An AP story making the rounds today calls the use of the Internet and DNA testing "extreme genealogy."
Just as modern equipment has made it possible for any reasonably motivated person to climb Mount Everest or dive to the Andrea Doria, new technologies have made it possible to achieve incredible genealogical feats with relatively modest effort.I think the writer has shortchanged some truly extreme genealogists here. It's far easier to retrace the steps of a pioneering researcher than to make the discovery oneself. Knowing where to look and recognizing what one has found are skills that require more than a modest effort to develop, though the clues may seem obvious in retrospect. Genealogy becomes "extreme" when we're blazing new trails—not when we're following bread crumbs left by others.
Now, it takes nothing more than casual curiosity and a few hours of research to discover that New York-based civil rights activist Al Sharpton is descended from slaves who were owned by ancestors of the late South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond, a staunch opponent of desegregation. [Link]