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Archiver > TMG > 2011-01 > 1294595410

Subject: Re: [TMG] [Bulk] Re: Same-sex couple with child
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2011 17:50:10 +0000 (UTC)
In-Reply-To: <>


Just exactly what will these charts/reports that display social relationships be called?

Unless you want to re-define the meaning of the words 'descendant' and 'ancestor' it would be fraudulent to use those words in those charts/reports.

If those terms were to be used in relationship to such charts it would just be one more example of family historians co-opting genealogical terms and then seeking to re-defining them for their own purposes.

"Hitch not the Chariot of State to the twin steeds of Government and Religion, for down that path lies chaos"
Leto II

----- Original Message -----
From: "Chris Sackett" <>
Sent: Sunday, January 9, 2011 11:04:30 AM
Subject: Re: [TMG] [Bulk] Re: Same-sex couple with child

I've been watching this debate with interest from the sidelines. My take on it is that, like it or not, genealogy programs are going to need to catch up with the reality of the new family structures. Because I don't publish recent data, for privacy reasons, I haven't needed to grapple much with how to show non-biological relationships such as adoptions or fostering, let alone same-sex "marriages". However, I have remarked a hundred times to family and friends that the study of family history is going to be much more challenging for future generations. Nearly all historical research so far has been of very orderly families, but all that is changing dramatically.

TMG recognises some of this with -Ado and -Fst tags, but needs to go much further, for example in enabling charts to show non-biological relationships as well as biological ones, if appropriate on the same chart. A strict definition of genealogy, relating to biological descent, is going to prove to be too narrow for future family historians. The "family" is being redefined already, and the recording of family history has to keep pace with what society says a family is, not with what it used to mean in more ordered times.

TMG should be at the forefront of this inevitable widening of definitions. We should seek consensus on which non-biological relationships might be included in a family history study, and devise means to report and display these relationships. Some charting symbols are already in use by others. For example, GenoPro, which seems to have had a background in the social sciences, has symbols for all sorts of relationships and events, including adoption, fostering, twins, stillbirths, and you can even add the family pet. It has symbols to distinguish identical twins from non-identical, and can symbolise triplets comprising, for example, a male, a female, and a female stillborn. It can show divorces, separations, and "living together". Genealogy will not need the social, business, medical, or emotional relationships that can be displayed with GenoPro, but a good few of the family relationships are relevant, drawing the line perhaps at "temporary relationship/ one night stand", alth!
ough there is even a symbol for that.

Part of our role as family historians is to report complicated data simply, and one of the more effective ways we can do this is with charts. To cope with current social trends, we are going to need more tools in the box than we have now. Enhancing the charting options would be a good place to start.

Chris Sackett

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