Category Archives: teaching

Misnomer: Information Age

The word information is so commonplace that most of us have never considered its roots, and what it was intended to mean.

World famous chef David Brown has a fascination with words, and he especially likes those words whose usage does not match their intended meaning. He gave me an enlightening new perspective on information.

 

If you break the word information into two parts, you get “in formation.” This term implies organized arrangement. Geese fly “in formation,” The Blue Angels fly “in formation,” a convoy travels “in formation,” armies march “in formation,” football teams face off “in formation,” etc.

 

The term Information Age is commonly used to describe something very different than “in formation.” In fact, the majority of data today in our Age is mostly “out of formation.” If data on the Internet were truly “in formation,” search engines such as Google and Yahoo wouldn’t exist because they wouldn’t be needed.

 

Thinking about this “in or out of formation” concept gave me an exciting new perspective on the Family Forest® Project. This digital indexing tour guide service has now become one of the most “in formation” data projects ever.

 

It is so “in formation” that software can data-mine this precisely and strategically arranged system of digital links to produce literally tens of billions of pages of ancestral history charts, reports, and eBooks, many of which have never existed before.

 

It will probably be at least decades before software can produce similar results by data-mining the “out of formation” data that is now scattered all over the Internet in disconnected bits and pieces as stage-one and stage-two digital content.

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Filed under education, Genealogy, history, internet, life, teaching

“The Tudors” on Showtime

The Tudors

When Kristine and I recently saw an episode of “The Tudors” on Showtime, we turned to the Family Forest® as a program.

 

In this application we used the Family Forest® not so much as a program in the software sense; it is similar to a digital version of a program one buys at a baseball game or receives at a Broadway Show. We use it to learn more about the characters, who they were and how they fit into the actual unfolding of history, so we receive more enjoyment from the performance.

 

Most of the key characters from “The Tudors” are already very extensively lineage-linked in the Family Forest®. This means they are connected to generation-by-generation lines of descent leading into the future, and/or generation-by-generation lines of ancestral pathways leading for a number of centuries into the past. Some of them are connected through family ties to hundreds of thousands of individual relatives from their future and their past.

 

We focused on a downstream view (from the past moving toward the future) of the father of the famous Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas Boleyn Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond see what resulted from his life over the following centuries. A few mouse-clicks in the Family Forest® produce surprising counterintuitive results.

 

Although he was a relatively minor player in the court of King Henry VIII (other than being his father-in-law), his descendants spread far and wide over the centuries. Some became heir to the British throne, some settled in places like Fairmont, WV and Elkader, IA and Paris, AR, and some appear on TV.

 

Prince William and Prince Harry are descended from Sir Thomas Boleyn via their mother, Princess Diana, and via their paternal grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. Their new step-mother, the Duchess of Cornwall, and their aunt, Sarah Ferguson, are also both descended from Sir Thomas Boleyn.

 

A number of Pocahontas’ descendants are also descended from Sir Thomas Boleyn, as are the children of Charles Lindberg, Governor Howard Dean, and President Teddy Roosevelt.

 

The founder of the great oil enterprise that eventually became Exxon, John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. is descended from Sir Thomas Boleyn, and so are Hollywood performers such as Rachel Ward of “The Thorn Birds” and Cary Elwes.

 

Whenever you are watching an episode of “The Tudors” on Showtime, I hope you will remember this post about just one of the many characters, and consider the very likely possibility that one or more of your own ancestors are being portrayed on the show.

 

 

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