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Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are?
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The production team behind the BBC popular programme “Who Do You Think You Are? have without doubt struck a cord amongst many British families. I am a little puzzled at the use of “celebrities” and it might appear that the production team is scraping the barrel looking for suitable “celebrities” – certainly with the current series I fail to recognize any of these “celebrities”, they seem to me unknowns and not “celebrities”. That’s not to say their family histories are not interesting – in some cases they are. Most people do not have remarkable people in their family trees and the disappointment in not airing Michael Parkinson‘s family history because it was “boring” might serve to put people off.

The other remarkable thing about these programmes is how local officialdom in all its forms falls over backwards in assisting these “celebrities” . In reality this is misleading, too many people this just doesn’t happen. I have met very helpful archivists and staff: I have also seem lazy staff and appalling record keeping and dumb staff who have just no idea about what resources they have.

Overall, the series so far has helped many to think about researching their family tree and there is no doubt it can be a very rewarding experience. But I think those in the production team should get a little more real – their task is to encourage people to research their family tree whether or not they might have heroes or anti-heroes. In the end we have our own idea of who are our heroes in our family history.

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