Wednesday, May 7, 2008

An evening with Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs, author of the bestselling Temperance Brennan books and Technical Advisor to the TV show "Bones" was in the area last evening. Thinking about her work in forensic anthropology and our own genealogy can draw a number of comparisons.

  1. We want answers to the unknown
  2. We want to know who the person was
  3. We want to know the cause of death
  4. We want to know the ethnicity of the person
  5. We want to know where they lived

But, as genealogists, we also want to know about the person's family. What was their life like? Who was their family, siblings and extended family? And naturally, we want the vital statistics: birth and marriage along with land records and probate.

Both fields encompass the use of deduction and reasoning. If we find one clue to a person's life, what other items should we search? We analyze the information for the validity, incorporate it in our research, obtain another clue, and continue with the analysis and validity. Each is a circle borne of the need to get accurate information. Both fields cite sources. Where was the information obtained? Is it a legitimate find and raises no doubt as to the veracity of the information?

Both fields rely upon photographs. With the forensic field, photos may be used in showing the location of the body or bodies, the cleansing of the bones, and the reconstruction of the person. We use the camera too. Only our photos may be of tombstones, documents, homes, and land marks pertinent to our ancestor.

Yes, we have a lot in common. Now if ol' Aunt Merle could just get a TV series!

--Aunt Merle

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