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HomeGenealogical communities across the world

Genealogical communities across the world

Les mondes de la généalogie

Disseminations and transformations of an amateur practice at transnational level

Diffusions et transformations d’une pratique amateur à l’échelle transnationale

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Published on Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Amateur genealogical practice through archival research has developed and become popular in some countries since the 1960s. The purpose of this symposium is to study the dissemination and transformation processes of this practice at international level : to what extent is it possible to talk of a common worldwide practice, and what are the specific approaches, principles, and issues of its dissemination ? Talks may focus on the disseminations and transformations of representations underlying this practice (such as relations to “origins”, filiation, written records, or to history) and on disseminations and transformations of tools and techniques used by genealogists to carry out their research and to represent graphically the knowledge they acquired.


2019, January 24-25


Amateur genealogical practice through archival research has developed and become popular in some countries since the 1960s. In France, for instance, the emergence of such a "passion" (Sagnes 1995; Barthelemy and Pingaud 1997) raises questions about the dissemination and transformation – since the productions of elite genealogies during the Ancien Régime – of representations underlying this practice, such as relations to “origins”, filiation, written records, or to history. It also raises questions about evolution of the tools and techniques used by genealogists to carry out their research and to represent graphically the knowledge they acquired (Burguière 1991, Klapisch-Zuber 1993). The purpose of this symposium is to study the dissemination processes of this practice at international level. Its structures, networks, and exchanges will be analyzed to study the dissemination processes of cognitive patterns and tools underlying this practice. To what extent is it possible to talk of common worldwide amateur genealogy practice through archival data ? What are the specific approaches, principles, and issues of the the transnational dissemination of this kind of genealogical practice? These questions will be studied through three main axes.

Networks, protagonists, and modes of genealogy at transnational level

This axis focuses on contexts, protagonists, and actual modes of transnational dissemination of this genealogical practice. Oral communications should reflect on the networks, protagonists, and events implemented at international level and whose purposes and practices are explicitly directed towards the transnational dissemination of this genealogical practice. Analysis of the creation or capture of new markets by actors who make databases available on their websites, for instance, should lead to discuss the dissemination of methods, tools, and genealogical representations by different for-profit or nonprofit institutions. Thus, talks may address the organization of these institutions, the strategies developed by the protagonists, the local demand, or the actual development of the protagonists' activities. They may also focus on the observation and analysis of international events (e.g. trade fairs, conventions, Web challenges) or on amateur practices including an important transnational dimension, such as for instance genealogical tourism or people's “search for origins” through travelling (Legrand 2006, Bidet 2009). 

Scholarly genealogies and ordinary genealogies

This axis will focus on the role of scholarly institutions and the practices they set up that may have contributed to the international dissemination of the thought patterns and the techniques used by amateur genealogists. Anthropology, psychoanalysis, and genetics, for instance, have influenced the production of genealogies, but, alongside state institutions, they have also contributed to the dissemination of specific representations of genealogy and its stakes (Papageorgiou-Legendre 1990; Bouquet 1993; Finkler 2001; Legrand 2007; Bamford and Leach 2009). Have these genealogies "of others", established according to specific scholarly principles, contributed to the dissemination of specific patterns used for genealogies "of self" in a leisure context ?

A historical and epistemological approach of the formation and dissemination processes of the scholarly principles of genealogy should raise questions about porosities, interlockings, but also contradictions, between the “scholarly” and the “amateur”, so as to shed particular light on the dissemination of genealogical practices. Based on empirical data, talks are expected to focus on specific and contextualized scholarly genealogical practices. They may explore these contexts and the principles underlying the set-up of this practicies, the tools, techniques and means created or brought into play, their proponents, the discourses and debates on the practices, and the issues at stake in developing these practices. Presenting and analyzing concrete scholarly practices should lead to an investigation of the processes of their dissemination and adoption beyond the circles within which they were originally implemented.

Harmonized practices?

This axis focuses on the dissemination of the genealogical patterns and techniques through the detailed presentation of practices in different regions of the world. How do genealogists produce their genealogies in local contexts ? The practices that have been observed in metropolitan France from the 1990s on among the working class (Segalen and Michelat 1991) are in many ways different from those observed in other parts of the world, whether in terms of the stakes of genealogy and the use of written documents (Kilani 1992), the forms of knowledge thus acquired and the forms of its transmission, or even the legitimacy of doing so.  

Oral communications are expected to discuss the genealogical practices observed in one specific region of the world, or several in the case of an explicit comparative approach. They should show the principles and the contexts of the genealogical practices observed : for instance, the relations to written records, the availability of the archives, tools, and techniques being used, the forms and time scale of research, the networks used, or the type of valued filiation. The latter issue involves the analysis of the role of States and various institutions played in the identification of individuals (Noiriel 2007) and the construction of civil status, archives, and the relations to archives. The position of archival systems will also be explored: the archival policies, the perceptions of professional genealogists and archivists, and the interactions between archival staff and the genealogy-seeking publics.

