A recent question on Finding Loops in GEDCOM files got me to wonder if there are some loops that are valid.

Of course there is science fiction, where a person goes back in time and parents their own ancestor. And there is the famous I'm My Own Grandpa song, but that is where he becomes his own grandfather through marriage, so he wouldn't be his own true ancestor and it wouldn't show up as a loop in a GEDCOM.

What I'm thinking of are adoptions. I can see a case where a person might legally adopt an invalid parent or grandparent so that they have caregiver rights or maybe there is some other valid legal reason for them to do so.

If that would be the case, then this would be a valid loop, where a child or grandchild is also the legal parent of their parent or grandparent.

Has this happened, or is this even legally allowed in any country in the world?

Are there any other non-science fiction ways in which a person can validly become their own ancestor and thus create a valid loop in a GEDCOM file?

  • I shouldn't rise to the bait and point out the obvious, but everyone and their grandmother understands the question of looping to involve only biological parent/child relationships. Of course there are other relationships that allow looping, but they have no bearing on the issue of concern here. May 18, 2013 at 17:37
  • Though plenty of people do wish to record non-biological parentages in their family trees, so it is a relevant question to wonder if there are any risks from such non-biological paths.
    – AdrianB38
    May 19, 2013 at 10:29

1 Answer 1


Well, I'm fairly certain one can exclude the UK from the "adoption for caregiver rights" scenario. We have the concept of "power of attorney" in various fashions - this gives the carer the role and responsibility of legal control / delegated control. That gives a loop, but not a parental loop.

I may have cause to say differently after tomorrow night's resolution of the current series of Dr Who but suspect that Steven Moffat's resolution of The Name of the Doctor will remain in the realms of SF.

  • 1
    No spoilers please :)
    – Sam
    May 17, 2013 at 22:47

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