As a family historian I admit to being a bit loosey-goosey with some rules of genealogy research. For instance, I’m much more interested in collecting a good (preferably accurate) story about an ancestor than I am in nailing down a citation for a marriage certificate.
That’s not to say that I don’t try to verify the accuracy of people I’ve listed in my own family tree, it’s just that I’m not as concerned about these things as a professional genealogist would be.
It’s from this point of view that I’ve pondered the recent trend toward recognizing same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court in my home state of Iowa has ruled in favor of such unions and the people of New Hampshire recently voted to allow them as well. I expect that other states will follow suit.
My question is: How will same-sex marriages affect how people track their family trees? Mind you, I have no answer to this question and I was pleased to note that no less a genealogical expert than Dick Eastman had no answer either in this post from last November, though some of his commentors did.
A broader question for me is whether family trees should track “family lines” or “bloodlines.” Adoptions pose much the same problems as non-traditional marriages in a family tree context. To track bloodlines, birth parents must be known and shown at every branch of the tree. And who can say for certain whether those children now listed as family members from several generations ago really are the biological offspring of their listed parents?
With the proliferation of DNA testing in recent years, I wonder if this will truly help or merely muddy things even further. These are difficult, important questions worth considering when doing family history work.
Writing prompt of the day: Examine your own family tree for possible problems as outlined in this post. Have you dealt with them to your satisfaction?
Flickr photo courtesy of tntblonde.