Genealogy Programing: “Genealogy Roadshow” and “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Last night was the premiere episode of the US version of the “Genealogy Roadshow.” This is a program that originated in Ireland on RTÉ. The format follows that of the “Antiques Roadshow” a long time BBC production. You can certainly see that format with the presenter and the enquirer at the same table and the crowd surrounding them listening to the evaluation. The crowd around the table provides an extra component to the proceedings as they react to what they are hearing and seeing. The new element is the screen and digital images.

I am a huge fan of the “Antiques Roadshow” and the “Genealogy Roadshow” didn’t disappoint. It would have been nice if we could have found out a little more about some of the documents. I would like to have learned more about who wrote the Austin Peay letter, why it was written and where it came from. The presentation of some of the documents on screen was so fast you could hardly read them.

This show was all about the family stories of everyday people. This is something that a lot of viewers have been looking for according to comments I have heard about the program “Who Do You Think You Are?” and its use of celebrities. What we need to remember is they are only celebrities because they are in the public eye and we are aware of what they do for a living. If they were teachers or firefighters their story would be the same and it would be considered the story of an everyday person.

The main difference for me between the two programs is that you get more of a history lesson on “Who Do You Think You Are?” than you do on “Genealogy Roadshow.” “Who Do You Think You Are?” is all about the story. On “Genealogy Roadshow” they are proving or disproving a family story or they may prove that it is actually a little different than the family thought.

“Genealogy Roadshow” is a fast paced production which fits in with the instant need to know, get the story and move on of most of today’s viewers. As researchers we know this isn’t the way researching your family history works. If it gets more people interested in their family history, in particular young people, then I’m all for it.

How many of us actually knew what we were in for when we first started researching our family history? As researchers we follow good research practices but that is not going to be shown on genealogy based programs. The research is the behind the scenes hard work that makes the program come to life. What I love most about family history based programing is the story. These programs present the stories found in the history of a family.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Are LAC employees now being “muzzled?”

The Calgary Herald newspaper has an article entitled “Canada’s federal librarians fear being ‘muzzled.

The lack of access to our historic documents has been appalling. Now they are preventing their employees from saying anything about what is happening at LAC.

The new rules are called the “Values and Ethics Code.”

If an employee of Library and Archives Canada is invited to speak at a genealogy conference that is now considered ‘high risk’ by the federal government.

What’s next?

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Where Did The Scotsman Digital Archive Go?

Today I went to do a search on The Scotsman Digital Archive website. I clicked on my bookmark link and got a message that a password and user name was required.

A little research online provided the answer. ProQuest has obtained The Scotsman Digital Archive and this means the only way to access it is through their site. The problem with that is the only way to access their site is through an institution or library that has a subscription to their service.

This means that I won’t have access to this site anymore. My local library can’t afford this service. To my knowledge the nearest institution that has a subscription is the University of Toronto Library system. The problem is being able to access the information at the University of Toronto Library if you are not a student.

My last experience trying to access newspapers from ProQuest was that a student ID card and password were required. Since I don’t have one the staff told me I could sign in using a guest name and password but it expired after thirty minutes and the process had to be repeated. Access to computers for the general public is limited.

I am very disappointed that The Scotsman decided to do this with their digital archive. It has made it unavailable to many people. It may be time for ProQuest to open up their subscription service to the general public. They may be pleasantly surprised at the response if they provided a subscription at a reasonable rate.

Genealogists are fighting to have records released to the public, digitized and put online. It is a sad state of affairs when records important to genealogical research were accessible and are now being made inaccessible.

The Scotsman used to have a free search and then you would pay to access a digital image. The subscription price was very reasonable. Now researchers will be lucky if they can access this information at all.

This is a sad day for people researching their Scottish ancestry.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Genea-Musings Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – My Genea-Bucket List

Randy Seaver issued a challenge on his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun this weekend. He challenged you to write your genea-bucket list. I have never responded to one of Randy’s challenges before. This one is a little late because of our Canada Day long weekend but here is my Genea-Bucket List. Once I started I couldn’t stop!

“What is on your Genealogy Bucket List? What research locations do you want to visit? Are there genea-people that you want to meet and share with? What do you want to accomplish with your genealogy research? List a minimum of three items – more if you want.”

1. Attend genealogy conferences in Canada, England, Ireland and the United States every year.
2. Go to Ireland to do research every year.
3. Go to Salt Lake every year to research in the Family History Library.
4. Write the family history for all 25 surnames that I am researching.
5. Go to Scotland to do research and visit the places connected to my family.
6. Write articles for genealogy magazines.
7. Visit the places connected to my family in Ireland. This would be a very long trip.
8. Visit Australia and New Zealand to do research and see where my family lived.
9. Break through some of the stubborn brick walls.
10. Meet my cousins in the southern United States, Australia and New Zealand.
11. Find some items connected to my ancestors that I have found referenced in museums.
12. Research and complete some local history projects.
13. Speak at a major US genealogy conference.
14. Scan my family photos.
15. Conduct more interviews with well-known genealogists/bloggers.
16. Take a genealogy cruise.
17. Conduct research trips to Ireland. There is a trip set up for February 2013. You can read more here.
18. Inspire someone in the next generation of my family to be interested in family history.
19. Read a new genealogy book every month. This one is harder than it seems.
20. Create genealogy podcasts.
21. Write more books relating to genealogy/family history.

I am passionate about all things genealogy so this is a long list. There are many places, people and research repositories that I want to visit. My excitement was building thinking about doing all these as I was writing the list. They say when you write things down and put them out into the atmosphere that they have a good chance of happening. Fingers crossed.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Library and Archives Canada in Crisis

Library and Archives Canada is in crisis. There have been many reports about the massive cutbacks and the decimation of our National Heritage.

Our National Family Record Keeper is a bureaucrat and not a librarian or archivist. A bureaucrat is the member of the family who tosses all the paper and photographs from a family member’s estate into the garbage because they don’t understand what they have in their possession.

The Harper government has no concern about public opinion. They have been given their mandate with the majority government and now they are going to do what they want. It is fairly typical of any majority government.

There have been cut backs before for Library and Archives Canada but this time there seems to be a blatant disregard for the preservation of our Nation’s history.

In five years we will be celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial and there is a project called “Canada 150” to help preserve the stories of families, communities, associations, churches and any number of other entities in this country.

Where are people going to do their research for these projects if they do not have access to Library and Archives Canada? The records are not all held locally.

Local archives, museums and libraries are in difficulty because of the cutbacks. Some will probably end up closing their doors. If they do where do their collections end up? Will the collections be able to go to Library and Archives Canada? Will they have the personnel and expertise to deal with the influx of material?

While attending a lecture this weekend the presenter said something rather prophetic. He said that not even our children’s children will see everything digitized and online in their lifetime. We still have a need for libraries, archives, museums and historical societies to preserve and protect our historical data.

If Library and Archives Canada is only to preserve the information relating to the Government of Canada and not for the people of Canada then it needs to be renamed Library and Archives for the Government of Canada.

Please let your voice be heard.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Save Library & Archives Canada

Send a Letter to Help Save Library & Archives Canada

Daniel Caron letter in Canada’s History Magazine

Saving Library and Archives Canada

The Wrecking of Canada’s Library and Archives

Cutbacks At Library And Archives Canada

Saskatchewan Archives cuts

Nanaimo archives in crisis after feds cut grants

Harper’s Assault on the Past

Cuts to Canadian archives suit the Harper Tories in more ways than one

Why Did Harper Cut Canada’s Library and Archives

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