BYU Professor Works to Connect ‘Entire Human Family’ Through Genealogy Research Lab
Economics professor Joseph Price said he believes it is possible to love a billion people. He grows that love one day, one handwritten to-do list and one census record at a time.
Price and his team of more than 50 students work at the BYU Record Linking Lab to grow FamilySearch’s genealogical tree through record attachment, the development of auto-indexing technology and other projects.
Price’s passion for family history began several years ago as a hobby. “I was at BYU Education Week, gave it a try and just fell completely in love,” he said.
Before long, he was spending 10 to 15 hours per week working on family history, he said. It was not until a conversation with a colleague at an economics conference that he said he realized the potential of technology to accelerate family history work.
“This little light went on in my head. I just wondered what would happen if we brought the two approaches together,” he said.
Price said he created the Record Linking Lab in response to this perceived gap at the intersection of economic research, machine learning and genealogy.
The RLL partners with FamilySearch, a genealogical database operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to grow the site’s family tree.
One of the lab’s earliest projects was focused on linking records of families with children in the 1910 census, which Price said is “getting really close to complete coverage.”
Since then, the lab has expanded its reach to other censuses and other continents. One of Price’s recent and fast-growing efforts has been with BYU-Pathway students in Papua New Guinea and nine African countries.
You can read more in an article by Emma Everett published in the BYU web site at: https://universe.byu.edu/2023/02/27/byu-professor-connects-the-human-family-with-research-lab/.