Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Dick Eastman and John Grenham, could they both be wrong?

In his most recent blog post under the title Dick Eastman is wrong John Grenham starts:
"On second thoughts actually no, Dick Eastman is right. The other title is just grabbier.
On third thoughts, maybe he’s both right and wrong."
Grenham is reacting to a presentation The Future of Genealogy Research Eastman gave to The Third International family history conference of the Claire Roots Society, Diaspora of the Wild Atlantic Way, which took place on 23rd to 24th September 2016.

Where they agree is on the importance of collaboration online. Where Grenham differs is in hoping it will not occur through subscription sites such as Ancestry.  Que sera, sera --- if people find the commercial sites good value they'll use them, and it's not just the collaboration they offer but also convenient access to digitized records. While Ireland may have free access to many records (of those not destroyed) wasn't it the commercial companies that produced an name index to the Catholic parish records. Wasn't it Ancestry that indexed most of the Canadian census records which now, after an embargo period, are freely available at the Library and Archives Canada website.

What's most surprising in both Eastman's slides, and Grenham's blog post, is ---  no mention of genetic genealogy. Adding DNA evidence to genealogical research is the biggest advance of the past few years and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. The demonstrated potential to tumble down brick walls we have seen to date is nothing compared to what will happen when a critical mass of the population's DNA, especially outside the USA, is tested and available in a database for comparison. It should not be overlooked in any discussion of the future of genealogy research.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

All agreed and true - Genetic Genealogy should definitely have been mentioned in Dick Eastmans presentation as it was the future of genealogy and it's definitely one of the tools that's going to have the largest foreseeable impact on what we can do. I agree that it would be lovely if we could use collaboration via the non-paid sites... Ireland Reaching Out is a great example f this - though it's concentrated on Ireland... Wikitree is another... I'm sure there are others I'm not aware of....
Yes Ancestry and FindMyPast etc have their place and I don't think they'll be going anywhere soon...
As for the "commercial companies that produced an name index to the Catholic parish records" That was a government sponsored initiative to get people working and off the unemployment register at the time, that didn't go quite to plan... hence records for some counties are held to ransom and unavailable online, some are available on the commercial rootsireland side for a cost and the remaining records are on irishgenealogy.ie for free...

Family Sleuther said...

Glad to see you raise the topic of genetic genealogy. I agree that it has so much potential still to further revolutionize and provide the abilitity to undo previously impenetrable brick walls. Here's to lots more testers outside North America!