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A Physician's Perspective of Genealogy

Medicine was much different for our ancestors!

  • 1 hour
  • 150 US dollars
  • Alpine Lane

Service Description

Physicians have a disciplined approach to taking personal and family histories. Many genealogists and those adopted have a keen interest in their family's medical conditions. We will review some tools and the domain specific terminologies used in medical genetics. Neurology (my specialty) made some of the early observations which defied Mendelian inheritance and produced new insights now widely used in medicine and some by genealogists: parental effects (epigenetics), anticipation (SNP repeats), maternal inheritance (mt-DNA) and the dynamic nature of our genes during life (our genes are not stable nor uniformly distributed). We will also review sources of medical information accessible to genealogists: oral histories, census records, death certificates, pension, medical and insurance records, etc. You can explore the credentials and history of physicians caring for or married to your relatives. Medical training was much different before the Flexner Report (1910) and its recommendations took many decades to implement. Medical sociology was also much different with discrimination against women, racial and religious groups, and some atrocious "experiments" putatively advancing medical science. The lifespans, causes of death and disease were much different for our ancestors. We will explore how you evaluate the quality of medical evidence, considering the source, contemporary knowledge, available methods and reporting systems.

Contact Details

  • 1101 Alpine Ln, Woodstock, IL, USA


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