[SIGCIS-Members] Internet history and online genealogy

Pierre Mounier mounier at msh-paris.fr
Tue May 4 00:58:21 PDT 2010

I can provide a few facts from outside the US.

In the late 1970s, when I began doing research in public archives  
(mostly local, in Burgundy), archive curators were facing a growing  
demand from amateur genealogists. These were generally retired people  
who had lived through the social and professional change of the 20th  
century and were in quest of their "roots", as well as using genealogy  
as an entry into historical knowledge. This large population added its  
weight to the smaller communities who had always been interested in  
genealogy, such as aristocrats or huguenots.
The Internet (and even before, the Minitel system in France) arrived  
in due time to meet this demand by offering new research and  
communication tools to these genealogists, as well as a welcome relief  
to archive curators.

Hope this helps.
Pierre Mounier-Kuhn

Le 3 mai 10 à 22:42, Janet Abbate a écrit :

> If anyone knows about this and cares to respond, please reply  
> directly to josh.tapper at gmail.com.
> Thanks,
> Janet
> Begin forwarded message:
>> From: Josh Tapper <josh.tapper at gmail.com>
>> Date: April 30, 2010 2:48:42 PM EDT
>> To: abbate at computer.org
>> Subject: question, re: Internet history and online genealogy
>> Dear Prof. Abbate,
>> My name is Josh Tapper;; I'm a freelance journalist and student at  
>> the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York. For the  
>> past few months I've been reporting a story on the rise of  
>> mainstream, or popular, genealogy and what that means for the field  
>> at large. Ancestry.com, an online genealogy search engine and data  
>> compiler, is the world's most prominent source for genealogical  
>> research. Essentially, it controls how people do genealogy.
>> Generally speaking, genealogy has been on the web for years. I've  
>> often heard that it's one of the most search topics. I've also  
>> heard that genealogy (and porn) was behind most Internet activity.
>> I was hoping you might be able to comment on the historical  
>> relationship between genealogy and the Internet. If not, would you  
>> be able to recommend someone who might?
>> Thank you very much,
>> -Josh Tapper
>> M.S. Magazine '10
>> Columbia Graduate School of Journalism
> Dr. Janet Abbate
> Dept. of Science & Technology in Society
> Virginia Tech
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