family history

Presenting at the upcoming ESA conference on Family Secrecy in the Information Age by Katy Barbier-Greenland

I’m so excited to be presenting at the upcoming European Sociological Association conference! The conference is going to be the gathering for sociologists of all types and disciplines and is called ‘Europe and Beyond: Boundaries, Barriers and Belonging’. It will be held in Manchester, UK from 20 – 23 August 2019.

My paper is part of the 'Simmel and beyond' session for researchers whose work grapples with Simmel’s theories on the 100th anniversary of his death. The paper will be delivered in conjunction with one of my supervisors, A/Prof Deb Dempsey. Here’s the abstract:

Family Secrecy in the Information Age: A Re-Examination of Simmel’s ‘The Sociology of Secrecy and Secret Societies’

Discovering an unexpected major family secret typically has significant, ongoing personal and psychological consequences for those involved. Reproductive family secrets, such as those associated with conception and birth, are arguably more difficult to keep in an information age. People are now able to access their family history and biogenetic information in unprecedented ways due to factors including more open policy and legislative trends regarding donors and donation in reproduction, and enhanced opportunities to identify and connect with family members online. Further, sales of DNA home testing kits are expected to reach 100 million by 2021, and family history searches are the second most popular use of the Internet

This talk is based on stories from an empirical research project entitled 'Family Secrets, Secret Families'. Secrets discovered by participants included adoption, donor conception, hidden or secret children, and mis-assigned parentage. In the talk, we reflect on Simmel’s essay 'The sociology of secrecy and of secret societies' and assess its contemporary relevance for how knowledge, power, truth, silence, disclosure, and trust play out in families with reproductive secrets. We argue that Simmels’ insights continue to offer a valuable framework for understanding the power and function of knowledge and information management in family life in the era of the Internet and home DNA testing.

Check out the Family Tree Live speaker blogs! by Katy Barbier-Greenland

The Family Tree Live blogs are up! Mine’s accessible here and includes a really lovely writeup from Helen Tovey, one of the organisers. Tickets are selling like hotcakes apparently and you can pick yours up at the Family Tree Live website for 12 pounds….not bad!

Only three months to go, and excited to be catching up with an amazing psychologist I met along my research journey who lives in London and has expertise in working with families after discovering similar events. Also looking forward to just, well…being in London! I haven’t been there before except to whiz through to other places for other conferences so really excited to have a couple of days there to hang out with the UK’s best family history folk and check out London itself.

DNA, genealogy and the Double Helix History project by Katy Barbier-Greenland

I recently participated in a focus group discussion on the ways in which DNA has impacted on family history work at the Nederlandse Genealogische Vereniging, which is the Dutch Genealogical Society. Prof Jerome de Groot ran the group whilst visiting from University of Manchester, UK, as part of his world tour collecting data for the Double Helix History project. The Double Helix History project explores how people ‘get’ and understand their history and themselves, and there’s a lot more to come from this project.

The afternoon was a fascinating discussion with the Netherland’s best genealogy experts: technical, interesting and insightful! Lovely to catch up again with genealogy expert John Boeren who runs Antecedentia and to talk all things family history, DNA and identity with Jerome.

Family Tree Live update by Katy Barbier-Greenland

Family Tree Live UK is really coming together…the organisers are busily organising blogs for all speakers which is going to be really fun in terms of updating and sharing news and ideas to a new audience. While my project is based in sociology and psychology, I’ve found that it has really strong resonance with family history, so I’m excited to give this talk to this new audience.

Actually, it’s the first time I will be able to draw on my background as a social worker as well as my PhD research to reflect on the impacts of family secret discoveries arising from genealogical research, and what on earth to do about them…how to prepare, how to support yourself and others. I hope the talk will compliment some of the more technical talks which are the ‘how to’, because this won’t give you tips on finding people but if you find something unexpected, it’ll help you with the ‘what next’.

Presenting at Family Tree Live UK! by Katy Barbier-Greenland

I got some great news this week - I’ve been accepted to deliver a talk at the genealogy conference called Family Tree Live UK! This conference is a two-day family history conference held at the incredible venue Alexandra Palace in London. So excited to be back in the UK and I can’t wait to give this talk - it’s one that I’ve been wanting to give for a long time now.

My talk is called ‘Inheriting the unexpected: Dealing with unforeseen family secret discoveries arising from genealogical research’ and draws on my background in psychology and social work, and of course this project - my PhD - in sociology and psychology. I’m really interested in sharing my thoughts around how people might prepare themselves, and how they might support themselves and others. It’s clear from my research that the effects of discovering something major in your family history can reverberate throughout your life, and tends to be a profound and ongoing experience of rewriting your life story.

Post Secret Lives rundown by Katy Barbier-Greenland

I worked as one of three event techs at the Secret Lives history conference recently in Leicester, UK. What an experience….exhausting! Fascinating! Fun!

A great range of talks and some wonderful people. Some talks by amazing public figures like Emily Brand, Nick Barratt and Janina Ramirez, all of whom were absolutely captivating speakers when they shared their slice of history.

I also had some really insightful conversations with people there about their own experiences in searching for or discovering intriguing stories about their own families or those of others in their work as genealogists. All in all a great experience, although I’m definitely not giving up my day job as a freelance writer slash PhD student to become a technical person (of any kind) anytime soon…..

Genealogy conference announcements! by Katy Barbier-Greenland

Is it just me, or are there suddenly an abundance of fantastic family secret related events cropping up? Two conferences on family history were announced yesterday, both held in the UK next year. Of course I'm planning on attending both, and hopefully will get the chance to share some of my research findings. 

The first is The Genealogy Show, a conference held over two days in Birmingham in June 2019. Follow their FB page for the latest news. The second is Family Tree Live, held in London at the end of April. There isn't a whole heap of info as yet but it's early days so watch this space. Looking forward to both!

#familysecrets #familyhistory #genealogy #ancestry

Family history and emotions by Katy Barbier-Greenland

I think one reason why family history and family secret discoveries can be so impactful on us is because they're inextricably linked to two of the key factors that make us human - family and identity. The impacts of tracing your family history can certainly be profound, thoughtfully expressed in this beautifully written, sad piece by @kimberly_writes

#family #familyhistory #familysecrets #Genealogy #Ancestry