Monday, July 30, 2007

"Warts-and-all journey into the past"

The old adage, you can pick your friends but you can't pick your family certainly holds true for genealogy. We often find ancestors with less than admirable traits or behaviors, and yet, as hard as it may be to confront the issues, we may come to a greater understanding as we view our ancestors within a historical context. While this does not excuse them, it may help us come to terms with that part of our history. An interesting article on EUX.TV, "Family history TV digs up German past including Nazis, takes a look at the popular British family history TV series when it is transported to Germany:

The BBC programme, Who Do You Think You Are?, premiered in 2004 and gained such big audiences that a fourth series is set to air this September. In each programme, a famous actor or TV personality discovers what their ancestors did in two World Wars, then explores places where forebears lived in the 19th century and meets up with previously unknown cousins. Transposing the programme to Germany creates a problem. Discovering a rabid Nazi in the family tree is often enough to put people off any further inquiries. "Still, there were no inhibitions on the two shows which were aired this month by public channel ZDF. . . . [as] 1.26 million people or 8 per cent of the viewers watched his warts-and-all journey into the past."

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