Are Super-sized Family Trees the Work of a Genealogy Researcher or a Computer?

Family trees and lineage charts are what the genealogy researcher does. Now, with the aide of computers and the internet,
it seems that things are blossoming. New branches and super-size trees. But is a gigantic family tree like the one Author A.J.
Jacobs is compiling–and will present at a gathering in June–really the work of a genealogy researcher or a computer?

Gone are the days when the genealogy researcher could get excited with just a few lines of a pedigree chart or could hit it big discovering five generations or more of descendants. We’re into the big genealogy numbers, now. But do they really count?

By the time journalist cum genealogist, A.J. Jacobs has his “Global Family Reunion”  in New York on June 6, 2015, he will have amassed a gazillion relatives on his global family tree. With this charity event, Jacobs is showing us that his form of family history research allows him to claim to be related to everyone on Earth. Plus his tree branches sparkle with many recognizable names and celebrities.

Could this type of family tree research be the end-result of the internet’s influence in genealogy research?

With the internet and genetic genealogy through DNA results, people are connecting at an astounding and amazing rate.  For example, a genome researcher who calls himself a computational biologist and a “genome hacker” combined his expertise with online genealogy information. He made a family tree with 13 million “relatives” going back to the 15th century. The family tree was presented at the American Society of Human Genetics’ annual meeting in Boston in 2013.

Yet, is it real that a genealogy researcher can claim to be related to everyone? How does the genealogist manage a massive family tree with millions of relatives on it?

This genealogy researcher thinks that some of the websites which link everyone to each other are not the carefully researched ancestral stories that traditional professional genealogists produce. Instead, could they be algorithmic compilations of relationships found in charts?  Does this now count as good practice for a genealogy researcher?

We’re not sure about it. It is fun to think that one might be related to a Queen or a big movie star—and have it proven in an online list. BUT, we still aren’t so sure that this is the way to go.

Yes, we are all God’s children and we share 99.9 percent of our DNA. We are all family. Yet, when documenting it, this genealogy researcher prefers the slow and simple way. I like the way a genealogist provides the diligent compilation of documents and proofs. If the internet aides in this family history research,  terrific.

Let a professional genealogy researcher find who you are linked to in your ancestry. A genealogist for hire from RecordClick will do thorough and deep research using birth, marriage, death, census records and documents from extensive collections and repositories around the world. We also go beyond the internet and do in-person interviews, too.

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