It’s a whole other kind of “ology”: Numerology is a belief system some practitioners use to ascribe meaning to a name — or an ancestor’s name.
Tarot.com’s Family Tree Numerology report purports to tell you a bit about what your ancestors were like, “offering a window into a part of yourself.” I’m all for some personal insight.
It’s not a genealogy report, the site’s representative specified — no names and dates, but descriptions of families. Understood. I provided my full name at birth, my birth date and four last names meaningful to my life.
Wait: What about multiple spellings? “It’s highly important how a last name, or any part of the name, is spelled,” the rep says. “In numerology, each letter in your name has a corresponding number, and the placement of each letter determines the kind of influence that letter (and its numerological meaning) has on you.” I went with the most common spelling of the name in question.
The report primarily contained generalizations: A strong sense of family in one line meant “one generation’s efforts flowed over into the next generation’s successes.” In tough times, another clan devoted itself to “whatever individual, institution, political entity or religious organization offered the most protection.” In another case, “intelligence and an intuitive ability to look beyond the obvious” helped a family “stay ahead of the curve.”
My report included some amusing truths. A family of 10 children descended from a line noted for “their desire to produce plenty of offspring.” My grandfather served on his town’s council, and lo and behold, many of his clan “were attracted to politics.” In my bootlegging ancestor’s family, “dreams often proved to be iron balloons.”
But about that window into myself: My report says I don’t have much in common with these people at all. An ancestral influence rating that compares my traits to my ancestors’ is “average” for two surnames and “low” for three.
My world isn’t rocked, but I tend to be skeptical. You might be proud of your family’s efforts or conclude “that’s why Grandma was like that.” If you think you can add meaning to your life for $11.95, go for it. But please play responsibly.
From the July 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine
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