Tuesday, March 7, 2017


I got my favorite fuzzy throw and camped out on the couch for an afternoon of Who Do You Think You Are. The temperature was in the upper 50 range so I opened the front door and windows to let some fresh air into my house. I had my clipboard ready for notes. Sean Hayes was the first guest and I watched the next 3 episodes as a novice. 

I decided to watch with my mother's family in mind since this is the family of brick walls and covered tracks. (My father's family practically smacks you in the face with the information you are looking for. They wrote the book on serendipity.

This is what I, the novice, learned from these past 4 episodes:
*Start with what you know about your family. Check with family members for anything you don't know about.
*Go to something called Ancestry.com. Search. Find family.
*Hire a genealogist, historian or archivist to research you family.
*Travel to another city or fly to Europe for further research. (Note: all documents will be translated.)
*Pretty easy. I can do this. No problem.

I do believe that the earliest episodes were more basic. It is possible that WDYTYA has grown from novice to intermediate to advanced in order to maintain its audience. So if you are totally confused by the information in this season's opening, I would recommend that you go back  and view some of the earlier seasons

What did I learn as a "novice"? I have overlooked immigration records for my mother's family and that is a big mistake on my part. It could be the key to breaking down those brick walls. I did get this pounded into my head from watching the Sean Hayes episode. This is now #1 on my To Do List and it is getting more exciting every day (more about this later).

I think if I were indeed a novice watching this season I would have been discouraged. The things I found missing were education. Online tutorials. genealogy societies. Genealogy conferences. There is nothing that tells viewers how to do the research themselves. I would suggest that WDYTYA needs to include a statement at the end of each episode that tells viewers how to find local genealogical societies. 

Don't get me wrong, I love Who Do You Think You Are. I look forward to each new season. I just don't want viewers to think it is all about huge foreboding repositories. It is about people. The people who shaped out lives.  


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