Knowing how important genealogy research is to LDS leads me to wonder how far back any of us could trace our family tree. Have any LDS members been able to trace back to any biblical characters?

2 Answers 2


Robert C. Gunderson, Senior Royalty Research Specialist, of the Church Genealogical Department stated, in regards to the possibility of accurately tracing back to Adam and Eve, that the answer is No. The reason being that European royal genealogy before 500s A.D. Cannot be verified. This would exclude biblical characters as well.

See https://familysearch.org/blog/en/family-tree-adam-eve/


"The simplest answer is No. Let me explain. 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."

Source: Robert C. Gunderson, “I Have a Question,”Ensign, Feb. 1984, 31.

It's probably not possible/easy to know who has traced the furthest back since there are so many people doing it and their records aren't all public.


Between neglect, wars, natural disasters, and other catastrophic events destroying important records throughout the ages, and people not bothering to keep them in the first place, it's next to impossible to find genuine family history data more than a few centuries back... which doesn't mean people haven't tried, both in our own time and in ages past!

You will occasionally hear someone talking about having a line that goes all the way back to Adam. What this means in practice is that they managed to trace back far enough to link up with a royal genealogy of some king back in the day who had their family line connected to some important Biblical lineage for political reasons. Such royal genealogies are, of course, considered highly unreliable; it's just that no one really knows for sure where the accurate records end and the mythologizing and politicizing begins.

  • So does LDS officially declare that genealogical tracings claiming to go back to specific biblical characters are not accurate? And how far back has the church proclaimed accurate the genealogy tracings of some members?
    – 007
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 19:22
  • Per the Bible and common Christian belief, we all know the beginning but don't know how to get to the end. We all came from Adam and Eve (unless you believe in Lillith). The real question is if you came from the Cain line or not. With DNA testing, you can go back pretty far. I believe there is a rumor that ancestry is an LDS company - not confirmed. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 19:25
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    @Pam there is no official declaration, in fact there can't really be one. It seems like common sense that a king who wanted his genealogy traced back to biblical characters would have been able to find persons willing to make up such a lineage. We can't know if they are right or not. I think the working hypothesis is they are right. Btw i personally know people with such a genealogy, so they exist.
    – kutschkem
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 7:22
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    Can you provide an example of someone who claims a known lineage back to Adam?
    – Flimzy
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 7:41
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    @TheFreemason: It makes perfect sense if you replace "all the way back to Adam" with "All the way back to Biblical genealogies which include Adam", which is obviously what it clearly means.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 6:16

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