Will all our Genealogy Questions be Answered?

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Laura June at The Verge wrote a very interesting, in depth, article that might make you look at genealogy in a different way. She wrote that the search for our ancestors is reaching its “end game”. Does that mean it is even more likely that all our genealogy questions will be answered?

Historically speaking, genealogy started out as something that rulers and nobles required. Who shall be next to take the throne? The answer to that question is based upon the order of descendants of the current king or queen. From there, it gets even more complicated. A person would have to be able to prove exactly how they were related to the current ruler in order to be considered in the line of succession.

Average people didn’t have much need for genealogy. Those who did were primarily motivated to prove ownership of land (and other assets). Which relative shall inherit the land the family owns? Figure out who the heir is, and you have your answer. If that is disputed, people might need to turn to genealogy to find proof of their claim.

It wasn’t until fairly recently that genealogy became something that was easily accessible to the general public. Anyone with internet access can seek out vital records at Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, or other online genealogy resources. Genealogy research can now be done from the comfort of one’s own home. In most cases, a person won’t have a need to hire an expert genealogist to assist them.

It goes further than that. Take a look at Facebook. Maybe you joined because you wanted an easy and inexpensive way to keep in touch with your family. It probably didn’t take very long before you started getting friend requests from siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles.

You can take things a step farther. It is possible to add a relationship status on Facebook that describes exactly how you are related to another individual who also uses Facebook. Click “Life Event” at the top of your Timeline. Select “Family & Relationships”. Pick the type of relationship you want to add. When you are done, check the box next to “Update relationship status” in your Timeline and hit “save”.

This will automatically identify that you are the niece to your aunts, the sibling of your sisters and brothers, or the great grandmother of your great grandchildren. In order for that to be shown on Facebook, your relatives have to officially confirm the relationship. Most people will do it.

It is interesting to wonder if future genealogists will use Facebook as a resource for their genealogy research. Could they learn about relatives that they were unaware of simply because an ancestor noted his or her relationship to that person on Facebook? If not, the future genealogist might be able to access Ancestry.com and view the family tree that previous relatives constructed. Perhaps, in the near future, all our genealogy questions will be solved – with answers at our fingertips.

Image by Adrián Pérez on Flickr.

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