In So Many Words

Info-Comics by Larry Paros

Check Out Your Heritage

Looking for vestiges of your ancestry? That calls for a proper investigation, following the trail thanks to the Latin in, "in" and vestgare, "to track" from vestigium, "footprints." These same marks should lead you to your family tree, a diagram showing your line of descent — the three‐line graph of lineal descent appearing claw‐like, bearing startling resemblance to the foot of a bird.

Investigating a bit further reveals the French pied, "foot" and de grue "of the crane," enabling you to fully establishing your pedigree (c.1410). Your hope is that you are pedigreed which will establish you to be "of distinguished ancestry."

All you really have shown, however, is that "birds of a feather flock together" — that persons of the same character, similar tastes and backgrounds have gravitated towards one another. This proverb goes back to Ancient Greece and later is quoted in Ecclesiastes from the Biblical Apocrypha about 200 years before Christ as "Birds dwell with their own kind."

Efforts to establish your pedigree, however, are frivolous pursuits and should not be taken seriously. Feel free to follow the tracking if you are so disposed. Feeding on them is altogether another matter. Like winged creatures feasting on the droppings from horses and cattle, most flights of fantasy about one's pedigree should be considered for the birds (c.1944).