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Genealogy’s Renaissance

This undated image provided by Ancestry.com shows a family tree made on the genealogy website Ancestry.com which agreed to be acquired by a group led by European private equity firm Permira Funds in a cash deal valued at about $1.6 billion on Monday, Oct . 22, 2012. (AP)

This undated image provided by Ancestry.com shows a family tree made on the genealogy website Ancestry.com which agreed to be acquired by a group led by European private equity firm Permira Funds in a cash deal valued at about $1.6 billion on Monday, Oct . 22, 2012. (AP)

In the past few years, genealogy — like so many fields — has undergone a tech boom. There are television shows, online databases, and DNA tests, have transformed the once quaint pastime of searching through dusty old documents. That’s one of the reasons why a recent article on The Verge, an online tech, science and culture site, really caught our eye. In it writer Laura June claims that Data and DNA will eventually make the question “where did I come from” instantly solvable. Or as June writes, “The eternal search for our ancestors is coming to an end.”

It’s an interesting, thought provoking claim, especially to New England ears, as we live in a part of the country that not only has some of the best historical record keeping anywhere, but is also home to the oldest and largest genealogical society in the nation.

Guests

David Lambert, chief of genealogy at the New England Historical Genealogy Society.

Steve Brown, WBUR reporter and amateur genealogist.

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The Verge “Genealogy’s next phase, which is quickly approaching, is actually its end game. The massive accumulation, digitization, and accessibility of data combined with recent advances in DNA testing mean the questions we have about our families — who they were, how they got here, and how they’re related to us — will soon be instantly solvable. Realistically, the pursuit of family history as it exists now probably won’t be around in 20 years: most of the mysteries are disappearing, and fast.”


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Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer is co-hosting Radio Boston while Meghna Chakrabarti is on maternity leave.

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