Conditions for submission

We invite all interested parties to send their proposition for oral communications (in French or in English) to pascal.mulet@univ-angers.fr, on a copy to patrice.marcilloux@univ-angers.fr and benedicte.grailles@univ-angers.fr,

before Friday, September 21, 2018.

Candidacies should include in the same file:

  • Full name of the candidate, his or her status and institutional affiliation, and email address;
  • the title of the communication and an abstract including the main ideas and materials (3,000 signs maximum).

Authors will be notified on October 8, 2018 if their abstract has been selected. A scientific committee will select the talk presentations among the candidacies to the call for abstracts. Those will be kept anonymous during selection.

Subsistence expenses in Angers will be covered by the symposium organizers.

Organisation and Scientific Committee

  • Claudine Combier, maîtresse de conférences en psychologie clinique, Université d’Angers
  • Yves Denéchère, professeur d’histoire contemporaine, Université d’Angers, directeur de TEMOS (Temps, mondes, sociétés, FRE CNRS 2015), directeur du programme EnJeu[x]
  • Hamidou Dia, chargé de recherche, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement
  • Andrea Giorgi, professeur d’archivistique, Université de Trente
  • Bénédicte Grailles, maîtresse de conférences en archivistique, Université d’Angers
  • Yvon Lemay, professeur d’archivistique, Université de Montréal
  • Benoît de l’Estoile, directeur de recherches, CNRS
  • Marie Lezowski, maîtresse de conférences en histoire moderne, Université d’Angers
  • Patrice Marcilloux, professeur d’archivistique, Université d’Angers
  • Pascal Mulet, post-doctorant, programme EnJeu[x], Université d’Angers
  • Bruno Ricard, sous-directeur, Service interministériel des Archives de France
  • Sylvie Sagnes, chargée de recherches, CNRS
  • Elisabeth Verry, directrice des archives départementales de Maine-et-Loire


Bamford Sandra and Leach James, Kinship and beyond. The genealogical model reconsidered, New York, Oxford, Berghahn Books, 2009.

Barthelemy Tiphaine and Pingaud Marie-Claude, La généalogie entre science et passion, Paris, éditions du CTHS, 1997.

Bidet Jennifer, « Revenir au bled. Tourisme diasporique, généalogique, ethnique ou identitaire? », Diaspora. Histoire et Sociétés, n° 14, 2009.

Bouquet Mary, Reclaiming English kinship: Portuguese refractions of British kinship theory, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1993.

Burguière André, « La mémoire familiale du bourgeois gentilhomme : généalogies domestiques en France aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles », Annales, Histoire, Sciences Sociales, 46e année, n°4, 1991, pp. 771-788.

Finkler Kaja, « The kin in the gene. The medicalization of family and kinship in American society », Current Anthropology, vol.42, n°2, 2001, pp. 235-263.

Klapisch-Zuber Christiane, « La genèse de l’arbre généalogique », Cahiers du léopard d’or, 2, L’arbre. Histoire naturelle et symbolique de l’arbre, du bois et du fruit au Moyen Age, Paris, Le léopard d’or, 1993.

Kilani Mondher, La construction de la mémoire. Le lignage et la sainteté dans l'oasis d'El Ksar, Genève, éditions Labor et Fides, 1992.

Legrand Caroline, La quête de parenté. Pratiques et enjeux de la généalogie en Irlande, Laval, Presses de l’Université de Laval, 2006.

Legrand Caroline, « Internet et le gène: la généalogie à l’heure des nouvelles technologies », Enfances, Familles, Générations, n° 7, 2007.

Noiriel Gérard (dir.), L’identification. Genèse d’un travail d’Etat, Paris, Belin, 2007.

Papageorgiou-Legendre Alexandra, Filiation. Fondement généalogique de la psychanalyse, Paris, Fayard, 1990.

Sagnes Sylvie, « De terre et de sang: la passion généalogique », Terrain, n°25, pp. 125-146, 1995.

Segalen Martine and Michelat Claude, « L’amour de la généalogie », in Segalen Martine (dir.), Jeux de familles, Paris, Presses du CNRS, 1991.


  • Angers, France (49)


  • Friday, September 21, 2018


  • généalogie, archive, pratique amateur, économie transnationale, filiation


  • Pascal Mulet
    courriel : pascal [dot] mulet [at] univ-angers [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Pascal Mulet
    courriel : pascal [dot] mulet [at] univ-angers [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Genealogical communities across the world », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, https://calenda.org/452507

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