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Et Tu Genealogy?

| Learning | January 25, 2017

(I work at a university library, in a section that deals specifically with religion books and with family history research. I’m also getting a history degree, so I get a lot of history-related questions. We have a large-format printer with which people print off pedigree charts, fan charts, and any other posters. The fan charts, which show about nine generations, especially are a popular service. One day I get this call.)

Me: “[Library]. How may I help you?

Caller: “Hi. Can you print fan charts that go as far back as Julius Caesar?”

Me: *thinking it’s a joke* “Sorry?”

Caller: “Yeah, I traced my genealogy back to Julius Caesar, and I want to show that on a fan chart.”

Me: “Um, no, I’m afraid the program can only portray nine generations. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Caller: *obviously disappointed* “No, that’s all right.”

(He hangs up. I relate all this to my coworker.)

Me: “I didn’t have the heart to tell him that Julius Caesar doesn’t have any known surviving descendants.”

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