March 5, 2014
Increasing Popularity of Genealogy
Genealogy is a way of tracking and recording the names, birthdates, marriages, and so much more, of your ancestors and current family members. Leslie Gilbert Pine, author of an article in Encyclopedia Britannica, tell us this, “The word genealogy comes from two Greek words—one meaning “race” or “family” and the other “theory” or “science.” Thus is derived “to trace ancestry,” the science of studying family history”. There are three stages to the history of genealogy. Oral tradition, pedigrees written to paper, and in about 1500 in Western Europe it became possible for anyone to track their roots (Pine). The fascination with this subject has sky-rocked in the last several years. There are even television shows that display the increasing popularity of genealogy such as the series “Who Do You Think You Are?” So why has genealogy increased in popularity over the years in the United States and abroad? People want to know where ancestors came from and the history of the family to better understand heritage, medical history, and race. They want a blueprint so to speak. The family structure has gone from mother, father, and children to a multitude of scenarios, such as, father and children or grandparent and children, etc. Many people of divorce, single parents, and children of wars are turning to the ease of the internet to “find themselves” in family members; often by doing research online with the help of genealogy cites.
Online websites offer a series of steps and have formats for laying out a family tree, have places for vital information like date of birth, date of marriage, and deaths. Family trees can clear up questions like, were parents married when a child was born, or did an adoption take place as a child? To establish a tribal heritage like American Indian; possibly opening doors for government money. In homes around the world people are discovering how easy it is to find information about relatives on such sites as, Ancestory.com, and Family Search.org. According to Tim Sullivan, CEO for Ancestory.com, there are 40 million searches daily.
The advertisements for genealogy sites are on the radio, television commercials, and social websites like Facebook and Twitter. The Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints also encourages doing genealogy work amongst its members.
The popularity of search out and recording ancestors has been going on for thousands of years. According to an excerpted article edited by Eviatar Zerubavel, from the book "Ancestors & Relatives," from Oxford University Press. “Genealogy may be the second most popular American hobby after gardening and the second most visited category of Web sites after pornography”. Genealogy records date clear back to Bible times (Zerubavel). It is being done not just in America, but in countries around the world.
In today’s society, cultures have gotten away from the “norms” of the mid 1900’s when families consisted of a mother, father, 2.5 children and the family dog until death do we part. Divorce has become a huge factor in many children’s lives. Leaving them with a one parent home. According to the report, The State of Our Unions 2005, issued by the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, “Only 63% of American children grow up with both biological parents”. That leaves 37% of American children with one parent absent from the home. U.S. Census reports, about 15 million children do not have a father in the home and five million do not have a mother under the same roof. These statistics are far higher than that of the 1960 statistics, where only 11 % of American kids did not live with their fathers. In many cases the absent parent is nowhere to be found. Or possibly just far enough out of reach that not much, if any, contact is available. People have the need to feel more connected to the past because of these missing parents. Lost