Connections Between Family Data and Wider Meanings

  • William Sims BainbridgeEmail author
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


Popular computer technologies may be used effectively today to assemble historical data about families into accurate and meaningful narratives, whether by family members themselves or by professional historians. A major technology development effort was the Digital Library Initiative of the 1990s, led by the National Science Foundation, that set the stage for several aspects of current family history archiving. To provide contrast with this vast collective effort, and prepare for consideration of family data challenges, the distinctive life of trapper and utopian Sewell Newhouse (1806–1888) is summarized, highlighting the fact that human fame is capricious and can distort historical records. The next example of connections between kinds of data and human meanings, one activity of a rural family in the early 1940s, links to general principles of the relationship between humans and nature, and between individuals and world events. Consideration of the career of genealogist Louis Effingham de Forest (1891–1952) suggests how the profession of family historian may evolve, while raising questions about how families may handle uncomfortable facts that may be discovered. The conclusion combines photographs and census data to show how the structure of a nuclear family may be delineated for the period 1900–1940.


Digital Library Initiative (DLI) Oneida Community Census Record Arabella Pigeon Racing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent historianChantillyUSA

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