Today, genealogists and family historians looking back two, three and four hundred years, are confronted with the problem of an incomplete trail of records. Official documents such as birth and baptism, marriage, and death and burial records are often missing, have been destroyed or simply never existed to begin with. Some family relationships simply cannot be proved to the level of "modern genealogical standards" that are strived for by some.
A New York Times article published earlier this month, "Who's on the Family Tree, Now It's Complicated," explores an entirely different set of concerns in store for future genealogists of the 22nd century and beyond. The question of just what is it that defines a family relationship is discussed. With surrogate parents, sperm donors, same sex couples, single parents, etc., the concept of what is a "family" today is far different than what it was just a few generations ago. What is truly more important, the chain of DNA that links one generation to the next, or the emotional, personal and dependency ties that do the same?
Many of the comments posted for the article are also insightful.