Thursday, August 28, 2014

Adam and Steve and my family tree

One of the oddities of Genesis is that early editors of that venerable book sustained a computer crash early on and while improvising recovery dropped the "s" and the "t," obscuring the fact it really was Adam and Steve.

As some scholars will tell you, the Big Guy just wanted a little company; and with the guys he had that. Conversation sparkled, the decor excelled, the garden flourished and the cooking was superior --- think Fabulous Beekman Boys.

It was Steve who turned out that Apple pie --- and got the rest of us into trouble.

But it soon became evident that this was too one-dimensional and more than a little boring, so the Creator got to improvising again and pulled a whole new group of people out of his hat --- based on the original models but with variety. There was Max and Helen, Mildred and Sarah --- and quite a few more, other names lost in that formational digital disaster.

This helps to explain why two creation myths, both incomplete, are embedded in holy writ; and also clarifies the messy business of incest that sometimes troubles those who become overly involved with scripture.


In any case, same-sex marriage is back now --- and I've been wondering how my genealogical software was going cope. I use Family Tree Maker synced to

So far as I know, no same-sex couples in my immediate family have tied the knot yet --- and I'm getting a little impatient. It looks like Family Tree Maker will support same-sex marriage with a little jiggering, but I can't be sure how well this will work until a marriage occurs. Unless FTM gets busy, however, it looks like blessed events still will have one parent labeled "mother" and the other "father" --- although both can be of the same gender.

I've thought of creating a mythical couple, then sending it from PC-based program to Web-based program --- just to see what would happen. But there are quite enough imaginary people and invented relationships floating around out there in cyberspace already --- thanks to hack family historians --- and I don't want to risk adding more.

You can get some idea of how the various genealogical programs will cope with same-sex (and other) types of relationships by checking out Wikipedia's comparison charts, here. Just keep in mind that "support" and "accurately reflect" relationships are two different things, so more research will be required.

Also keep in mind that a good deal of the genealogical infrastructure is involved in one way or another with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints whose aged hierarchy is not at all amused by same-sex marriage (polygamy, on the other hand, remains a pleasant memory and future --- eternal --- possibility). So LDS-generated or intimately linked genealogical programs are unlikely to support same-sex relationships.


Whatever the case, it'll be fun to watch family history software develop as it tries to keep up with "non-traditional" family structures. I'm sure there are developers out there tearing their hair out. In the meantime, just remember that virtually all programs allow notes to be added and documents to be attached --- and these remain the best routes for clarifying relationships and such until the software catches up.

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