Exploring 'turbocharged' family trees with AJ Jacobs

The Tree of Succession at Mont Orgueil Castle, Jersey, showing the family tree of the Medieval British/French Royal Families. (Nige Harris/Flickr)

The Tree of Succession at Mont Orgueil Castle, Jersey, showing the family tree of the Medieval British/French Royal Families. (Nige Harris/Flickr)

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Jian speaks to humorist and author AJ Jacobs about his descent into the online world of extended family trees, and why he thinks discovering our distant family connections could make us kinder to all the strangers who might be our cousins.

Jacobs, a distant relative of Gwyneth Paltrow and Quincy Jones, shares his experience in crowdsourcing genealogy and what inspired him to make it the focus of his next book.

The renowned immersion journalist is now planning what he hopes will be the largest family reunion ever. He has invited scores of his apparent 75 million family members, who he tracked down using "turbocharged family trees with a collaborative, Wikipedia-like approach."

While the accuracy of crowd-sourced family trees has been questioned by many, Jacobs discusses the upside of the World Family Tree and whether or not he and Jian are related.


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