Consanguinity: (kŏn'săng-gwĭn'ĭtē) , relationship by blood, whether linear or collateral.

Primarily concentrating on my Browning family from Harrison County, Ohio (and their subsequent move to Crawford County, Illinois) but I've got Plymell, Crago, Eagleton, Garrard, McConnell, Nichols, Swan, Nevitt, Huls, Markee, Depperman, Papstein/Popstein and Hamilton in there too. And that's just the beginning......

Monday, February 29, 2016

Today's Changing World: Can Genealogy Software Keep Up?

There's no denying genealogy today is in flux.  There are new technologies, like DNA, to assist us in searching for our forebears.  We enjoy much easier access to primary source material than in years past.  We have programs that store our data and make it instantly shareable.  We can build our own online databases and easily access those of other researchers. 

We could even argue that we have too much access -- as it becomes simpler to absorb the work of other researchers into our own, we're statistically more susceptible to accuracy issues.  We have to become ever more vigilant when fact-checking because simple logic says as more data becomes available, our chances of encountering mistakes becomes higher. 

I'm okay with that.  I understand misinformation will leach out into the aether.  I feel it's my responsibility as a practical genealogist to accept some amount of inaccuracy and do my best to combat it in my own work. I can't "fix" everyone else's.  I can only endeavor to make sure my work is as thorough as possible and take what I find out 'there' with the proverbial grain of salt until I conduct independent research.  In other words, I've decided to stick to tending to my own backyard first. 

My own backyard, so to speak, has its share of interesting dilemmas. One way in which genealogy has changed a lot is in its approach to the modern world.  Software has adjusted to the 'partner' relationship, accepting marriage is not the only way in which humans decide to bond.  With gay marriage now legal in these fifty states, software has updated to allow us to link same-sex partners in the bonds of marriage without beeping at us because we've chosen the same sex for both marriage partners.  We have software fully capable of accepting step families and those who are adopted.

But what about transgendered individuals?  Has software adjusted to this change yet?

I am honestly asking.  The software I used, The Master Genealogist, has been discontinued.  I'm looking for comparative software to invest in before I lose my data to compatibility issues with Windows 10.  TMG allowed for a lot of flexibility with custom data fields that I haven't been able to find with any other software out there.  If anyone is reading who can offer me suggestions I'll be happy to entertain them.

Why?  Because I need superior flexibility.  In years past in this blog I've mentioned my daughter.  My daughter -- who is now my son.  I am so proud of him for finally deciding to follow what his entire being has been crying out to be for almost as long as he's been alive.  He is a transgender man, and I want to give him his proper due in my database. 

Is there any software out there that can handle the changing of gender in the midst of life?  Or will I only be able to change his gender to male and make a note of his biological birth as a female in the custom notes -- which may or may not transfer correctly to databases in the future? 

Surely I'm not the only genealogist facing these issues.  I'm curious how others have approached it.


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