Fellows > Current > Alvy Ray Smith

alvy-220Alvy Ray Smith: I have published two scholarly genealogy books in print, and several learned journal articles. But I’ve been concentrating for the past decade or so on electronic publication, which can be changed as evidence comes in, and which can be highly hyperlinked for ease of access. I now have over 15 books, of serveral hundred pages each, in electronic form. The main corpus is for the extended Riggs family of early Massachusetts, for which I have published 11 books (but only one in print, for which I’m proud to have received the Donald Lines Jacobus Award). Other families I have done similarly include the Durand, Parrot (most recent), Hargreaves families, and—yes—even the (my) Smith family. (You can find them online under http://alvyray.com/Riggs/, http://alvyray.com/Hargreaves/, etc.)

I also am an advocate of the use of DNA in scholarly genealogy and have published several papers on that subject aimed at my genealogical colleagues. I maintain a study group at FamilyTreeDNA.com, a major testing company, called the Riggs/Rigg group (although not restricted to just that surname). It now has about 150 members who have contributed DNA. This field is rapidly advancing as the price of genomic tests drops. It doesn’t replace scholarly (classic paper-trail) genealogy at all, but can serve as a form of additional proof, or of inspiration to inspire a lengthy paper-trail exercise.

My mentors have been Robert Charles Anderson, the late Marsha Hoffman Rising, and Helen Schatvet Ullmann, all FASGs. I’m pleased to be counted among their august company.

My PhD is in computer science from Stanford University. My main claim to fame lies in being the cofounder of Pixar, the film animation company.