Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Genealogy in 2024??


David Rencher (who has a long string of initials after his name and who IS one to be listened to) had a great article in the April-June 2013 issue of the NGS Magazine. The title of his article was, "Where will the field of genealogy be in 2024?"  I was surprised...... you might be surprised.... at what he's thinking. If you only read ONE of his thoughts, please read the "Genealogical Societies" one. 

Online Family Trees  --  "many (Online Family Trees) have trust issues with the quality of the content found therein.... but before you dismiss online trees as completely worthless, it may be worthwhile to consider using them as the initial framework that still needs detail and sources to become a legitimate work.... Family trees will continue to mature into an environment similar to Wikipedia with constant additions, improvements to the data accuracy, valid attachments of source images, and community insistence on well-sourced information."  In other words, online family trees are here to stay and will only become better in all ways.

Cloud Computing  --  "these online trees will continue to grow, making them a significant repository of source-backed conclusions..... it is a realistic possibility that with cloud computing the online tree environment will coalesce into a "single tree" environment that everyone shares." In other words, we are already doing genealogy on the cloud (we're using FamilySearch and Ancestry, right?) and we will be doing more and more of the same.

Social Media  --  "social media will be a big part of extended families working together around the world on their genealogy....virtual family organizations will flourish through the use of both social media and mobile technology." In other words, we might as well get with it sooner than later.

Genealogical Societies  --  "societies will be increasingly pressured to adapt to an interconnected world or fail.....societies do not need to go out of existence; rather the should adapt to the strengths of what they can provide to the consumer.... a society's greatest strength is knowledge of a particular locality, set of records, ethnicity or lineage.... how a society creates the experience around the consumer interacting with this knowledge will separate the successful society from those that disband and go out of existence."  In other words, the "old timers" will lament that "their" society isn't what it used to be, but the future dictates that the "new timers" must have their way; technology demands change. 

Mobile Devices  --  "within the next decade, everything will go mobile...period........ the youth will be the driving force of creating the shift from the decades-old dependency on desktops, laptops, formal meetings, and lectures, to accomplishing more through the use of social media and mobile technology." In other words, the old Dick Tracey watch band radio is here!

DNA Technology  --  "DNA technology will become standard for conducting the business of governments and uniquely identifying individuals..... DNA testing will continue to grow, increasing the accuracy and ensuring the soundness of accurate lineages."  In other words, you might as well acquire a basic understanding of DNA for that methodology is here to stay.

David made several more good points in the article but summed up his thoughts in this conclusion:  "New possibilities that we can barely imagine today will be invented and applied to genealogy. These technologies will facilitate, but not replace sound genealogical research."

I add my voice to his, "I can hardly wait!"

David Rencher will be the primary speaker at our 2015 WSGS conference in Ellensburg on 27 June 2015. Plan to come spend the day with a most entertaining educator!

1 comment:

Charles Hansen said...

I do hope to see David Rencher again, we do need to be more interconnected, and we still need to provide good education seminars.