My name is Kathleen, and I have been researching my family history since I was a child. I love to go into county courthouses and smell the old books and paper... or is it dust? This blog will focus on the stories I've heard over the years and the research methods I follow. I am particularly interested in data management and cloud genealogy.

Some of my personal areas of interest include Southern Maryland and DC (Robie, Rhodes, Grimes, Lindsey), NY state (Hill, Cookingham, Flynn, Rhodes, Skinner, Wheeler, Mead, Havens, Trotter), NJ (Parcell), North Carolina and Eastern TN (Lynch, Seabolt, Spears), MO (Wilcox, Kiddell), and CA (Simi, Grady)

I am always happy to compare notes or share my experiences, so please leave a comment!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Rootstech 2014 -- an update on collaboration?

There has been complete radio silence on this channel for some time…. I've been working on a presentation I am preparing for my DAR chapter, focusing on the stories of our members' patriots and just who we were during the Revolutionary War.  We have 81 members, with 57 unique ancestors, so that has been quite a lot of research!  I'm using Google Earth as the vehicle to tell these stories, so I'm learning the program as I go.  Full time work, and so engrossing.

But now I have to tear myself away from 1776, because I've arrived in Salt Lake City to attend Rootstech 2014!

An article on Family Search's blog yesterday announced that the company expects to put all the world's historical records online in one generation.  The article was focused on the need to collaborate on indexing projects and to increase participation by non-English speakers in order to meet this goal.  What caught my eye, though, was contained in the accompanying info graphic.  Family Search's ultimate goal is to create the "one family tree of mankind."  Not really news, except for the fact that they seem to think that it is simply a matter of having all the world's sources in digital form.

My concern lies in how those sources are used.  Technology makes it very easy to grab a name and attach it to your tree without checking to be sure that you are attributing the correct record to the correct ancestor.  So many people had the same name -- even people with "unusual" names -- that you simply can't assume it is your ancestor without thorough investigation.  Not everyone who wants to compile their family tree has the patience to make an academic study of their family.

I've written about my frustrations with Family Search's one tree of mankind (see "Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned), and I think that this prominent force in the genealogy world can do much more to allay the concerns of serious researchers.  Collaboration is vital, no question, but it can't be a free-for-all; there must be rules.  I am hoping to hear this addressed at Rootstech.

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