Notes from the White County Historical Society

By Charlene Shields

Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."

Copyright ©2001 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Tammy Knox, editor, "The Carmi Times."

Scientific genealogy

For more years than I care to admit, one of my more interesting hobbies
has been trying to trace my genealogy. Now, my mind reels when I read of
the brave, new world of scientific genealogy. Newspapers and magazines
are full of it.

How can it be that one can use a Q-tip to take a swab from the inside of
one's jaw and have it compared with small markers in a family tree data
base and learn that one is a relative of a group of forebears who
arrived in the Middle East as hunter-gatherers 25,000 years ago?

Biochemistry has become so powerful that it's now possible to deduce
ancient human history from a drop of blood or a few shed skin cells.
How can it be that there is a map and a clock of human history in every
cell? The prospects of what may be accomplished in the field of
population genetics in the next few decades is beyond the stretches of
my little mind.

Will genealogy libraries 100 years from now consist of testing labs and
huge data bases of gene information?

One scientist predicts that the more naive searchers may be dismayed at
what they find. Martin Tracey, a professor of genetics at Florida
International University in Miami says, "Five per cent of the people in
America may find they are sending Father's Day cards to the wrong guy!"


You've probably read this old saw someplace. This is the story of the
Smiths who were proud of their family traditions. Their ancestors had
come to America on the Mayflower, and the family included senators and
Wall Street wizards. The family decided to compile a family history, a
legacy for their children and grandchildren. So the family hired a fine
author to put together all their research notes. However, one problem
arose: how to handle great Uncle George, who was executed in the
electric chair. The author said not to worry for he could handle the
story tactfully. When the book appeared, here is what it said:

"Great Uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an
important government institution. He was attached to his position by the
strongest of ties, and his death came as a great shock."


The Genealogy Library is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 to 2.
Come in and peruse our expanded resources.

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The Coordinator for the White County, Illinois ILGenWeb page is Cindy Birk Conley

Copyright © 2001 by Cindy Birk Conley, all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercial use of the information contained in these pages is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright notice must appear with the information.