21st Century Genealogy

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Expert Question: What's genealogy going to be like in the late 21st Century?

Expert Answer: Sixty years ago, there were no European civil records on microfilm and no indexes available to censuses.  Now, as we enter into the twenty-first century, we have access to records throughout most of the world and many indexes have been created for records which genealogists make use of every day. We are making rapid advances all of the time, mainly due to the interest in genealogy and the computer revolution.  But what will genealogical research be like at the end of the 21st century?

You’re sitting in your living room dictating your family tree into a software program which is connected to your interactive television.  The TV has become a tool for research.  Using the remote control, you decide to scan the world-wide phone directory for your surname.  Many show up, however, you decide to connect to one in Sydney, Australia.  Your new found relative pops up on the screen and you introduce yourself, explaining how you are related.  They feel comfortable seeing you and begin to add additional information to your family tree - since they too see it on their screen.  The tree begins to grow.  While they update it, you retrieve a detailed map of Sydney and the history on the migration of Jews to Australia in the 1900s.

Once the tree is complete, you instruct the software’s artificial intelligence to advise you on future research.   It recommends that you obtain a birth certificate for your ancestor who was born in Warsaw in 1846 and tells you that it is available on-line from the Family History Library.  The software connects you to the library and searches the index for the record, translating it into English from Polish when found.  A copy of the document and translation will be instantaneously sent to you via electronic mail.

You see there are religious institutional records from Lithuania which used to be on microfilm in the 1900s.  The only microfilms and microfiche available are at antique markets.  All records have been digitized by scanners so you connect to the archives in Riga and search for the information you desire.  Since the computers can recognize words, they have already indexed the records even though they are in eighteen century Russian script.  The charge for using the database is automatically debited directly from your bank account after validating the transaction by a “digital signature”.


The problem with the above scenario is that if it does come true, you probably won’t be around to see it.  So, in the meantime, save your descendants some time and keep up the hard work!

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© 2006-2012 by Family Tree Expert


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© 2006-2012 by Family Tree Expert


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© 2006-2012 by Family Tree Expert


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