This morning I happened to hear an interview on CBC radio on the program "The Current". Author A.J. Jacobs was being interviewed regarding his new book It's all Relative: Adventures up and down the world's family tree. He was discussing genealogy, and the attempts by groups such as FamilySearch to map everyone in the world onto one family tree.
Jacobs has discovered that he is related to Hillary Clinton, George Bush, Barack Obama and more through these world trees. The obvious first question that popped into my head as a critically-thinking genealogist is how stringent the proof is and what quality of sources are being used in these worldwide family trees to ensure that the research is accurate. Obviously no one can research the whole world's tree alone, but you also don't want to rely on what could be someone else's flimsy evidence when making a relationship claim. Jacobs did acknowledge these inherent risks in his interview, while still recognizing the value of these ambitious projects.
The interview also discussed the value of genetic genealogy, and the benefits of understanding all our interconnectedness to promote peace. Luckily this is the time of year when every DNA testing company has a sale, so those inspired by the interview to have their DNA tested will get the benefit of the best prices of the year. Overall, it was a very interesting interview, and I eagerly await the copy of Jacob's book from the library.