull and jaw came from two different animals were flummoxed at the 1915 find of a second individual (Piltdown II) two miles away. Many (planted) animal fossils from the area corroborated Piltdown Man. The Piltdown forgery was far from amateurish; the perpetrator(s) understood human and ape anatomy, fossils of "contemporary" fauna, and even the gravel beds where the fossils were collected. It wasn't until 1953 that three scientists (Sir Wilfrid Le Gros Clark, Kenneth Oakley and Joseph Weiner) uncovered the hoax. Even now, the perpetrator is unknown. Suspects include English anatomist Sir Arthur Keith and British Museum employee Martin Hinton. Some speculation has even fingered Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame, although most suspicion has settled on Charles Dawson. Exposure of the Piltdown fraud helped pave the way for acceptance of genuine hominid fossils, such as Raymond Dart'sAustralopithecus africanus, whose implications (evolution of bipedalism before big brains) had been "disproved" by Piltdown.


Investigation of the Historical Dating
Investigation of the Correctness of the Historical Dating
Wieslaw Z. Krawcewicz, Gleb V. Nosovskij and Petr P. Zabreiko
In modern times mathematics has become an inseparable part of human culture, in which it plays a fundamental role. Throughout the centuries mathematics has been a crucial tool in the hands of mankind. It has allowed us to understand the fundamental principles of the universe, for example Newton's law of gravity, Einstein's equivalence of mass and energy, Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism, the laws of quantum mechanics for elementary particles, and even the Big Bang theory. The advances in interplanetary exploration and rapid development of computer technology wouldn't have been possible without mathematics.
Scientists, in their struggle to improve our understanding, have untangled the principal problems of biology and unveiled the secrets of life. However, the times when it was sufficient for a biologist to know only elementary arithmetic and graphs of functions are long gone. Today, they need much more advanced mathematics like linear and multilinear algebras, mathematical analysis, the theory of differential and functional equations, statistics and discrete mathematics. Branches of biology like genetics or ecology are considered as parts of mathematics. Mathematics also opens new possibilities for medicine. Mathematical models are used to understand our bodies and to find optimal treatment for diseases.
More and more mathematics is used in the social sciences like economics, psychology, sociology, demography, social epidemiology and criminology. Not surprisingly, mathematics is also trying to make its contribution in history, where it addresses a very serious problem of reliability of the accounts of historical events. How can we be sure that the historical events that we learn about in school or from books really took place? Maybe some of them are simply fairy tales that, because of some mysterious circumstances, are considered now to be historical facts.
History of the Global Chronology
The fundamental question that should be asked is what is the origin of our historical knowledge. We all learned our history at school and generally accepted it as a true description of the actual events. However, even in our lifetime some of the recent historical events that we witnessed are not always described in the way we remember them. How can we be sure that the description of the events that took place centuries ago is accurate? Moreover, why should we believe that these historical events really happened at the time and place that is allocated to them? In order to answer these questions we must look at the history of history.
The early historians (for example Thucydides, Herodotus, Ssu-ma Ch'ien and others) were describing history of small territories over short periods of time. Ancient and medieval manuscripts that are available today usually present accounts of events in separate countries over a time scale of no more than one or two centuries. The fundamental problem encountered by historians in 16th and 17th centuries working on reconstruction of the global history of mankind was putting together in chronological order all of the manuscripts, chronicles and other historical documents to obtain a unified and consistent account of all historical events. This was an extremely difficult problem for that time. The main obstacle was that most of the manuscripts were not dated, or used an unknown or archaic system of dating, and contained only a description of a sequence of successive events. It should be stressed out that the most of historical documents that we have today, related to ancient and medieval times, are not original but only copies made some time ago, often under suspicious circumstances.
The idea of reconstructing global history emerged during the late Renaissance. The official historical chronology, presently commonly acknowledged, was originated by the Italian theologian and scientist I. Scaliger (1540-1609). He determined the exact dates of the most important historical events like the Peloponnesian War, Trojan War, founding of Rome, etc., but did not prove none of his dates. His followers continued this work and it is commonly accepted that the official chronology was given its final shape by D. Petavius (1583-1652). It is strange that other historians, in spite of the scientific advantages, very rarely modified the dates of the basic historical events assigned by Scaliger and Petavius.
