With the onset of all the new television "reality" shows featuring genealogy - I have to wonder if this is a really good thing?
As you can tell by the way I phrased that sentance I don't watch alot of television. I do watch PBS usually after 8pm, usually while snuggled up in my warm comfy bed! Not alot of genealogy on PBS - I guess my favorite would have to be History Detectives. But even with that I do have questions??
They make it look so easy. In the span of an hour they can solve this whole mystery of what this is & what part it played in history. While fascinating - I always remind myself its not always as easy as they make it appear.
I wonder if all the people watching the new television series on tracing your roots understand that its not all going to happen in an hour or two hours? Are they going to understand that not everything found on Ancestry is gospel truth or the result of good genealogical research? Will they understand that you MUST go and collect the vital records on this and prove it for yourself? Will this new television show take the time to advise people to use vital records for documentation? I doubt it.
I'm sure there are a few people who will be flipping channels & come across this new show & decide to give it a try & find they are actually doing well with it. But what about the many who will see the show & not understand the reality of not being able to find your whole tree in an hour or who really will believe that "click & claim*" genealogy is the way to go?
When people ask what I do & I tell them that I research family history - I often hear.... "oh yeah my (insert name/relationship of relative here) found our whole tree on that Ancestry site. So we are all done. Got it all the way back to King (insert King name here), including the three brothers who came from (insert country name here) and we even found our Indian princess (insert Pocohantas here)." My only comment anymore is "OH REALLY?" I've truly given up on trying to convince people that everything found online or on Ancestry is NOT totally true. There are good researchers with sites on Ancestry & there is good info there. Problem is everyone assumes everything there is good. And with no one correcting ANYTHING - the error rate continues to rise!
Somehow I don't think this show is going to make researching anyone's tree any easier. In fact I'd be willing to bet a whole new bunch of "click & claim*" family trees show up on Ancestry the very next day.
After all, anyone can find their entire family history correctly documented and posted on Ancestry right?
*Click & Claim genealogy - If I can click on it - I can claim it for my own - promptly add it to my family tree. Heck it doesn't need any documentation right!?!?!?!?!!?