Pedigrees That Trace Back to Adam

On August 10, 1840 Joseph Smith revealed the restoration of the practice of baptism by proxy for the dead.  John McDonald remembered his father being baptized in behalf of Moses McDonald in the Nauvoo Temple shortly after they arrived in Nauvoo.  On February 6, 1846 James McDonald & Sarah Ferguson were among the throng of Latter day Nauvoo TempleSaints who received their own temple ordinances when the temple remained open 24 hours a day before the exodus from Nauvoo.  We don't have record of their marriage being sealed that day although other Saints reported being sealed for time and all eternity on the same day they were endowed with James & Sarah. The only record that survived was the Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register. 

Ila Maughan wrote, "but only fragmentary record of work done at that time survived the evacuation of Nauvoo.  Sarah and her sons John and William and perhaps her daughters were re-baptized in Mar., 1857.  A month later when John took his young bride to the Endowment House in Salt Lake City to be sealed to him, he took his mother also.  There on Apr. 22, 1857 to make sure there was a record, John acted for his deceased father while Sarah Ferguson was sealed to James McDonald for time and all eternity."  The restoration of the ancient practice of performing saving ordinances for the dead(1 Corinthians 15:29) occurred line upon line rather than all at once.  Initially the Saints were baptized for their kindred dead, endowed and sealed to their living spouse.   But rather than sealing children to their deceased parents the Saints performed what they called "Temple Adoptions" to prominent men in the Church.   At the April Conference of 1894 President Wilford Woodruff revealed that "from this day henceforth and forever" the work would be "father sealed to his father and so on back".  President Woodruff then emphasized this was "The duty that I want every man who presides over a temple to see performed from this day henceforth and forever." What an insurmountable task it must have seemed to our ancestors as they were directed to do the work for all who had ever died without receiving the necessary ordinances.

But the Lord does provide a way for us to accomplish that which He has commanded.  In 1999 President Gordon B. Hinkley announced, "Going hand in hand with this increased temple activity is an increase in our family history work. The computer in its various ramifications is accelerating the work, and people are taking advantage of the new techniques being offered to them. How can one escape the conclusion that the Lord is in all of this? As computer facilities improve, the number of temples grows to accommodate the accelerated family history work."  To accommodate the millions doing family history and prevent unnecessary duplication of effort the LDS Church developed  New Family Search.  This web site has made it possible to see what others have done on our pedigree line.   undocumentd Moses McDonald pedigree


There are several who have linked "our proven projenitors" with other lines (as shown above) connecting to the Earls of Antrim, Clan Donald Chiefs, and British royalty.  At first I was excited and proud that my genealogy included such nobel ancestry until I read an article by Robert C. Gunderson, Senior Royalty Research Specialist for the Church Genealogical Department, entitled "I've heard that some people have extended their ancestral lines back to Adam." He stated,"In thirty-five years of genealogical research, I have yet to see a pedigree back to Adam that can be documented. By assignment, I have reviewed hundreds of pedigrees over the years. I have not found one where each connection on the pedigree can be justified by evidence from contemporary documents. In my opinion it is not even possible to verify historically a connected European pedigree earlier than the time of the Merovingian Kings (c. a.d. 450–a.d. 752). Every pedigree I have seen which attempts to bridge the gap between that time and the biblical pedigree appears to be based on questionable tradition, or at worst, plain fabrication. Generally these pedigrees offer no evidence as to the origin of the information, or they cite a vague source."

The incredible claim that British royalty were of the Royal House of David was an argument of Henry VIII when he suddenly found himself having to justify being head of the Anglican Church and state.  Our Presbyterian ancestors did not accept his claim and it certainly is not consistent with any LDS doctrine.  It may be fun to dream we are descended from royalty, but there is no documentation linking us with British royalty or linking British royalty with King David back to Adam. 

Brian Leese's letters demonstrated his propensity to view research with tunnel vision.  He said he found a Moses McDonald and Grace Maxwell parents of another child being christened about the same age as our Moses.  Without any documentation he proposed this Moses could be the father of our Moses.  He then proposed a 1718 christening of "Jane child of James McDonald" was a clerical error and should read "James" child of James McDonald.  Upon this sandy foundation he build the Moses Jr.- Moses Sn.-James Jr  James Sn.-Aeneas McDonald pedigree shown above.  At least one pedigree on New Family Search combined with ours substituted James Macdonnell married to a Helen Grant for James McDonald so the line would extend back for centuries through the Earls of Antrim and further through the Grant line.  There is no documentation linking us to either line.  Ila Maughan resisted the temptation to list these lines in her book and instead concentrated on "our proven progenitors".  Our motivation should be to find our actual ancestors, our kindred dead, and do their work, rather than just amassing volumes of undocumented lines back to Adam (1Timothy 1:4 cautions us to "not give heed to fables and endless genealogies").


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