Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Great Challenges of Genealogy My Grandson is starting to do 3D drawings on his computer. This is an early example. 
It is important to “step outside” of genealogy occasionally and consider the pursuit as a whole. In doing so, it is apparent that there are certain issues that can be characterized as challenges that presently have only very partial solutions. These include the following:
  • The lack of a way to adequately prevent the loss of genealogical research through the death or incapacity of individual genealogists
  • The vast duplication of effort caused by individual genealogists doing the same research concerning the same ancestors
  • The inability of genealogists to collaborate due to a lack of understanding and trust
  • The fragmentation of storage methods for preserving genealogical research
  • The inability of the various database programs to adequately represent the complexity of the information needed to be preserved
  • The ongoing destruction of genealogically valuable records
The tragedy of these challenges is that some of them have readily available solutions. The further tragedy is that they are all manifestations of the limitations in our world societies and cultures. Some of these challenges are the genealogical manifestations of underlying problems that confront our modern societies as a whole and as they exist around the world. They are also partially caused by all the human failings of mankind; dishonesty, deceit, theft, ignorance, poverty, and all of the other fundamental human frailties. From that standpoint, the genealogical challenges could be considered trivial issues, but only if you are either ignorant of or entirely uninterested in genealogy.

OK, if you have read this far and think that I am going to propose solutions to each of these great challenges, you are only partially mistaken. I do have strong opinions about each of the outlined challenges, but I am realistic enough to realize that all the writing and teaching I have left in my life probably will have little effect on any one of them. Just one example, I have been eminently unsuccessful in convincing any of the researchers I have met who think they own their genealogy to share it with their relatives so that their life's work will not be lost. But during the next few days and weeks, I am going to direct a complete blog post to each of these challenges.

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