In summary, according to Scaliger, Petavius and their followers, the events of the ancient world took place from about 3,500 years B.C. till the fifth century A.D. As their results were never independently confirmed, there is an outstanding question of the credibility of this chronology. By the way, not all of the statements made by Scaliger turned out to be true, as for example, his geometrical proof of the quadrature of the circle , which he defended ferociously all his life.
Critics of the Traditional Chronology
Even among scholars, not all contemporaries of Scaliger and Petavius, supported their chronology. For example, in the sixteenth century D. Arcilla, a professor of Salamanca University in Spain, claimed that all ancient history was a fabrication made in the middle ages. The director of the French Royal Library, Jean Hardouin (1646-1729) declared that practically all the antiquities and ancient texts were created (or falsified) after 12th century. The most famous scientist of that epoch, Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), was also against the chronology of Scaliger and Petavius. Newton published a large monograph entitled "The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended," in which he re-dated key ancient events by shifting them several hundreds years forward. There were many more scientists, philologists, historians, and jurists who objected to the chronology of Scaliger and Petavius. We should also mention recent and contemporary critics of the conventional chronology in Germany, including W. Kammeier, H. Illig, U. Topper, H-U. Niemitz, G. Heinsohn, and C. Blss (see [13,14,15]).
Nicolai A. Morozov and His Version of Chronology
The first scholar who suggested new powerful methods to correct chronological mistakes, was prominent Russian scientist N.A. Morozov (1854-1946). He published a fundamental monograph composed of seven large volumes, entitled "Christ. History of Human Culture from the Standpoint of the Natural Sciences" (see [1]). Morozov analyzed in it the conventional chronology using the latest discoveries in mathematics, astronomy, linguistics, philology and geology. He suggested a new version of the global chronology and a historical reconstruction. According to N.A. Morozov all the ancient events occurred after 3rd century AD.
Anatoly T. Fomenko and His Version of Chronology
In 1970s at the Moscow State University, a group of young mathematicians undertook the task of the verification and further development of Morozov's research in global chronology. One of them, Professor A.T. Fomenko introduced several new methods of independent dating and after several years of investigation he proposed a new version of global chronology, which was even more radical that the version of N.A. Morozov. He claimed that the recorded history of mankind started not earlier than the year 900 AD, while the majority of historical events, which make our history, refer to the time after the year 1300 AD (see [2,3]).
The New Chronology
In collaboration with G.V. Nosovskij, A.T. Fomenko continued his work on the development of new independent scientific methods for dating of ancient events. In 1993-1996, completely new results were established by them on the chronology of Russia and China. Their work resulted in stating the New Chronology, which is a new concept of the global chronology and history. It is based on the chronological version of A.T. Fomenko, to which new proofs and improvements were introduced. It led to the further shifting of the "starting point" of the known history to the 11th century AD (see [6,7,8]).
We should mention an important pillar of this theory, which is the astronomical dating of the Ptolemy's Star Catalogue in "Almagest" obtained by A.T. Fomenko, V.V. Kalashnikov and G.V. Nosovskij (see [4]). In the conventional chronology the epoch of Ptolemy, who was the last great astronomer of the antiquity, is considered to be the second century AD. However, the analysis of vast amount of the astronomical information contained in his star catalogue proved that the only possible time of creation of this catalogue was from 7th to 13th century AD, which is at least 500 years later. Consequently, it is impossible that this astronomical data was collected in the second century. This result strongly contradicts the conventional chronology of Scaliger and Petavius, while it perfectly fits the New Chronology.
Methods of the New Chronology
It is an interesting question, how the above claims could be made and justified. In fact, this work started with constructing a large chronological table covering all periods of human history. Next, it was attempted to discover in it some unusual phenomena, contradictions and disagreements, simply something that could never happen. Apparently, this idea was not easy to carry out. Numerous heavy books devoted to the chronology are arranged in a frustrating manner (see [10,11]). There are no modern monographs presenting a detailed description of the global chronology, useless to even mention proofs of its correctness in principle.
