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
Aug 5, 2015
Landon Kimich, 2, sleeps as he receives a chemotherapy treatment for neuroblastoma at Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center on Friday, May 22, 2015. (AP)

After the diagnosis of cancer, another blow – the often-crippling costs of treatment. We look at the soaring price of cancer drugs.

Aug 5, 2015
It can be hard to accept failure. (Flickr / Blacksheep of Omaha)

“Fail fast, fail often” goes the zeitgeist . But should we have such optimism for failure?

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 4, 2015
Jason Segel as author David Foster Wallace in the new film, "The End of the Tour." (Courtesy A24 Films)

Comedic actor Jason Segel gets serious and takes on author David Foster Wallace in the new film, “The End of the Tour. ” He’s with us.

 
Aug 4, 2015
In this Jan. 20, 2015 file photo, a plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, N.H. President Barack Obama on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, will unveil the final version of his unprecedented regulations clamping down on carbon dioxide emissions from existing U.S. power plants. (AP)

Tough new carbon restrictions. What the president is proposing, Germany’s already doing. Will the American people buy in?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 31, 2015
Friday, Jul 31, 2015

A regular reminder that RTs are not endorsements, links have specific authorship and patience is a virtue.

More »
3 Comments
 
Q & A: Scott Walker On The Iran Deal, Huckabee Comments
Monday, Jul 27, 2015

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker explains his opposition to the Iran Deal, his record of statewide electoral victory and why he feels he’s set to win the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

More »
Comment
 
Q & A: Carly Fiorina On Trump, Sexism, And Being Cut From The GOP Debate
Monday, Jul 27, 2015

Republican Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of computer giant Hewlett-Packard, joined guest host John Harwood to talk Donald Trump, the upcoming Republican candidate debate and sexism in modern life.

More »
Comment