Monday, March 7, 2011

An outsider's critical view of genealogy

My old friend and former colleague Jim Krohe holds forth on a regular basis at Illinois Times in Springfield (soon to be host of the annual Federation of Genealogical Societies meeting in September). Last month his column had some provocative words and thoughts on genealogy as currently practiced. They aren't mine, but sometimes it's instructive to learn what an outsider sees when he takes a look:

Most family “histories” aren’t, having very little history in them. They are genealogies, family trees that focus (often obsessively) on the who and the when, not the where the why and the how. . . . At best, genealogies are to the family history what the road map is to the Michelin guide. Genuine family histories – that is, an objective rendering of facts, scrupulously verified and placed in the context of broader social and economic realities of respective eras – are rare.

Read the whole thing at the above link.

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