The latest celebrity guest for Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2011 was announced yesterday. Hugh Quarshie is scheduled to be attending the show at Olympia, London on Saturday 26th February, but for me there is a far more important visitor the following day.
Preliminary workshop timetables have also been released on the show’s website and hidden away on the timetable for Sunday 27th February at 12:oopm is the description of a talk by Lisa Cook entitled “How to make Google work harder for your family history!”
The talk is described as follows: “Discover innovative ways to work smarter and find more family history golden nuggets than you thought possible with the power of Google. Create a Genealogy Research Homepage. Learn quick and easy ways to follow the best genealogy Podcasts and Blogs. Make Google Your own personal genealogy research assistant with Google Alerts. We’ll make Google search the web for you 24 hours a day and provide tips for how to get Google to deliver the best results to your email inbox.”
Although her name is spelt wrong this sounded very much like US genealogy podcaster Lisa Louise Cooke of the Genealogy Gems Podcast. As a long time listener of the Genealogy Gems Podcast it look forward to seeing Lisa over here in London and to seeing one her presentations in person. The latest edition of the Genealogy Gems e-Newsletter arrived in my inbox today and the list of upcoming appearances confirmed that she will be attending Who Do You Think You Are? Live.
I am sure we will hear more about Lisa’s upcoming visit in a future episode of the podcast, but let me just say thank you Lisa for coming over to see us in England and sharing some your Gems with us.
Last night’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC One was in my opinion probably the best of the series so far (and we are almost at the end now). It featured Hugh Quarshie, an actor who I had never heard of until Who Do You Think You Are?, although once again this is a reflection on my viewing habits rather than his ability or “celebrity” status.
I would admit that I was not really expecting to find this story very interesting, I have no experience of African research and thus no real interest in the subject, but as it turned out the story produced what for me has been the most memorable, engaging and emotional episode of the current series.
The most notable feature was the difference in the research process from other episodes. This episode relied mainly on oral history, tradition and unofficial sources, with most of the archival research taking place almost the very end of the programme. It was great to see this method being used so extensively and only being followed up with documentary research later on (although I am sure the researchers had done their stuff earlier on).
It was good to see a participant who was so actively involved in the journey, and showed real enthusiasm and passion for the story. It was truly heart-warming to see Hugh being introduced to so many relations as the story unfolded. In truth much family history research bears little relevance to everyday life, but here was an example where being descended from a particular person really meant something in the present day.
The final closing piece to camera produced another memorable line, “It’s not only that there is no black and white, but there is so much colour in this story”. A truly wonderful sentiment on which to end the show.
On a more personal note, many years ago at school I was forced to study Ghana as part of my geography lessons, and it was this aspect that turned me off the subject of geography so entirely. In retrospect I think now that it was probably the teaching that was putting me off rather than the subject itself, as I am sure I learnt much more in this one hour than an entire term of lessons.