One of my favourite hobbies is genealogy. I just love the thrill of tracing my ancestors through the twisted channels of time. It gives me a completely different perspective on the world.

For one thing, I am related, albeit distantly, to just about every Afrikaans person in South Africa, since I have been able to reliably trace my ancestry to several early settler families in the Cape, including the Maree’s, van der Merwe, Loubser, de Savoye, Snyman and several more. Just about every white South African whose family has been in SA for at least several generations has a very good chance of also being related to at least one of them.

Through a rather more unreliable link, although not unlikely, I have been able to trace my ancestors through the de Savoye line to the French aristocracy, which in turn relates me to just about every royal family in Europe and several relations in Asia and China too, from the Huns, Greeks, Indians, French, English, Germans, Egyptian pharouhs and many more.

According to this family history, Charlemagne is my great(39) great grandfather, which reminds me of the conspiracy theorists. I remember reading a David Icke book once where he claimed that most of the American presidents are descendants of Charlemagne, and that there is some sinister plot afoot. What these guys don’t seem to realise, is that MOST of the western European population is descended somehow from him. It is just a case of numbers. With the amount that people have married among families has meant that we are all cousins in one way or another.

Another fun aspect of genealogy is finding out how I am related to the mythological figures. My ancestry also includes such fictitious notables as Thor, Zeus, Adam and Eve. The older a genealogy gets the more unreliable, although I will admit the reliability is also related to the culture. For example, the Egyptian records are more reliable to a much more distant period than the Greeks.

And for those of you who think spending countless hours searching for long dead relatives is dead boring, I sure do get a kick from being able to say I am descended from gods and kings.