12 July 2008

History Detectives

History Detectives is a good term to describe genealogists but it’s also the name of a show on PBS. It’s kind of like Antiques Roadshow in that they take an item and tell its history. Much more in depth than the Roadshow; they solve three cases per show. I like how they show that small things can be part of a bigger theme.

They never solve a case in a direct way, however. I think it’s part of their educational aim, telling us the history of the Wild West or a timeline of board-game development to get to the answer. Although they may want me to learn something about history – which I often do – it’s their methodology that I watch it for.

Often times the processes used in genealogy apply to a case. A recent episode I saw showed them solving all three cases by using the Internet to search for records. They didn’t make it obvious but to someone who spends hours a day there, I easily recognized Ancestry.com. I thought perhaps Ancestry.com had sponsored the show, but saw no evidence of it in the credits. I guess it just happens. Kind of like my blogging about PBS shows.

If you like these type of hunts, check out Megan Smolenyak’s latest quest. She is a pro at solving history mysteries and her solutions are always direct and elegant.

1 comment:

KMMofLA said...

Sharon, I'm a fan of History Detectives, too. I also caught on to the Ancestry use. I've also wished they would show us a little more of the search process. I'm sure they can't do that without exceeding their 20 minute story, and also it's like Martha Stewart: We know she doesn't do all that work herself; she's got a crackerjack staff to do the grunt work while she gets to take the credit on air. But the show does have her name on it, after all. I'm sure that Elise and Tukufu, et al, know how and do part of the work themselves. Kudos to the researchers, interns and assistants working in the background for making this a program we all enjoy. I think if you go to the web site, there might be more of the story to review.