In a message dated 11/11/2002 8:59:00 AM Eastern Standard Time,
<< The aquaintance then told me something very telling...she is definitely
related to William the Conqueror. Though she didn't come right out and tell
me that she is a convert to Judaism, I had suspected this, and this
relationship would seem to be the proof. She had mentioned it to a friend
and her husband mentioned at the same time that he is a descendant of King
Just that we believe something is true doesn't make it true. Most Jews, if
they can find a rabbi in their past, can reliably trace their ancestry back
to Rashi--provided they don't mind the fact that there's a brief gap in
Rashi's descendant line. Rashi's line can be traced back to David, again with
a few gaps . . .
Reality is that we are about 100 generations removed >from David, which,
allowing for just two descendants per generation would in theory give King
David approx 10 followed by 30 zeroes putative descendants. It is very
unlikely that any of us would not be counted among those zillions.
A strong believe in our ancestry, way back when, may be interesting, but
proves nothing beyond our willingness to accept fantasy. I have strong
evidence that suggests that my BERNET family takes its name >from some YomTov
ancestors in Grenada and Provence in the 12th century. Very interesting.
When I'm more sober I am more ready to assume that the name comes >from a
Franconian mispronunciation of Tov as Dov, which means Bear, whence BERnet, a
not uncommon gentile name in the region. But Grenada grandees sound better
for my noble aspirations than Franconian peasants who couldn't tell the
difference between a D and a T
So, my suggestion is to stick to the reasonable and verifiable, and to treat
remote ancestry as a family fable or fantasy. When you've discovered and
verified your ggggparents and all their descendants and still want to
continue your search, you will have the luxury for seeking links to George
Washington, Christopher Columbus, Gengis Khan and the Buddha.
Michael Bernet, New York, mBernet@aol.com.