90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Crowdsourcing And The New Genealogy Boom

The genealogy craze meets crowdsourcing . Soon, you may be meeting your 17th cousin. Be prepared for surprises.

US first lady Michelle Obama, center, with her daughters Sasha, and Malia, second from the right, look through archives documenting the Obama's Irish Ancestry during their visit to the Old Library at Trinity College, in Dublin, Ireland, Monday, June 17, 2013. The first lady and her daughters were given a presentation on their own family genealogy and connection to Ireland. (AP)

US first lady Michelle Obama, center, with her daughters Sasha, and Malia, second from the right, look through archives documenting the Obama’s Irish Ancestry during their visit to the Old Library at Trinity College, in Dublin, Ireland, Monday, June 17, 2013. The first lady and her daughters were given a presentation on their own family genealogy and connection to Ireland. (AP)

Americans are crazy for genealogy.  For tracking down the family tree.  Back to the immigrant.  Back to the slave.  The native American.  Back to the stagecoach driver, the ship’s captain, the duke, the duchess, the great grandmother who sang in vaudeville.  A new generation of apps make it easier.  A new generation of algorithms is tying family trees together.  Letting you know you’re a seventeenth cousin once-removed to Daniel Boone or Malcolm X or Marie Antoinette – or the classmate who bugs you.  Then what? This hour On Point:  the new frontiers of genealogy.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

A.J. Jacobs, author and journalist. Author of “The Know-It-All,” “The Year of Living Biblically,” My Life As An Experiment” and ‘Drop Dead Healthy.”  (@ajjacobs)

Judy G. Russell, writer and genealogist. Blogger at “The Legal Genealogist.”

Spencer Wells, geneticist and director of the Genographic Project at National Geographic.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times:  Are You My Cousin? – “My family tree sprawls far and wide. It’s not even a tree, really. More like an Amazonian forest. At last count, it was up to nearly 75 million family members. In fact, there’s a good chance you’re on some far-flung branch of my tree, and if you aren’t, you probably will be soon. It’s not really my tree. It’s our tree.”

The Verge: Who am I? Data and DNA answer one of life’s big questions — “Taking a peek into the past now requires nothing more than a decent internet connection and a laptop. DNA testing, which just a few years ago cost thousands of dollars and offered little information for genealogists, is now a growing consumer option, reaching back hundreds of years to provide undreamed of amounts of information about our ancestors.”

The Desert News: Gaming for genealogy: Helping bring genealogy to a digital generation –“One of Taylor’s most compelling arguments for introducing gaming to genealogy was that current family history methods need to speak to a ‘new generation of genealogists.’ The upcoming generation has been involved in the digital world since birth, and many of them have hardly any experience with physical records.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 24, 2014
In this photo taken Wednesday, July 30, 2014, Silicon Valley pioneer and Silent Circle co-founder Jon Callas holds up Blackphone with encryption apps displayed on it at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.  (AP)

We’ll look at privacy, security, and the battle heating up between intelligence agencies and tech companies that are moving to encrypt your communication.

Nov 24, 2014
Homeless people stay with their belongings under the Pontchartrain Expressway overpass in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. The city’s health department put up notices Monday giving the estimated 150 homeless people 72 hours to leave the area. (AP)

Smashing the assumptions about what it’s really like to live in poverty in America.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

 
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Calling All Interns, Calling All Interns
Monday, Nov 24, 2014

Have you ever thought about interning with On Point Radio? Good news: your time is now!

More »
Comment
 
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: November 21, 2014
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We offer a panel of hand-drawn digital sheep, and wonder how to best lead the rest of you to programs that matter.

More »
2 Comments