Saturday, February 6, 2010

SNGF - the Super Bowl of Genealogy

Tonight's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun mission is to describe my dream game of the Super Bowl of Genealogy --

* Where would it be played?
* What teams would play?
* Who would be the head coaches?
* Who would be the stars of the game?
* Who would win?
* Who are the cheerleaders?
* If you were playing in the game, what would be your dream play?

And who do you think will win the NFL Super Bowl Colts-Saints game on Sunday? Your score prediction, please!

My responses --

1) Where would it be played? The obvious answer is Salt Lake City at the Family History Library!

2) What teams would play? The obvious answer, in early 2010, is the commercial one side and the LDS on the other.

3) Who would be the head coaches? Perhaps Tim Sullivan, the CEO of, and David Rencher, Chief Genealogical Officer, on the FamilySearch side.

4) Who would be the stars of the game? This is more difficult because we don't know the names of many of the players on either team. We only know the names of some of the leaders, and some of the publicity people. Thousands of people toil in anonymity in order to bring new databases and web sites online for all of us to use and learn from.

5) Who would win? The game is still being played, obviously. This is not a one-day or one-season competition. and FamilySearch are competing and collaborating for genealogy business and influence. Their game plans are very different - one team puts information online for a fee (but offers free access at selected places) while the other does it all for free. FamilySearch had the lead for several years (with free access to old databases, and indexes for certain census records), but caught up and passed them years ago (offering more databases with a superior search capability). FamilySearch is aggressively digitizing and indexing records from public sources and their vast microform collection, and they have, in my mind, tied Ancestry at half-time.

6) Who are the cheerleaders? You and me, of course! All genealogy researchers.

Are there other players? Of course - FamilyLink (nee WorldVitalRecords), Footnote, New England Historic Genealogical Society, National Genealogical Society, GenealogyBank, FindMyPast, Godfrey Library, HeritageQuestOnline, MyHeritage, Geni, GeneaNet, OneGreatFamily, RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree DNA, GeneTree, Allen County Public Library, and others are playing in the Genealogy All-Star league. They are all winners, in my book.

Competition between companies and societies are a good thing - they bring out the best for everybody, as long as there is fair play, cooperation and collaboration. I think that we've seen a lot of competition and collaboration over the last few years in genealogy, and I hope that it continues in the coming years. There are many individuals in the wide world of genealogy that make things happen that are not affiliated with companies - bloggers, researchers, speakers, society leaders, writers, editors, and the like - all working to make genealogy research better, and challenging all of us to learn more, perform better research and help others along the path to genealogy research excellence.

The real winners of the "genealogy playoffs" and the "super bowl of genealogy" are the users of genealogy resources and databases - the millions of researchers rooting for all of the teams to play and succeed with their game plans.

I dream of playing in a big game. My dream is to be a wide receiver in the Super Bowl of Genealogy - running down the field in a zig-zag pattern and catching a big database (or even one measly page!) chock full of information about my ancestors. I'd love to score touchdowns in Dodge County WI, Jefferson County NY, Windham County CT, Louisa County IA, Oxford County ME, Barnstable County MA, Norfolk County ON and in Wiltshire in England. In a stadium full of my relatives and ancestors cheering me on ... maybe they'd hold a dinner or a parade in my honor.

Oh - the Colts-Saints game on Sunday? I'm predicting a Saints win - 41 to 38 coming from behind in the last minute for the highest scoring Super Bowl ever.

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