-(c) 2008 earrachThe above shows the pathway of your father’s family name (in bold), making its way down to you over just the last several generations. Every single one of the other individuals in the diagram had an equal stake in your existence as well.
Remove any single dot in the entire pattern and
" poof ! "... you never existed !---------------------
Now I'm by no means disparaging all of the good folks who feel compelled to explore their "ancestry". I too have a deep reverence for my own Honorable Ancestors and all the Honored Dead. I'm just raising the point here that genealogy, as we've always encountered it, is often an illogical and deeply sexist discipline.
AND, while I'm being ornery about "ancestors", why do I always find myself needing to defend the simple logic of who's an ancestor and who's not? The old adage "you can chose your friends but you can't choose your relatives" brings us directly to the core of the matter. The word ancestor should be treated here as a descriptive term of the first order, it is not a euphemism. In our religious dealings we often run into folks who want to claim Mark Twain or Susan B. Anthony as "Spiritual Ancestors" and include them in what I'd call capital-"A" Ancestor work. I'm sorry guys, such characters from among the Honored Dead are certainly worthy of veneration, but unless you can trace your bloodline directly-to Mark Twain or Susan B. Anthony, you are seriously running the risk of offending your true ancestors (-a very serious matter,) by including members of the Dead not from your lines of familial descent.
IMHO, when the perennial dispute arises,
it can't get any simpler than to consult the following venn-diagram: