Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

Archives, Labels (tags), and other links appear at the bottom of the page.

Content at Before My Time is protected by copyright and may not be copied for publication elsewhere without permission. © T. K. Sand.

To follow by email, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

What Did I Think I Had To Do?

Despite the fact that I nodded off halfway through (no fault of the show--I was sleep-deprived!) and had to watch Episode 1 again online, I enjoyed Who Do You Think You Are? much more than Faces of America. I appreciated the greater emphasis on research as a process that's worth doing the legwork for. But the emphasis was still on having a professional hand over the goods as if he/she were just hanging around the empty (but glamorous and well-funded!) genealogy library waiting for a lone descendant to show up and ask.

After twenty years of doing my own research, I now wonder if I've been doing it wrong. If I'd just gone to the right genealogy library and asked at the desk, would I have been handed my ancestors and their original documents on an archival silver platter? Well, there's still time! I confess I haven't spent the last two decades cracking my skull on the hardest nuts. There's been an ample enough flow of ancestral information to keep me plenty busy enough--I admit I've let the brick walls gather dust. But now I'm thinking surely there's someone standing just inside the door of a fancy polished archive with the Brickwall family acid-free file folder in hand, ready to read me a document that explains everything.!


John said...

Yes. If you have enough money, you can travel to the areas where your ancestors lived, hire professional genealogists, and have them conduct research for you.

If you don't have the money, you have to conduct the research yourself. Or seek out Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness.

Cindy said...

I love this post - and I'm not just saying that... I honestly do. You have pointed out a very real problem that will occur when people who haven't been researching for 10 or 20 years come into the fold of our beloved "hobby" - expectations are high for those who've not tried before. They will expect to do just what we saw last evening OR they will be "click and claim" genealogists who will go to ancestry, find a tree and do just that. While I found the show extremely interesting and fun to watch, it most certainly has probably planted some unrealistic expectations.

T.K. said...

Yep! And doin' it yourself is not free either!

T.K. said...

Thanks, Cindy. Hope I didn't come off sounding too negative, because I did enjoy the show too, and I look forward to watching it again. I think the show did a good job of conveying the idea that you don't have to be descended from royalty to have a connection to history, and that even 'ordinary' ancestors may have left an interesting paper trail.

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

Followers, Friends, Family, and Fellow GeneaBloggers:

Follow by Email

Where are you?