Wednesday, October 28, 2009


If the Ancestry post was your first contact with the Alarmingly Bushy Family Tree Problem, then I hope it didn’t upset you. I worry about these things sometimes because the ABFTP can leave you feeling rootless. It needn’t, logically, but when has logic ever mattered to human beings?

Feeling rootless or otherwise doesn’t really bother me particularly, but for some people, especially those claiming to be Scottish it seems, it’s a big deal.

It is significant that the genealogy TV show is called Who do you think you are? Some ancestry researchers get a shock when they discover the skeletons in the tree because it affects their sense of identity. Good heavens, I'm part Belgian and Jeremy Kyle is my fifth cousin! But they’d get an even bigger shock if they contemplated the Alarmingly Bushy Family Tree Problem instead - not dissimilar, in fact, to the effect of the Total Perspective Vortex torture device in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

When you are put into the Vortex you are given just one momentary glimpse of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation, and somewhere in it a tiny little mark, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, which says, "You are here”.

So now that you have the truth about ancestry, be judicious about where and when you reveal it, especially if Scots of a nervous disposition are in the room. Remember: along with great power comes great responsibility. Mind how you go, folks.


worm said...

blimey, all this metaphysical philosophy everywhere is making my brain hurt

Anonymous said...

If you keep on going on about your Bushy Family Tree you will soon be posting poignant odes to the close kinship you have come to feel with Albanians. From there, it will be but a baby step to embracing (shudder) the French.

Brit said...

I'm the exception, Peter. I come from a fantastically inbred line of geniuses straight through Winston Churchill, Timothy Dexter and Leonardo Da Vinci all the way back to Mary Magdaelene.

Anonymous said...

Lucky you. My Bushy Tree seems to be groaning under the weight of too many Scots of a nervous disposition.