Monday, January 4, 2016

Kickin’ it with Sir Anthony Wagner and LCD Soundsystem

"All history is biased by accidents of documentation, the accident of whether evidence survives or not and the personal bias of those who have written things down." -- Sir Anthony Wagner, Pedigree and Progress: Essays in the Genealogical Interpretation of History, ix.

When we look hard enough at biographies and historical publications, we can see genealogy hiding in the corners or up close and personal within the narratives. Sir Anthony Wagner's 1975 publication, Pedigree and Progress, bias, theory, and the contribution of genealogy to history are discussed. Pages of pedigree provide the reader with what I would call pedigree trees; if you study them you can see the trends, the outliers, and the historical significance of these lineages and how they impact other pedigrees, generations and history. The study of bias itself leads to interesting theory and mindset. As genealogists, we automatically evaluate what is in front of us, optimistic that those independently created sources are truthful, and we test the voracity of records with hypothesis and analysis. Reading this book will shed fresh light on these ideas and possibly lead to new avenues within your research.

Although a passive mention, tribal claims of kinship (Maori Chief Tamarau's recitation of thirty four generations, fourteen hundred names that took over three days) is comparatively shown with Welsh and other heraldry -- which would be a hapu study within itself. Any publication that can slyly integrate a Polynesian example with essays on generally European and British Isles pedigrees will be near and dear to my heart.  

While reading Sir Anthony Wagner, I suggest listening to Sound of Silver by LCD Soundsystem. I picture Wagner being a fantastical orator and this album will bring it down a few levels to make you want to curl up and read rather than sit up straight in a drafty home. Enjoy this book for it will open your mind!

LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver