Conversations I Wish I Had

The Meaning and Meaninglessness of Genealogy

The Human Evolution Blog

The practice of genealogy, researching one’s ancestors and family tree, has exploded lately. Ancestry.com has become a huge success, boasting millions of subscribers and a net worth well over half a billion dollars. Many, if not most, families in the US have at least one person actively researching the long-forgotten twists and turns of their family tree.

It’s an understandable obsession, of course. The preoccupation with who we are and where we came from has plagued humanity since the dawn of civilization. We put up pictures of our great-great- grandparents, whom we never met and are long dead, and bore all of our houseguests with their stories.

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(The Lents family, ca. ~1918)

But what does it all really mean?

Genealogical Surprises

Ancestry.com and other genealogy businesses have made a common practice of digging deep into the background of celebrities (something people are obsessed with even more than genealogy) as a…

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This entry was posted on December 30, 2014 by .
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