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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Special Edition Post: Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC)

This morning on the Today Show one of the producers of the Amercian version of the show "Who Do You Think You Are?" was interviewed.  She mentioned the season premiere of the show for this Friday, February 4, 2011, and that Ancestry.com is the best place to get started on your family tree.  Ok, yes, I am very interested in what the show has to offer this year.  I am not so concerned with which celebrities are on the show.  I am more interested in their stories of discovering their roots.

One thing that the producer did say is that it is very hard to get records for Ireland and also for Jews in Poland.  There is apparently quite the demand for both.  I know that there is a demand for Irish records as I am one person who would like to see more of them on Ancestry.com.   Again and again, I read about how hard it is to come by records in Ireland.  I can't disagree across the board with this but I also can't fully agree with this. 

I have found various repositories online that hold information but you need to pay for it.  I can honestly say that I wish Ancestry.com would pay for the records.  I already subscribe to their site but am starting to recognize some of the shortcomings when you want to "make the jump" to Ireland.  They don't even have the 1901 and 1911 Irish Census on their site that I've found.  Luckily, you can get to the transcribed information on other sites for free.   The National Archives of Ireland seem to have plenty of records.

Now, I do have connections in Ireland for the information that I have about my Flanagan Line.  The records are private family records.  Thank goodness they exist.  I am thankful and feel extremely fortunate.  The Flanagan records of family history are a rare find anywhere. 

Back to the Irish.....In general, the information available online can be quite lacking when it comes to Irish immigrants who departed Ireland for other places in the world.  Ancestry.com lacks source information almost all together.  There is information though.  At worst, it is patchy and inconsistent but it is not nonexistent.

One other thing....Not all of the Irish were poor.  The word "poor" was used today during the Today Show interview.  I agree that the Irish immigrants were mostly poor when they left Ireland and when they arrived in their new destination.  That does not mean they were always poor or that the previous generation was poor, too.  That was probably a "poor" choice of words today.  "Oppressed" would have probably been a better choice of words.  That would probably go for Jews in Poland, too.

So what is my point in all of this?  First and foremost, I don't give up very easily when it comes to my family tree.   Trust me, I have come so far in such a short timeframe.  I will continue to work on my tree.  Second, I think Ancestry.com needs to ask the Irish for their records.  It may cost a fee.  That should be what the Ancestry.com subscription fees helps pay for.  I'm sure that they'd have lots of volunteers to help them transcribe the information onto Ancestry.com.  The other bonus is that the records are likely in English.

For now, I will step back down off my soapbox but know that I have provided constructive feedback to Ancestry.com along with completing a Survey that they sent me many months ago.

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