Family History Network, Wednesday 25 October 2023

The next meeting of the Family History Network is on Wednesday 25th October at 12pm. 

The zoom link for this meeting is:

The session will be led by Esther Fitzpatrick and Mike Fitzpatrick on their research into family history incorporating DNA. Their abstract is below: 

Gene-ealogy: a method of becoming with DNA and archival data

Family history research is increasingly subject to possibilities provided via DNA research. While once typically the domain of an aged family member, in recent years, family history research has seen explosive growth on the back of easy access to online records and affordable DNA tests, which have spawned the field of genetic genealogy. Yet, among the frenzy of discovery, there come challenges and potential for academia. What happens when DNA findings do not align with family narratives? And what when there is disruption of narratives of entire ethnic groups?

Mike comes from an analytical scientific research background, and Esther from a critical sociological research background. They work together to gain an understanding of such complexities of identity in ‘postcolonial’ situations. Mike grapples with questions on Irish identity, and Esther with settler colonial identity. We begin this conversation by telling the story of an unexpected autosomal DNA match and how we collaborated to interrogate the match. Then, we touch on the ethical problems DNA findings can bring concerning how people identify as belonging to a family or a larger ethnic group.

In such tricky spaces, theory can provide a critical lens to imagine becoming identities differently.

In readiness for the session, we also invite you to read their article which gives a good sense of their research:

Fitzpatrick, E. & Fitzpatrick, M. (2020). When everything changes: Using critical family history to deconstruct Keesing and Fitzpatrick surnames. Genealogy, 4(1).

If you have specific questions or points for discussion on this topic you’d like Esther and Mike to cover, please send them to Carol Neill or Esther  by next Monday so they can be incorporated into the plan for session.