A new series of the BBC Radio Scotland genealogy programme Digging Up Your Roots started last weekend (I only noticed this because the podcast popped up on Google Reader, otherwise I would have been none the wiser).
According to the BBC website this is the sixth series, although the presenter (Bill Whiteford) says in the introduction that it is series seven, so I am not sure who to believe.
The first episode is about High Achievers, people who left their mark on Scotland and the World (in a good way). In some respects this episode felt like an antidote to the stream of celebrity family trees that regularly try to make the headlines.
Apart from the few famous people in this episode the programme is largely devoid of celebrities, either as guests or subjects, and it is quite refreshing to hear about the lives of ordinary people and the research of ordinary people.
Although my family tree is very short on Scottish ancestors it is interesting to hear about family history from a Scottish perspective, and it is also good to hear from a genealogy expert (in this case Dr Bruce Durie) other than the ubiquitous Nick Barrett.
Even if you don’t have Scottish ancestors it is well worth listening to, if you are not fortunate enough to live in Scotland then it can be found on the BBC iPlayer and is also available as a podcast, although I can’t seem to find it on the BBCs podcast page, but this feed seems to work for me.
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.
The latest edition of Tracing Your Roots from BBC Radio 4 (available via podcast for a limited time) was about family myths and legends. There were four very brief examples, with a short discussion on how each of the stories could be proved or disproved.
This got me thinking about my own family myths and legends and the fact that I don’t appear to have any in my family tree.
I have tried to remember if I was ever told any stories as a child or whether there was anything I wanted to try and prove when I started my research, but I don’t think there ever was. No criminals amongst my ancestors, no stories of relations moving to far off lands and making their fortune, no missing millions waiting to be discovered and I didn’t think I might have been descended from the illegitimate child of some distant King or Queen.
Plenty of mysteries and puzzles have turned up since I started researching, like why did my grandfather end up at school in London, but nothing actually from the start that I wanted to prove or made me start researching my family tree.
I suppose there is only one myth that I had and that was one that I created soon after I started researching. I rather foolishly believed that my ancestors and relations were not very interesting and never did anything unusual. How wrong could I be!
Was there a particular family story that you wanted to prove that got you started in family history research, or was it just general curiosity?
Just when my mp3 player was starting to gather dust from the lack of genealogy podcasts, along comes the latest series of Tracing Your Roots on BBC Radio 4. The good news is that the show is available as a podcast from the BBC website (for a limited time).
This first episode is entitled Wartime Losses, and picks up on the Second World War anniversary theme. The programme synopsis gives brief details of the three case studies featured, all people trying to find out more about their fathers.
There is some really useful advice in this programme (links are provided in the synopsis) for people in a similar situation, trying to trace a parent who had been “lost” after or during the war. Two of the cases prove that there can be a happy ending, but it is still by no means an easy task, but there are now several organisations who may be able to help.