Every Tuesday night there seems to be a discussion about Finding Your Roots. Many questions come up surrounding the show:
- Do you like this episode?
- Why does he always have to talk about slave ancestors?
- How come a majority of his guests are African American?
- How come he does not do research for a regular person?
- The information shared seems to be to far fetched, how can they share it as fact?
I am not here to answer any of the questions, but I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on the subject.
- I do not care who the show researches. It keeps genealogy in the front and center, on television. We cannot ask for more. Keep in mind, the regular Joe story is not going to pull in the viewers that the celebrities do. Lets be thankful a subject that is near and dear to our house is on your television.
- He talks about the slave ancestors because it is what he wants to talk about, it is his show and he is more than welcome to do so. Again, he is keeping genealogy on tv.
- I don’t know if I would say a majority of his guests are African American, I know the last season seemed like it was, but this season seems to be divided nicely. But, others complain that Who Do You Think You Are? on TLC focuses too much on the white population. Between the two, I think they cover the demographics of all nationalities just fine. Again, our subject matter is still on television.
- I like all of the episodes, can you guess why? Yep, they are keeping our subject matter on television.
- Some of the episodes have shared information as fact and then at the end tell you that they information for a few generations might be missing. Yes, it can be infuriating. But, do you look at who the researchers are that they have working with the show? How much do you respect the work they do? Do yourself a favor and before you complain, do a bit of investigating and find out the details. And, please remember we want to keep these shows on the air!
As a professional genealogist, we know that the results both shows (Finding Your Roots and Who Do You Think You Are?) can take years to research. Maybe your non genealogy friends don’t understand that. And, maybe your potential client does not understand that either. It is our job to explain this to them and get them to understand. Maybe take your friend to the archives or local genealogy library and have them look for something.
For me, I continue to be happy that we have the option to watch these television shows. Even if they are not ones I like, I continue to watch and I hope you do to.