The BBC Radio 4 family history programme Tracing Your Roots is back for a sixth series. Unfortunately it is only a short series of four episodes, but the good news is that it is available as a podcast from the BBC website.
Even better news is that there are currently a total of twelve episodes available to listen to on the BBC iPlayer: the first episode from the new series, all of series four and five and the one-off census episode from earlier this year.
The first episode of the new series was broadcast on Tuesday 13th September 2011 at 4pm and was entitled “What’s in a name?” and looks at the problems surrounding name changes in family history. This is something most family historian will come across at some stage, myself included, and I am looking forward to hearing what they have to say on the subject.
The next episode (entitled Life in Confinement) is scheduled for Tuesday 20th September at 4pm on BBC Radio 4.
For those of you able to access BBC iPlayer there is the opportunity to find out even more about the BBC Domesday Project.
An hour-long programme in the Archive on 4 series on BBC Radio 4 was devoted to the story of the project and was broadcast on Saturday 14th May 2011 and is available on the BBC iPlayer until the 21st May 2011.
It is a fascinating look at the origins of the original project and it’s resurrection, the challenges faced in gathering the data and working with the technology. It features interviews with those responsible for different aspects of the project including some of the children involved in gathering data.
It also features archive recordings from news reports at the time, and for people of a certain age just hearing the theme tune to John Craven’s Newsround will bring back memories of time spent sitting in front of the TV after school, watching the “boring” news before something more entertaining started.
Even if you can’t access the BBC iPlayer the programme’s website gives you a taste of what the programme was about. Even if you are not interested in the contents of these Domesday disks, there is a valuable lesson to be learnt in data storage, preservation (or lack of it) and recovery.
The genealogy radio programme Tracing Your Roots is back for another series on BBC Radio 4, in fact it started last week but I am only just catching up with the news. This is series five and there are five episodes in the series.
Each week presenter Sally Magnusson and genealogist Nick Barratt look at a different aspect of genealogy, mainly focused on investigating particularly tricky or unusual stories around a particular theme. For example the first episode of this series was based around tracing ancestors who vanished without trace.
The programme usually focuses of four or five stories, and features interviews with those carrying out the research and then Nick Barratt will discuss possible avenues of research or the results of his investigations. Unlike the TV series Who Do You Think You Are? this programme features ordinary people not celebrities and each story is quite brief.
Nick Barratt is probably the UKs best known genealogist, so the programme it is a great place to pick up hints and tips to help in your research and to discover new sources and where to find them and how to use them.
One of the best things about the series is that it is available as a podcast, which is great for people like me who can’t be listening to the radio at 4pm on Tuesdays when the programme is broadcast. The other good thing (for listeners in the UK at least) is that you can currently listen to all the episodes from series four online at the BBC website.
I have just finished reading the book Map Addict by Mike Parker (published by HarperCollins in 2009) and I must say it is probably the best book I have read this year. I heard the author earlier in the year presenting a series on BBC Radio 4 entitled On the Map, which was enjoyable but disappointingly short. Much of the material from the radio series is also featured in the book, or probably in truth it was the other way round.
I have a strong interest in maps but would not really consider myself to be a map addict (and certainly not to the same extreme as the author), so the subject matter obviously appealed to me, but the book is so wide ranging that you don’t really need to have an obsession with maps and mapping to enjoy it. The style of writing is passionate and engaging, and in some places very personal and funny.
The book covers the origins of the Ordnance Survey, through to the impact of the satnav and internet mapping and many points in between, including how Greenwich became home to the Prime Meridian and the Summer Solstice alignments in the heart of Milton Keynes. The book also describes the many and varied reasons for the creation of maps over the centuries.
It has been a long time since I have found a non-fiction (or fiction) book impossible to put down, but it really was the case with this book. It has made me laugh out loud, as well as making me question my own relationship with maps.
Whilst sorting through the files and folders on my hard drive today I listened to two new podcast episodes. I must admit that I am rather biased about these two podcasts, because they are both subjects close to my heart.
First was the next episode of the BBC Radio 4 programme Ramblings, in which Clare Balding walked part of the South Downs Way from Ditchling Beacon to Devil’s Dyke. It was wonderful to hear her talking about some of the places that I had seen on my walk last week, and some of the things I had mentioned on my blog post.
Next up was the latest podcast from The National Archives, this was a talk entitled Lost London Pubs given by Jack Adams at the Pub History Society Conference I attended back in February and wrote about here. It was great to hear the talk again and I hope that some of the other talks will appear over the next few weeks.
It is very rare to get a podcast that is so close to home, relevant and interesting, but to get two come along at the same time is unheard of, but nevertheless welcome.