Oh noes, genealogy wrecked my family: The biggest news story for genealogists last week was doubtless the Warwick University study, in which researchers determined that probing into family history might tick off your relatives. Followup studies of genealogy enthusiasts uncovered reactions ranging from “Duh” to “Oh, wow, did I just yawn? Sorry!”
That second sentence? I made it up. But the results as reported did have a duh-worthy quality. Many of the issues cited are longstanding staples of genealogy forums — what to do when you find out that Great-Grandma married Great-Grandpa when she was two months pregnant, for example. Tact and empathy are always in order when a bombshell lands. In his amusing take at the Genealogue, Chris Dunham submits that the difficulties described in the study “are more about being unpleasant human beings than about making unpleasant discoveries.” Which, I believe, nails it nicely.
Genealogy as tourist lure: Really? Roots-finding trips to Ireland are certainly a staple, so it can’t be surprising that a five-star hotel in County Clare, Ireland has hired on-site genealogists to assist guests who are researching Irish roots. Rich American guests, probably. Hope they don’t destroy family harmony while they’re at it.
Replanting the online family tree: Dean at GenLighten talks about advances in public document citation online and ways in which they might lead to a new generation of online genealogy collaboration. I’m intrigued by the notion of a Wikipedia-style way of doing online trees. Online data sharing has been a blessing beyond doubt, but a mixed one. Who hasn’t heard a complaint about bad data being unthinkingly cut and pasted and cut again? Increasing our ability to cite sound data is a good thing.
Have a great week, and don’t go starting any family feuds, OK?