So, removing the delusional aspects of vicarious ordinances of slavation for those who are dead, what do you think of "genealogy work"? Certainly, it keeps many people occupied on something of unknown value. The LDS church is a big resource for many non-members seeking to uncover their ancestry.

For me, all of "the work" has been done by dedicated, mainstream LDS members of my extended family. For my own part, I had an occasion to make a tour of parts of Great Britain to find actual places listed in the genealogy. I never felt that this was in anyway important to my deceased ancestors but I found it enlightening personally. I feel it added to my sense of identity.

From a personal, secular perspective, is such knowledge useful? Can it be useful for families as well (for example, seeing patterns of dysfunctional relationships or shorter-than-expected lifespans)?

Thoughts?

Tags: ancestors, genealogy, history

Views: 25

Replies to This Discussion

The object of these extensive records is to compile the names of females to take to the temple to marry to worthy mormons. The afterlife for these templed souls will be to breed many many spirit children to be born on the worlds these gentlemen will be the GOD...
Well, yes, I remember this dogmatic aspect but I was more interested in the secular and pragmatic aspects. Is genealogy research a useless venture from a secular or scientific point of view?
Utah is a goldmine for medical geneticists, given all of the intermarriage, polygamy, and meticulous record-keeping. I was informed of this fact by my genetics professor at the U of Utah. Not only has he benefited professionally, but humanity has benefited from the discoveries made by geneticists in Utah.

Now, if you want to get into the particulars of Myriad Genetics "patenting" the sequence of BRCA-1, a gene which is strongly associated with breast and other cancers (how the hell can you "patent" a sequence of DNA, anyway?!?), that's another matter. But, on the whole, I would say this is one solid positive from all of those genealogical efforts.

I personally don't care much for it. I am much more interested in the future of the human species (if there is one) and the history of life and the universe, rather than my own particular past.
Funny that this should come up. I actually work for Myriad Genetics and to be completely honest, I don't know how I feel about gene patenting either way.
...but for the sake of equality, I'll play devils advocate for a while.

People argue that companies like myriad have no right to patent something they themselves didn't create. But couldn't the same thing be said of a miner? He didn't create the ore, but we give him the exclusive right to extract it if he's the one that found it. Otherwise it would be chaos as competing miners descended upon his mine shaft he built. There would be no motivation for other miners to find ore deposits since they could just wait for someone else to do the dirty work of finding ore and building the mineshaft.
The same thing would happen if the BRCA genes weren't allowed to be patented. Lots of time money was spent on R&D before they found this gene, and there ought to be some kind of payoff for taking that risk or else no company will stick their necks out to find new genetic tests.
Doing genealogical data entry from home for the central borg unit taught my 75 year old mom to use a computer so there is that.

Snark aside, while I was always smugly proud to know that there was Danish royalty far back on my tree, as an adoptee, I never truly felt like it really mattered or that I could claim it as my own.

Re the usefulness to society as a whole, my Mom-in-law worked for some time at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and, with family consent, they are actively using the vast Utah genealogical database in cancer research. I call that a Win!
I would say that most genealogy studies like the Mormon church engages in are not very valuable from a scientific point of view unless there are lots of DNA samples from inside the family tree. For years Iceland has had some type of government program in place that tracks the DNA of its citizens, and has provided a lot of interesting results regarding gene flow in human populations. I don't remember exactly how it works, but I think every citizen is required to have a sample of his/her DNA submitted to a national laboratory?

So, it's pretty much worthless to science unless you have DNA.

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