GENEALOGY AND MYTHMAKING: JOSEPH SMITH, QUEEN ELIZABETH, AND IVAN THE TERRIBLE Why are Mormons so interested in tracing their personal genealogy? Court genealogists for Queen Elizabeth and Ivan the Terrible attempted to link, through genealogy, the entire history of the world from beginning to end, and early Mormon leaders claimed Joseph Smith was of the same seed as the British royal house. My research on medieval European genealogies suggests that Mormons are recapitulating a fascination with lineal descent and genealogical myths that is centuries old. I suggest some reasons why a mythical genealogical history was defended so vehemently in the waning years of the Middle Ages and perhaps why it is equally cherished at the end of the 20th century.
Cherie Kartchner Woodworth, Stacy Burton