When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

04 July 2007

Genealogy as martial art

My family (by blood and marriage) has been having enormous fun with Geni, a collaborative Web-based application for building family trees. The genius, pardon the expression, of the app is that it spreads virally--you enter e-mail addresses of your living relatives as you place them on the family tree, and everyone who logs in sees a view that is relative to them.

So why is the viral-spread aspect so cool? Well, from a starting point of a few dozen folks a few weeks ago, my Geni tree has grown to almost 400 people. Southerners, in addition to the more conservative forms of Protestant Christianity, tend to practice ancestor worship, so this is not unusual, but the Midwestern Jewish side of the family is more than holding its own.

The Geni system sends you updates when people are added to "your" tree, no matter how tenuous the links might be.

Some folks have gotten so enthusiastic about entering family members that there are now people I've not only never met, but never even knew existed, in our tree.

This system notification from Geni is the winner so far:
XXX just addded YYY, your first cousin's daughter-in-law's ex-husband's ex-wife.
That right there is damn nearly a country and western song. Whew!


No comments: