It's time to do some more genealogy celebrating. Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. premieres Sunday, 25 Mar 2012 on PBS at 7pm CST. I love this show just as much as I do NBC's WDYTYA?. There will be 20 celebrities featured with 2 being shown in each episode. The list of celebrities includes:
And? I like that it's presented differently than Who Do You Think You Are? [WDYTYA?]. Professor Gates presents the celebrity's story to them, and I like that format. Now, before everyone gets all upset about the fact that less research is shown in this show which was a complaint of Gates' last genealogy-related show Faces of America, let me explain myself [further than what I already have inprevious posts]. After watching these shows many people never go on to perform their own family history research for a multitude of reasons. And from my conversations in real life with non-genealogy people, a common reply that I get from them after answering their question of what I do is, "I never thought about doing that. That would make a great gift."
You see, a huge segment of the populace isn't opposed to family history. They've just never thought about it. It's never been brought to their attention. And it's a shame we don't do this in schools enough. Remember in school when you were learning about the American Revolution and how you had to memorize all those dates and battles? Wouldn't it have been more meaningful and satisfying if you knew how you and your family fit into that historical event? And educators should take note. But I digress...
Anywho, a fraction of this segment of the populace that will not go on to research their family history themselves after watching a genealogy TV program, will go on to pay someone else to do it. They will pay a professional to do the research, and they will get a report detailing the information that the professional was able to find about their family history, much like the celebrities in Professor Gates' show. Therefore, the complaint that his show is unrealistic because it doesn't show the waiting, the brick walls, and all the difficulties of researching is not entirely accurate because for many it is exactly what they will experience [minus the getting to sit down with Professor Gates, of course, being videotaped, and being on TV. However, no one is stopping a professional genealogist from doing something similar. There are many free online video platforms out there and I'm sure there are some clients out there who'd love to be videotaped. Not all, but some. And you're welcome for the idea.]
Therefore, genealogists ~ hobbyists to professionals [especially professionals] ~ should embrace genealogy on TV in all its forms. The way it's presented may not be your reality, but it's someone's reality. It may not be your story, but it's someone's story. [And professionals, you might get some clients from it.]
For more information about the show, please visit the Finding Your Roots site. It's a well-designed site that's full of information. However, it's not so busy or full that it's overwhelming to a beginner, which makes it a nice link to send to those less-enthused about family history as you.
And just to get you more excited, here's a preview of this season's series [Harry is in this clip. *sigh*]:
In case you are unable to view the video on my site, here's a link to it on PBS' site: