Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ancestry


I’ve always thought it would be a neat thing to have access to everyone’s genealogy.  There were a lot of computer programs that came out a few years ago allowing you, the user to create your own family tree.  That was a nice start, but the information was limited to your own knowledge.


Now there appear to be sites where you input your own information, and it is connected with the genealogies of other people’s families, thus, filling in information that you didn’t know.

I haven’t tried any of these yet, and so I am writing this post prematurely, but it seems like we’re no headed in the right direction.

I know there are some who will feel that they don’t want any of their own information shared for whatever reasons they have, but I think that eventually the information will not only serve to satisfy curiosity, but can be of help medically as well.

In Iceland, they literally have their 35 or so generations mapped out exactly from when the first 12 priests came from Norway to settle the Island.  This has served the medical field in an interesting way.  It means that any anomalies in people can be traced back to their beginnings, and how diseases and other ailments were passed down, and how often they show up in following generations.

There is some breast cancer in Iceland, and I believe it was Decode, a cancer research company, that was able to trace the gene back to one of the original settlers of the island. 

Iceland has been extremely diligent about keeping generational information on record.  I believe the government keeps track of this information.

I would love it if I could look up anyone’s background and see what his or her family story was.  I find this so interesting because inevitably someone in all of our histories came to the United States and settled to make a better life for himself and his family.  Our history here is really not that long and should be manageable in a big enough genealogy database.  The problem is that in a nation where people are even afraid to return their census information for fear of being deported, it would be a challenge to get everyone to participate.

I wish there were one centralized place on the Internet where everyone put his or her genealogical information.  It seems to me that Wikipedia could be a good source for having something like this since everyone goes to that site for information anyways.  If any of the three people reading this blog happen to know of a good one, leave a comment.