Summer is over

10/21/2012 17:44:31

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Well summer has flown by and the first snows have fallen, though they did not stay.  The golf clubs are put away and the patio furniture is set aside.  Time for the winter activity of reading and genealogy.
Recently there has been a Canadian version of  "Who Do You Think You Are?"  Either we are not that important, or we get our point across better; because, the show is only half an hour long.  Needless to say, but the process involved in these cases is skipped over in order to fit the time frame.  The stories are just fascinating but there is much missing..
I also found the original UK version online and watched a couple of the episodes.  I did not recognize a lot of the names listed but I did see the one with Amanda Redman as I am a big fan of the series "New Tricks".
Will be posting soon about what I have discovered recently regarding my research on the descendents of Lucas Cranach, the Reformation painter, and my 12th great grandfather.

New Immigrants

5/12/2012 13:49:55

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Finding Your Roots last week also gave me some things to ponder.  I am a child of immigrants who came to Canada in 1951.  Growing up gave me some grief being the "Nazi" on the block; and. adding to it, I was a 'gimp' (Polio '53).  Fortunately I had some very good friends that included me in their activities and protected me from real serious bullying.  Having a steel brace on the majority of the time didn't hurt either.  They knew that if I connected they would hurt worse than me.
Having left their own families back in Germany, my parents connected with a group of Baltic-Germans and these became our Aunts and Uncles.  We had to learn some German in order to communicate with the older ones who had difficulty learning English.  We also grew up with many of the traditions that they brought back from the Baltic States and their German heritage.  Real candles on the Christmas tree, carols I still sing in German, egg rolling at Easter, Fasching costume fest, Johanni bonfires, German folksongs, schnapps and the most delicious foods - from soups to tortes.  Some of these we maintained but most fell by the wayside as I raised my own family, away from these influences.
 
Last week's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? with Rashida Jones left me conflicted in my reaction.  First off, I got excited when she discovered Latvian roots and traveled there for further research.  The record books she was shown looked so familiar as they are the same books that I have been looking through online at http://www.lvva-raduraksti.lv/en.html.  It was interesting to see where they are stored and what they looked like physically. I hadn't thought to look through the enlistment records but will give them a try.
The conflict arose when she learned of the fate of her family members that had not left the country, as her direct ancestor did.  To think that these atrocities were perpetrated by members of my national heritage was disconcerting.  Knowing that my own family had been moved out of the country, either forcibly or by choice, gave me relief that they were not directly involved.  I am sure that my reaction is similar to other guests on this show, and others, that learn their ancestors owned slaves.
 
I have just learned about another new TV show dealing with genealogy.   PBS has a new genealogy series called Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr. The series runs on Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8/7c.    Already run episodes are available for online viewing at http://video.pbs.org/program/finding-your-roots/ .

Personally, I really liked the Canadian series Ancestors in the Attic, except for the antics of the host, which he tamed down in the last several episodes.  The mysteries they worked with were from ordinary people, not from celebs or public figures with oodles of money to spend on research (if they paid at all).  This series was more helpful to the average genealogist as they worked through many ways to find information without it be laid out before them.  They explained what was available, how to access it and where to go next. 

Who do you think you are? is  not bad, but then again celebs with all the research being done for them.  There is no real connection between the principle and the process.  The stories are good and the emotions are probably real.  I experience the thrill of discovery myself from time to time, but still have more questions than answers.