Dick Eastman was the featured speaker at the SCGS Jamboree's Saturday Evening Social and Dinner in Burbank last week. Dick described the difference between a "name-gatherer" and a family historian and urged the crowd to be the latter, not the former.
In a speech entitled, "Putting the Genes in Genealogy," Eastman pointed out the great strides made in genetics and its applications to genealogy--a theme underscored by the number and popularity of the DNA sessions at the conference. But Eastman said that in the not-so-far-off future, the use of DNA for medical predictions and preventive health management will transform genealogists into people who can help save the lives of family members. He sees this as a positive development for the health care system as well as for genealogy.
If you haven't heard Dick Eastman speak, try to catch him if he's anywhere near your area. He travels quite a bit. He's a man of many interests and is a speaker of great talent. It occurred to me during his speech that he is not just an historian, but a futurist as well. I mentioned that to him when I saw him in the hotel lobby on Sunday morning. In his sometimes self-deprecating style, Eastman said, "I sometimes think that's just a fancy word for someone who dreams a lot." He thought for a minute, then said, "Maybe there's no difference."