A.T. Fomenko and his collaborators compiled a global chronology table using all available sources such as old chronicles, chronological tables, including the Blair's canonical chronological tables and the most recent monographs. In spite of the fact that the available data from different sources didn't always match, they were able to put together the global chronology enclosing almost the whole history of the mankind. This massive work could be done only with the use of computers.
From the point of view of mathematics, the chronology represent an object called a function. More precisely, we can write it as a function denoted by H(t, x1,x2), which depends on the three variables: t - the time of a historical event and (x1,x2) - the geographical coordinates (longitude and latitude) of the place where this event occurred, or we can simply say that its domain is the Cartesian product of numeric half line and the sphere. The values of the function H(t, x1,x2) represent the fragments of historical recordings describing this particular event.
The above Figure 1 illustrates the "chronology" function H. On the left hand side of Figure 1 the concentric spheres represent the domain of H. More precisely, the red arrow stands for the time axis where the points correspond to specific dates. For example, the inside coloured sphere illustrates events of the year 1320 at specific locations. The larger spheres on this figure correspond to the years 1415 and 1985. In this way, with every date in history we can associate a sphere on which the corresponding events are indicated. To every place on the Earth we can associate a ray originating at its centre to mark the dates of the events that occurred at this place. The books symbolize available descriptions of the historical events. The green arrows indicate the exact fragments of the available descriptions corresponding to certain concrete events. Briefly, the chronology is a database parameterized by points of the Cartesian product R+ x S2, i.e. the product of the half-axis R+ and the sphere S2. Naturally, this function is not convenient for mathematical analysis. Clearly the set of values of the function H does not have any natural mathematical structure. However, the information contained in the function H allows us, on the one side, to construct a variety of scalar (numeric) functions which can be easily analyzed with mathematical methods, and on the other side, to provide essential information on the nature of the historical events. An example of a simple scalar function, which can be easily extracted from the historical database, is the functions of the time-span of the reign of subsequent rulers belonging to a certain specific dynasty. Such a `dynasty' function can be illustrated by its graph, see Figure 2.
On the horizontal axis are placed the subsequent numbers of the consecutive rulers (or names of kings, emperors, etc.) and on the vertical axis is marked the length of the reign of the corresponding ruler. We will call such a sequence of rulers a numerical dynasty or simply a dynasty. The dynasty in the above example consists of 12 rulers.
There is another way to analyze chronicles by extracting numerical information from them. For example we can associate with a text X a sequence of integers, which are the numbers of words H(X(T)) in the chapter describing the year T (or simply the volume of a year fragment). We call H(X(T)) the volume function for X. There are also possibilities for other numerical functions like the number of references to the year T in subsequent years, the number of all names of historical persons listed in the text, or the frequencies showing how often these names were mentioned in the whole text. In his monograph [2], A.T. Fomenko used these functions to analyze similarities and differences between documents referring either to the same epoch or two different epochs. It is clear that for two different documents X and Y the functions H(X(T)) and H(Y(T)) can be completely different even if they refer to the same epoch. However, if the functions H(X(T)) and H(Y(T)) have local maxima practically at the same positions it means that these two chronicles describe the same historical epoch. A.T. Fomenko called it the principle of maximal correlation. This principle was empirically checked using the reliable historical data of 16th - 19th centuries, and its correctness was confirmed. Therefore, the locations of the maxima constitute the numerical data that can be associated with the text X in order to characterize the epoch it is referring to.
The methods of Fomenko are based on theoretical and numerical analysis of these and other similar functions describing historical data. In particular, he introduces a routine for distinguishing functions referring to different dynasties and defines a certain measure of distinctiveness between them (or a probability measure for distinctiveness). In simple words, he found a way to measure a `distance' between the above numerical functions (like for example dynasty functions) in a similar way to measuring distance between two different locations. Mathematicians say that in such a situation they are dealing with a metric space. The geometry of such metric spaces is definitely different from the geometry we learn in school, but the usual properties related to the measurement of distances are still valid in these spaces. If a distance between towns A and B is less than one kilometre we are justified to think that in fact A and B represent the same town. Similarly, if in the space of functions a distance between two dynasty functions is sufficiently small we may think that indeed they represent the same dynasty. These methods were extensively tested on the data referring to well documented. It was proved that if two dynasty functions (for 15 rulers) or volume functions were not related, the measure of distinctiveness between numerical functions associated with these dynasties was between 1 and 10-4. However, in the case of related events from the same epoch, the measure of distinctiveness was never higher than 10-8.
