24 September 2014

I Don't Watch the Genealogy TV Shows

I'm in the distinct minority and that's fine with me.

I've watched probably three or four partial episodes of the "genealogy television shows." And while genealogy interests me on many levels and while I completely understand why some people love these shows, I really don't.

Generally I have two reasons:

The shows simplify the research process. Others have made this complaint about the shows before and for television purposes I understand why certain things need to be simplified. I understand that the shows are not geared towards me. But I value the research process and enjoy research and analysis. The shows are entertainment. I understand that. If I watch television, I want to be entertained and, being as involved in genealogy as I am, I simply don't find the shows entertaining.

The shows overemphasize the "sensational" ancestor. I have a few ancestors who were "characters," but the vast majority were pretty much common, ordinary people.  These people have their stories also--even if it looks like on the surface they didn't. The lives of the "common man and woman" are fairly interesting too, if one chooses to really ferret out their story from the records and materials that are available. It seems to me that these shows promote the belief that the lives of the common man aren't really all that interesting or worth researching.

It's fine with me if people love these shows. But it's also fine if some of us don't.