Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some Genealogy News and Views

Just taking a short break from sharing family history information and stories to share some news and comments on happenings in the genealogy world.

First, there is growing excitement, certainly evident in the United States genealogy community about the finally announced debut on the NBC network of the show Who Do You Think You Are? Produced by Lisa Kudrow of Friends fame, the show is clearly hoping to become as popular as the original British version that continues to be a huge success. I've read that the British version is in fact being credited with an genealogy explosion across the British isles. I hope that the show is a success but - and here comes the opinion part - its seems to be forgotten that a Canadian version, despite being well produced, aired 13 episodes and didn't really get off the ground. Not every British import captures the North American imagination but maybe this is the right time.

The American version will delve into the family history of celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Spike Lee, Lisa Kudrow, Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields and Emmitt Smith. I'm sure this will provide an ample variety of family histories to be, at the least, entertaining. The show premieres on Friday, March 5th at 8:00 p.m. EST.

On another note, I wanted to single out two genealogists (and Facebook friends) who keep me entertained and informed - Lisa Louise Cooke and Randy Seaver.

Lisa is the producer and host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast and, if nothing else, is high energy, fun, genealogy tips and techniques, all rolled into one. I really don't know where she finds the time with family commitments (including being a new grandmother), genealogy conference speaking engagements in addition to being involved in the production of at least four (yes, four!) podcasts series to which I have listened. Lisa's 'gems' include a free, downloadable genealogy toolbar for your browser (I have it - it's great) and her new genealogy 'app' for the iPhone and iPod Touch - clearly ahead of the curve! Perhaps one of the best examples of her unique blend of fun and information is found in Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode #79 - a live podcast recorded (I know - live and recorded don't seem to belong in the same sentence) at a family History Expo in Mesa, Arizona. It's worth listening to, you don't need any fancy equipment as you can listen right off your computer and it's free!

Randy Seaver is a blogger extraordinaire! Randy doesn't just have a blog - he has several! I personally follow his Genea-Musings blog, interspersed with reads of his Geneaholic blog. Without a doubt, blogging is a great way to share information. That's why I started a blog - to share family history information in an easy and efficient manner, accessible to all who may have an interest. While blogging is fun, there is some work involved thus my amazement with Randy's energy and enthusiasm for keeping folks like me up to date - every day!

Finally, while I have enjoyed honing my skills as an ancestor hunter, I had an experience this week that had me feeling like the predator had become the prey! I received an email from a second cousin - someone who I had in my database thanks to family information I had obtained along the way - but not a cousin with whom I had ever been in contact. It seems that this cousin's aunt passed away last year leaving behind a number of loose pages of family 'history' notes. My newly-connected cousin found my email address through Ancestry.ca and decided to take a chance on my knowing something of the information his aunt had gathered and that I would be able to then help him 'connect the dots.'

As I am always willing to help in these matters and as I was able to quickly determine our relationship based on the information he provided, I gladly began sharing information and helping him, through email, sort through the various notes. As it turned out, he found a page about me, complete with dates and the names of my children (first and middle). I'm not certain about his aunt's source (like many of us, it seems her 'work' didn't include source citations!) but I have my suspicions. I'm continuing to exchange information with my 'found' cousin but I couldn't help but be startled at the realization that while I have been researching, I have also been researched!


  1. Hi Ian,

    Thanks for the shout-out, I appreciate it. Lisa put your blog link on Facebook.

    I'll add your blog to my Bloglines list. It takes me some time to find all of the really good ones!

    BTW, where is Pickering relative to Toronto? Anywhere near Norfolk County down south of TO?

    Cheers -- Randy

  2. Randy,

    Thanks for the great comment. It's very much appreciated. As for Pickering, its located immediately east of Toronto. Norfolk County is south-west of Toronto (about a 2 hour drive from Pickering) on the north shore of Lake Erie.