Thomas MacEntee of geneabloggers.com has asked us to write about genealogy and Gay ancestry for National Coming Day. While I don’t have any Gay ancestors (that I am aware of…yet), I have several Gay relatives within my tree.
I am happy to add all relationships to my genealogy database. I enter those who are married, those who are living together–whether they are in straight relationships or same sex relationships. Everyone in my family makes up family tree and I don’t want to leave anyone out.
Since I’ve been researching (about 25 years) I’ve run into the same problem. Most genealogy software assumes that a spousal relationship is between a male and a female. Most do not give you a choice to enter in the sex of the partner. It is assumed that the spouse is of the opposite sex.
Take RootsMagic 3.0, which I currently use. Once I enter the individual and then go to enter the spouse, the sex field is already filled in and blocked so that I cannot edit it. I still enter the person though now they’ve got the wrong sex attached to them.
Granted, I have an older version of the software, so perhaps this issue has been cleared up in newer versions. My hope is that genealogy software makers will continue to adapt to the realities of the modern family and will make it easier to enter the information as it should be. I should be able to enter two male partners or two female partners if I so desire.
If anyone knows of genealogy software that will allow this, please let me know. We should applaud those companies that are keeping up with the times and making it easier to show our families as they are.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com