The work of Fomenko and his collaborators proves that the statistical analysis can be successfully applied to analyze the numerical data contained in historical documents. A.T. Fomenko and G.V. Nosovskij also developed several other statistical criteria for distinguishing or recognizing identical sequences of historical events. We should mention for example the method of detecting of chronological shifts based on the names distribution in chronicles and the method of relation matrices used to recognize duplicates and decompose chronicles into its source fragments (see [6]).
What is Wrong With the Traditional Chronology
It is difficult to imagine that two different dynasties could have identical or almost identical dynasty functions. The probability of such a coincidence is extremely small already for dynasties composed of 10 rulers. Nevertheless, the number of such coincidences, for even longer dynasties of 15 rulers, turns out to be unexpectedly large. N.A. Morozov, who noticed the coincidence between the ancient Rome and the ancient Jewish state, discovered the first examples of surprisingly identical pairs of dynasty graphs. A formal method to study such similarities was introduced by A.T. Fomenko (see the reference list in [2]).
There is another surprise, besides coincidence of the dynasty functions, the other numerical functions confirm with very high probability that these dynasties are indeed the same. It brings us to a suspicion that in fact we are dealing with repetitions in the conventional version of the history. Fomenko discovered dozens of strong coincidences, sometimes between three and more dynasties. But, there are no more such coincidences in the history of the better-documented epochs, for example starting from the 16th century.
As an example, we would like to discuss two dynasties, one the dynasty of the Holy Roman-German Empire (10th - 13th AD) and another one of the Jewish kings according the Bible (9th - 5th BC). On Figure 3, we represent the vertical time line with two graphs of reign durations on its opposite sides for comparison. On this chart, we start the dates for the dynasty of Jewish kings in the year zero, which is not a date according to some era but simply indicates the starting "zero" point for this dynasty. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the beginning of this dynasty is around 922 B.C. Figure 3 was taken from A.T. Fomenko monograph [2].
There are many more examples of similar dynasty pairs in the conventional chronology. For instance, the parallel between the first period of the Roman episcopate in 141-314 A.D. and the second period of the Roman episcopate in 314-532 A.D. is shown in Figure 4.
On Figure 5, we present another pair of graphs, this time without annotations. All these graphs were also taken from the monograph [2].
These parallels suggest that the traditional history of ancient times consist of multiple recounts of the same events scattered in many locations at various times. The first scientist who realized it was N.A. Morozov (see [1]). Further progress was made by A.T. Fomenko who succeeded to decipher the principle structure of these duplicates in Roman and Biblical history (see [2]). On Figure 6, we show a graphical representation of his result related to the Roman and European history. The chronological blocks annotated by the same letters (what we also emphasised by adding colours) represent duplicates in the conventional chronology.
What Does Analysis of Astronomical Data Confirm?
One of the most important and convincing methods used for dating of historical events is the astronomical dating. For instance, the accurate astronomical computations indicate that the Peloponnesian war took place not in the 6th century BC, as it is assumed by the conventional chronology, but in the 11th century AD, or even later (see [2], Vol.1, pp. 20-22). A very important example was already mentioned; it is the dating of star catalogue in the Almagest (see [4]).
During the recent years a significant progress was done in the old problem of decoding and dating of ancient Egyptian zodiacs. It was discovered that the principal structure of a typical Egyptian zodiac was much more elaborated and complex than it was assumed before. In fact, the amount of the astronomical information contained in such a zodiac is completely sufficient not only to accurately calculate its date, but also to determine its correct decoding (see [11,12]).
Egyptian zodiac is nothing else than a symbolic representation of astronomical objects inside the zodiacal belt. One of the most famous examples is the Round zodiac from the Denderah temple in Egypt. On Figure 7 we show a drawing of this zodiac. We used colours to indicate figures with different types of astronomical meaning.
