Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday - What has made Family Research So Popular?

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward

What has made Family Research/ Genealogy
so Popular and Explode in Popularity??

Here are some ideas to think about and to explore if you have not

... with the exposure of genealogy through the Internet, websites devoted to genealogy, renewed commitments from local Genealogy Societies around the country, updating and renewed committment of National Genealogical Societies (ie: NGS & FGS) and active State Genealogical Societies, plus exposing the process & the excitment of uncovering a new generation of ancestors, crumbling a brickwall, finding that one elusive document through the magic of many different television shows. As genealogists we know what can be done and not be done but nothing does it like national exposure on television- that gets people excited to start or continue their own family trees.

The Internet- what is there left to say. It seem to come out of no where and grow so quickly that it is hard to keep up with all the technology. Now we are disconnecting from the wires and going mobile in almost every part of our lives. Just the use of computers to laptops to notebooks and now ipads and mini ipads and now the same thing has happened to the ever popular telephone on the wall, rotary dialing - not anymore - they are wireless, connected to the internet, mobile with gps capability and you use them for more than just communications between friends and family.

Ancestryit has grown from a small company to this huge colllection of genealogy related company's - it is a paid website with billions of pieces of information. Under you will see Fold3 (military records), MyCanvas (publishing),, RootsWeb (free, run by volunteers- newly hosted by, ProGenealogists,, 1000 memories, Shoebox for Ancestry (app for scanning), AncestryDNA, Mundia,, Family Tree Maker Genealogy Software, and now Find-a-Grave.  With a competitive edge, Ancestry has set about to scan very large collections of family information from around the world. It has opened our eyes to how much they do have to offer, plus you can build an on-line family tree, attach documents to it, share it with others or keep it private.

ROOTS WEB - is a very old website, still free, run by all volunteers and is not owned but it is hosted by Old or maybe just established is well worth your time.  Mailing lists, forums, great help areas.

FamilySearch - is a very old group for all of us to go and research, now online and still in person at local centers, and in Salt Lake City Library. They have truly stepped into the 21st century, updated their own technology and began scanning documents, records and databases all over the world. They have pulled out most of the books in their centers and began scanning them so they will be available to all. Most of their centers have been updated with more and faster internet connection and computers. Lots of training and classes, SIG's taking place each week around the country. They have at least one local conference a year. If you have been to Salt Lake City Utah to do some research you know how awesome and overwhelming it can be.

Faces of America - What made America? What makes us? These two questions are at the heart of the  PBS series Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The Harvard scholar turns to the latest tools of genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of 12 renowned Americans — professor and poet Elizabeth Alexander, chef Mario Batali, comedian Stephen Colbert, novelist Louise Erdrich, journalist Malcolm Gladwell, actress Eva Longoria, musician Yo-Yo Ma, director Mike Nichols, Her Majesty Queen Noor, television host/heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, actress Meryl Streep, and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi

Finding Your Roots- The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States.

Who Do You Think You Are? -  is an American genealogy documentary series that premiered on NBC on March 5, 2010. The show is an adaptation of the British series of the same name, aired by the BBC Each week a celebrity goes on a journey to trace his or her family tree. Lisa Kudrow is an executive producer for the series, which is a partnership between Shed Media, NBC Entertainment and
The series ran for twenty-seven episodes, broadcast over three seasons, before it was cancelled by NBC in 2012. The series has since been picked up by TLC. The fourth season premiered on July 23, 2013. A how-to companion book to the series, also called Who Do You Think You Are?, is available to help viewers research their own roots.  TLC has since renewed the series for a ten-episode fifth season that will air in 2014.

Genealogy Roadshow- Part detective story, part emotional journey, Genealogy Roadshow will combine history and science to uncover the fascinating stories of diverse Americans. Each individual’s past will link to a larger community history, revealing the rich cultural tapestry of America.

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