I hope you watched the new NBC TV Series Who Do You Think You Are? The Premier Episode was Friday, March 5, on NBC, at 8 p.m./7 p.m. central time. It will run weekly. See the website link for more details on the 7 celebrities being featured and future schedules.
A major sponsor of the program is Ancestry.com, a website most genealogy/family history folks depend on for at least a part of their research. We join with them in hoping and believing that perhaps millions of new people will begin a serious search for their own family history - their family tree, as most people still call it. My thought when I see the commercials and hear the discussions is:
"Discovering your family tree/ancestor stories may be FREE but it is not CHEAP."
I have even seen family history blogs speaking of "how easy it is to find your family tree, online, FREE!" Well, I suppose that is ok, but, it is not entirely true. I think we each will now have a special duty and responsibility as we help new searchers to understand the real facts. And, yes, I have seen this mentioned in a number of other blogs already; Thank you! And, yes, new folks, you will easily find elements of your family tree, online, at little or not cost - of course, it costs you something to get on the Internet!
More important, however, is the need for the reminder that just because something familiar is online, it is not necessarily complete or accurate. Also, we know that the search for your family heritage, our ancestors, is never "done." We each need to talk quietly and regularly about the research that is required to confirm and authenticate the "family tradition" type information "hints" we initially get from that first (and perhaps many others) search online - or from talking to the elders in our family, for that matter. I do know (at least I hope I do) that on this blog post I am "preaching to the choir." But, this reminder needs to repeated and repeated and repeated... especially in the months ahead.
Finally, along with others, I want to reiterate what a great opportunity we each/all have, whether through our library, Family History Center, local genealogical or historical society, or our blogs to bring these many new people into our community of those dedicated to recognizing, documenting and sharing family history/genealogical information for all. These should be good times ahead for our interests and our programs.
Families are Forever! ;-)