Let us briefly explain the structure of an Egyptian zodiac (we refer to [11,12] for more details). It was discovered in [11,12] that an Egyptian zodiac presents an astronomical description of the whole calendar year during which the main date occurred. This date is encoded in the zodiac by its main horoscope. On Figure 7, the main horoscope on the Round zodiac is marked in yellow. Four solstices and equinox days, belonging to the same year, were described by partial horoscopes. In our example these horoscopes are marked in light-blue (see Figure 7). There also could be other astronomical scenes present (see the symbols marked in green on Figure 7). The whole structure of an Egyptian zodiac is illustrated on Figure 8.
The results of astronomical dating of Egyptian zodiacs sharply contradict the conventional chronology (see [11,12]). For example the final astronomical solution for the main date on the Round Denderah zodiac was the morning of March 20, 1185 AD. Let us mention that in the same Denderah temple there was another large zodiac, usually called the Long Denderah zodiac. The date shown on this zodiac turned out to be April 22-26, 1168 AD. These two dates suggest that the Denderah temple was commemorating some events that occurred in 12th century AD. Of course, it completely contradicts the conventional chronology, but perfectly agrees with the New Chronology. The situation with other Egyptian zodiacs is even "worse," because it was proved that their dates in case of temple zodiacs range from the 12th to 15th century, and for some zodiacs in tombs and on coffins, they are even later.
What Critics of the New Chronology Say?
We will discuss some of typical arguments against the New Chronology. One of the most popular arguments in support of the conventional chronology is that the carbon-14 dating method supports it. But in fact it is not true. The carbon-14 method, which was discovered by Willard Libby, is based on the measurement of the radiocarbon level in organic samples. It assumes essentially uniform level of the isotope carbon-14 in every living material, but it is now clear that carbon-14 was never homogeneously distributed. In fact, in order to improve its "accuracy," the carbon-14 method was calibrated using samples of "known" age. It was done by constructing the so-called calibration curves, which are dependent on the conventional chronology. That means the carbon-14 dating method is secondary and is not able either confirm or discard any chronological theory. In addition, the errors induced by this method exceed all reasonable time intervals. We would like to point out that if the global chronology was changed, the carbon-14 dating method would also work nicely with the new dating system. It is not possible to present here a complete discussion of this complicated problem (we refer the reader to [2], Vol.1, pp. 133-136, [3], Vol.1, pp. 184-214, and [13]).
There are other arguments, of different type, claiming that there is nothing abnormal in coincidence of dynasty functions for different dynasties. For instance, we know that the probability of having winning lottery is very small but still there are communities that have one or more lottery winners. So, even very unlike events could happen. Critics of the New Chronology often mention that biographies of certain rulers, like Napoleon and Hitler (both dictators) are quite similar, so by applying the method of Morozov and Fomenko we should consider them to be the same person and ultimately make a senseless statement that the first 20 years of the 19th century are simply the years thirties and forties of the 20th century. There are many more similar arguments, but all of them miss the point that extremely rare events only happen in large samples. For example, although the chances of having a winning lottery ticket are extremely small, nevertheless the probability that somebody wins is one. But, this is not the case with the unrelated dynasty functions, for which the coincidence in the whole sample is even less probable than the coincidence of two random fingerprints.
There is also a claim that the "strange" coincidences between dynasty functions could be removed by making appropriate corrections of the historical data. However, even with modified dates the probability arguments still hold.
Regarding the archaeological dating, we should point out that it is closely dependent on the conventional chronology. The usual dating procedure in archaeology is based on the comparison of the excavated objects with objects already dated. In this procedure, finding some objects of identifiable style or origin can lead to a conclusion of the age of the whole site. The whole process is highly subjective and cannot be considered as a proof of the conventional chronology.
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A.T. Fomenko, Empirico-Statistical Analysis of Narrative Material and Its Applications to Historical Dating. Volume 1: The Development of the Statistical Tools. Volume 2: The Analysis of Ancient and Medieval Records. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 1994.
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A.T. Fomenko, T.N. Fomenko, W.Z. Krawcewicz, G.V. Nosovskij, Mysteries of the Egyptian Zodiacs and Other Riddles of Ancient History. To appear.
Christian Blss, Hans-Ulrich Niemitz, C14-Crash. (Das Ende der Illusion mit Radiokarbonmethode und Dendrochronologie datieren zu k\"onnen). Mantis Verlag, Gr\"afelfing, 1997.
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