Popular Science Jun 1952
What is the point? Well, in our combined wisdom, we are mostly left in the dark as to what will happen in the future. Lightning does strike without warning and can cause serious consequences. (For example, see my daughter Amy's post today on "The Death of Willie Jarvis, 1881"). Notwithstanding the unpredictability of the future, it is always enticing to try and figure out what will happen. Predicting the future of genealogy is a special case. First, it is a very conservative pursuit and second, there isn't a whole lot about genealogy in particular to predict. Sure, the technology will continue to change, but the basic process of gathering information, analyzing it, recording it and moving forward will abide.
Technology can only do so much. One example of the limitations of technology is the fact that as I go back in my ancestral lines, I find almost nothing online that is pertinent to the issues that arise. For example, in one line I reach my Great-great-grandfather, Samuel Linton. For years now, I have been searching for his birthplace. So far, none of the records I have found, online, offline or whatever, have recorded an accurate birthplace. All of the major online websites simply run out of records that apply to Northern Ireland during the time period in in the area where he was supposedly born. All of my computer skills, all of the technology available cannot help me answer what should be a rather simple problem. As I move to Provo, Utah, I hope to have greater access to the Family History Library. One of my goals is to resolve this particular issue.
It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I have been looking for this one piece of information for a long time. Perhaps I should just give up and move on. But that is one of the main attractions of genealogy, even though technology will change and even though records might become more available, these changes will not change the core activities of the genealogical research process.