The world's largest family reunion ... we're all invited! | A.J. Jacobs | Summary and Q&A

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The world's largest family reunion ... we're all invited! | A.J. Jacobs

TL;DR

In this talk, the speaker shares his experience of discovering a massive and interconnected family tree through genealogy and discusses the scientific, historical, and social significance of this discovery.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What inspired the speaker to dive into genealogy?

The speaker received an email from a man in Israel claiming to be his 12th cousin, which sparked his interest in exploring genealogy.

Q: How do websites like Geni create massive family trees?

Websites like Geni use collaboration and crowdsourcing methods to combine family trees. They search for matching individuals in different family trees and merge them together, resulting in massive family trees with thousands or even millions of people.

Q: What is the significance of having a world family tree with millions of people?

The world family tree provides valuable scientific data about the history of the human race, including disease inheritance and migration patterns. It also brings history alive and creates a sense of interconnectedness among all individuals, highlighting the fact that we are all biological cousins.

Q: How does having a large family tree contribute to a kinder world?

The speaker believes that a large family tree makes it difficult for people to hold biases or prejudices against particular ethnic groups. It reminds individuals that they are cousins with thousands of people from different backgrounds and encourages a more inclusive and compassionate view of family and humanity as a whole.

Q: What is the purpose of the speaker's upcoming family reunion?

The speaker is hosting a family reunion that aims to be the biggest and best in history. It will take place at the New York Hall of Science and will feature exhibits, food, music, and speakers, including famous cousins. The purpose is to celebrate the notion of family and tribe while exploring important issues related to family and finding solutions together.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker received an email from a distant cousin, prompting him to explore genealogy. He discovered that he is connected to millions of people around the world through massive, collaborative family trees found on genealogy websites.

  • The study of genealogy has scientific value, providing insights into how diseases are inherited and how people migrate. It also brings history alive, making famous figures more relatable and engaging.

  • Genealogy highlights our interconnectedness and shows that we are all biological cousins. This can promote a kinder world by challenging bigotry and creating a more inclusive society. Additionally, genealogy has a democratizing effect, as everyone is related and family lineage is becoming more diverse and inclusive.

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