Friday, June 19, 2015

Family Trees Catching Up to the Times (Or Not) - Pride Edition



There have been some really positive developments regarding the way that the online tree companies record and display same-sex marriages.

Family Tree Maker can record same-sex marriages fairly simply.

Ancestry.com's online trees had this annoying feature: they listed my wife's relatives as "xxx of husband." This has changes, and now they list them as "xxx of spouse." 

Yesterday was an interesting day for FamilySearch.org, the free service of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). 

FamilySearch.org has been in a tough spot, because the Mormons do not accept same-sex marriages and yet genealogists have to record all sorts of things that some people find uncomfortable or objectionable.  So FamilySearch.org does not allow entry of same-sex unions.

Some genealogists noticed an interesting change in some language on the FamilySearch.org website, which suggested that this was going to change in the near future.  Thomas MacEntee posted about this change on Geneabloggers.

Within an hour of that post, the FamilySearch.org website was changed to remove the language suggesting that a change was planned.

This is both disappointing and ridiculous. Same-sex marriages happens (I am in one), not just in one state but in thirty six U.S. states and approaching two dozen countries outside of the United States.

The job of a genealogist is that of any historian (and like journalists), to record what actually happened.  Same-sex unions are happening. 

The Mormons have always been strong partners in genealogy, but if they cannot enter the twenty-first century, then genealogy may eventually leave them behind.  Genealogist may research the past, but we do not live in it.