Genealogy Comes Full Circle

I just finished watching a new series on television called “Who Do Think You Are?” It is similar to another series on PBS titled “Faces of America.” Both are about people doing family history research for the first time, with some amazing results.

The people in the shows are famous, but the premise can apply to anyone. If you do enough research and know where to look, you can come up with interesting ancestors with some remarkable stories.

I think the point of these “reality” TV shows was to get more people interested in genealogy, especially those who don’t know where to start or don’t care who their ancestors were. For people like me, it is just “preaching to the choir.”

When I was in school, I could care less about history. I felt it wasn’t relevant to me, as I did not know much about my ancestors or what role they may have played in history in general. Then, I discovered genealogy, and my whole attitude towards history took a different direction. I was hooked.

So now it seems that family history research has become more popular than ever, probably having to do with the enormous amount of family and history information online. I can’t imagine doing research when there was no internet – all the hours spent in libraries, courthouses and cemeteries, writing letters to supposed relatives, sometimes with nothing to show for it. Wasted time and energy. But no more. There are many family history researchers such as myself who put the bulk of their research online for everyone to share. I call it paying it forward. After all, much of my research is due to the generous effort of many researchers (relatives or not) who have put their knowledge online to share with me.

Here are links to the TV shows:

Faces of America (PBS)
http://video.pbs.org/program/1397337072/

Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC)
http://www.nbc.com/who-do-you-think-you-are/

and a link to my genealogy website:
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~unclejoe

That’s it for now.

Joe

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