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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Flash from the Past -- The Genealogical Computer Pioneer

I ran across a copy of the Genealogical Computer Pioneer magazine/journal. I happened still have Volume 2, No. 3 from the Spring of 1984. The journal was published by Joanna W. Posey of Posey International in Orem, Utah. She was also starting the Genealogical Computer Information Center.

The back of my copy has an ad for Family Roots, fro Quinsept, Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts. The program was advertised for Apple, IBM and CP/M operating systems and that CBM-64 would soon be available. The program had a 900 name limit.

Some of the items of interest from 1984 included:

May
The National Genealogical Society will have its annual conference in San Francisco, May 24-26, 1984 at the Sheraton Palace Hotel...Registration is open to all. Lectures on genealogical use will be given.

June
The LDS Genealogical Depatement of the LDS Church will have its annual Family History Festival during the second week of June at the Church Office Building, 50 E. North Temple, Salt Lake City. Among other topics of family historical interest, the Festival will feature lectures on genealogical computer use.

Some of the programs mentioned in the journal are Personal Ancestral File, Roots II by Commsoft which was replacing Roots/M, Ancestors a program for Atari Owners and Family Reunion for the IBM PC from Personal Software Co. of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Here is a quote from an article entitled "Communications, One View of the Future" by Marie Irvine:
Every genealogist who uses a computer has had the fantasy of being able to connect a home coputer to a giant data base and obtain accurate details and life stories of every ancestor back to Adam or Australopithecus. Forget it! No computer that has been build can hold all of the details of every individual that has ever lived on the face of the earth.
She goes on to say after predicting that the Ancestral File "may ultimately become the largest data base specifically designed for genealogical research, but even the most optimistic observes see a communications link with it still years away,
It is also possible that other fairly large data banks may be established by other organizations which could have computerized indexes to census records or other vital records. Perhaps that information could eventually be available to home computer users.
Right on! Her article also contains the very pertinent and up-to-date admonition:
If computer aided genealogical research is to have any validity or quality it is essential that the computerized data maintained by an individual researcher must include the same attention to source documentation and detail that the research notes of conventional researchers include. 
It seems like we haven't progressed so far after all. With all of our highfalutin computer systems, we are still struggling with paying attention to source documentation.

I contributed an article to one of the very first Computer Genealogical Pioneer journals and got it back with a note from Joanna Posey, that maybe I would like to learn how to spell genealogy!

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