Did you see me on the cover of Time a few weeks ago? Well, it was not really me; it was all you other bloggers, YouTubers, and Wikipedians, too.
Time's Person of the Year is usually some powerful person we've all heard of who has shaped our world in some way. I like that they've chosen Every Man this year - it reminds me of my family tree. None of my known ancestors were anything but bit players whose exits and entrances went largely unnoticed by the world, but who certainly shaped my world.
Time says that now, thanks to the Internet, "millions of minds that would otherwise have drowned in obscurity" have been "backhauled into the global intellectual economy." In other words, we all get to appear on the world stage and we all get speaking parts!
Last summer, the Forward got people curious when they ran an article about the possible Jewish ancestry of then-Senator George Allen of Virginia. They noted that Wikipedia "takes Allen’s mother’s Judaism as a given, saying that 'Henrietta Lumbroso was a Jewish immigrant of Tunisian/Italian/French background.'” The Forward article led to a reporter's question and Allen's head-scratching response.
Could the genealogist who added Allen's connection to the august Sephardic Lumbroso family into Wikipedia have played a role in Allen's apparent implosion, his not getting re-elected, and the change of leadership of the Senate? That's what Time's choice for Person of the Year is all about. Anybody, even obscure genealogists, can now be heard and make a difference.
In that case, my face on the cover is not unwarranted.
To find the voices of genealogists on the Web, check out Chris Dunham's Genealogy Blog Finder with its neat-and-tidy, catogorized layout.