Thursday, February 11, 2010

Episode 1 of Faces of America

Episode 1 of Faces of America premiered last night on PBS.  I viewed it this morning online, which I highly recommend you do if you were unable to watch yesterday.

I am tremendously impressed by the episode.  I had been anticipating one full or half episode per celebrity, but instead they weaved in and out of numerous peoples' stories, discussing the effects of early to mid-twentieth century events, mainly World War II, on the lives of their ancestors.

I love how Henry Louis Gates makes a simple scrapbook with photos and primary source documents and has the celebrities flip though while telling stories.  The journey of discovery is fascinating to watch, as are the emotions that run across their faces as they learn more about their family.

It has never ceased to amaze me how interested my relatives are about their family tree.  They may not want to research or know understand a pedigree chart, but when they flip through my binders filled with vital records, passenger lists, newspaper articles and census extracts, they look on in amazement at their history.  Though we have no one who was famous or wealthy or saintly in our tree, the lives of our ancestors are fascinating none the less.

GeneaBloggers also posted a link on twitter called What Happened in My Birth Year? yesterday.  The way they go through what has happened so far in your (or your ancestors) lifetime is a wonderful representation of how to integrate history into writings about your ancestors.  It should also give ideas about what events to look at in history that effected your family.

If you have not yet viewed Faces of America, I hope you will.  I am looking forward to next weeks episode!

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