Thursday, March 28, 2013

Politics, Religion, and Genealogy

There are some who think discussions of politics and religion don't belong on a genealogy blog, but I disagree. Politics and religion are hopelessly intertwined with family history research.

When I first began researching, I downloaded some research forms from a source that won't be named. I'm sure there are millions of similar forms out there. Below are two clippings from a "Family Group Sheet."

I knew instantly back in 2007 that if I were going to give the form to relatives to fill out, I would need to change at least one word. And I did change that word to, 'Naming.'

While that is the only word I changed back in 2007, looking at the form today, it does present other issues. How do I record a domestic partnership? A civil union? I have some friends who are participating in a handfasting later this year. They're not my relatives, but they are somebody's relatives. How would I record that? It would make things a lot easier if the same word was used for all unions, wouldn't it? There is power in a union.

Of course, the confusion doesn't end with different terms for different unions. Do I only include a space for the biological parents (which appear to be implied above), or should I include space for adopted parents as well? How do I handle a case where the parents received either a sperm or egg donation from a third party?

So, to those who insist that religion and politics be separated from genealogy, I ask: "How?"

A selection of prior posts concerning politics, religion and genealogy:


Emily Garber said...

Of course you could have changed that word to Bris. ;-)

John said...

That doesn't work for the female naming ceremonies popular among the Reform community, nor the 25% of my cousins who aren't Jewish.