You Don’t Give Birth to Your Ancestors

I try very hard not to be a grammar prude. I know that people make mistakes. But this one drives me crazy because I’ve heard it so many times.

“I want to get into genealogy to learn about my descendants.” “I have a family heirloom to pass to my ancestors.” If you don’t see why those sentences are wrong, then you are one of the people I’m talking about.

I hear it in interviews, on YouTube, I read it in news articles. I don’t know when this started but it bugs me.

It’s even in the name, people! Descendent. A person who descends from you. And hey, it’s called Ancestry.com, not Descendants.com. Think of a family tree. Who is above you? Your parents, grandparents, and so forth. Those are your ancestors, though many people reserve that term for relatives who have died. Below you are your children and grandchildren -and if you are an old broad like me, you might even have great-grandchildren. These go down the family tree, i.e. descend from you.

Okay, rant over. Though I can’t promise it will be the last one. Weird things are creeping into our language, so I’ll probably need to blow some steam now and then.

No, this was not posted on my old blog. I’m starting fresh material, folks!

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