We propose that online software developers create a module to link families with their Beyond Kin. Certainly the connection of enslaved persons (EPs) and their slaveholders (SHs) will offer tremendous help in the complex process of documenting all of the people involved. But the tool we propose could be used for other relationships between people who were not biologically or legally kin but were tied in critical ways.
We encourage our BKP followers to ask the developers of your own particular software to consider this proposal:
Possible uses beyond slavery links include documentation of:
- Orphans in institutions
- Apprentices and indentured servants
- Business partners
- Military comrades
It can be used to document what Elizabeth Shown Mills refers to as the FAN club: friends, associates, and neighbors. These associations often shaped the destiny of our families and hold the clues to their movements, the naming of their children, who married whom, and who is buried where. The software changes we propose would allow us to create a tangible bridge between traditionally separate family trees.
To promote the use—and better, the consistent use—of this new methodology, we encourage its promotion under a recognizable name and symbol. We propose that it be “The Beyond Kin Project” and the logo below, with the hope of building this as a sense of a movement of people committed to this mission and not just a method. The sooner we have software to support the movement, the more effective it can be.
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