Friday, November 7, 2008

BBC offers WW I family history series

November 11 is Veteran's Day, known also as Armistice Day, a day marking the "symbolic" end of World War One. The signing of the armistice or treaty between the Allies and Germany took place at 11 o'clock in the morning, the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month." Although hostilities continued in other regions after the armistice, November 11 has continued as the day to celebrate the end of the war, and has become a day to honor all members of the armed forces.

In anticipation of this anniversary, BBC One is offering "My Family at War", a series combining family history with events of World War I. As reported on Scottish Genealogy News and Events, the program, similar in format to the popular "Who Do You Think You Are," features celebrities discovering their ancestors' roles in the war, ranging from Dan Snow's discovery that a relative was a general who ordered men to their deaths at the Somme, to Kirsty Wark's emotional discovery of a letter written by her great uncle prior to going over the top, The celebrities are ably assisted by top military historian Paul Reed on their quests. Paul regularly writes for Your Family Tree magazine and has also been acting as the series consultant since May.

Not available in the US, the three most recent episodes are available in the UK on the BBC web site, My Family at War, for a limited time, "12 days left to watch," as of Nov 6. Episode Four airs November 14.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

The value of patterns in genealogy research

As noted in her article, "Mustering Up the Courage to Delve into Military Rosters," Judy Rosella Edwards suggests an otherwise dry list of facts and/or names can become interesting when you begin to observe patterns and the inklings of story beneath the surface. Perhaps examining these lists in reference to your own ancestors and others who served with them may tell you more than you might have imagined, about the unit, the politics, or even the person.

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Keep an open mind when browsing resources

In her article, "Researching Civil War Volunteer Infantrymen from Havana, Illinois,"
Judy Rosella Edwards reminds us that key information may be found in the most unlikely sources. In this case, a Civil War military regimental history happens to include the names of those who pre-paid for copies of the book -- you never know who that might include. So keep in mind when browsing resources for your time and place, there may be more to a source than meets the eye.

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