Wednesday, 4 July 2007


If you haven't yet dipped into Harry McFry Investigates, here's a little trailer that might just tempt you...

Thursday, 26 April 2007

When Family Historians Lose the Plot

I am indebted to Pete Edwards, a seasoned miner of the vaults of YouTube, for finding this rare footage of a genealogist who has clearly drunk too heavily from the cup of his ancestors.

It should stand as a warning to anyone even contemplating examining their family's past.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

A Poem For Genealogists

I came across this wonderfully interesting site today, which I can commend to anyone.
Walter Burek has pulled together a great resource: a chapter a week from great works of literature (currently Frankenstein by Mary Shelley), available in audio form or as podcasts.

Of especial interest to genealogists (and dog lovers) is this poem by Thomas Hardy, which is quite, quite lovely.

The Onerous Responsibility on My Shoulders

Although my personal quest to free myself from the shackles of genealogy was going reasonably well, I am afraid to report that the inevitable happened. I received an e-mail request from someone in the USA, asking me to help them untangle a few threads in their family history.

Much as I tried to resist, I found myself drawn once more to that portal of doom,

On another matter, I am starting to worry about my old friend Bill Blunt. Bill it was, some years ago, who I introduced to a wonderful genealogical resource called

Now, it seems, he's getting all hett up in a debate about website moderation. I know where he's coming from on this one. He has made many friends via that site, and I have personally heard him wax eloquently about it both in print and in other media. Wise counsels have promoted a debate about the issue of consistency in moderation here. I have hesitated to contribute to that discussion, as there are people more eloquent than I who have clearly thought about the matter, and it is encouraging to see it debated.

Friday, 20 April 2007

13 days ... and counting!

My personal quest to free myself from the insidious drug of genealogy should serve to hearten others in its grip.

It has not been without pain, agony and frustration, and I cannot pretend that the thoughts of my long dead ancestors have never crossed my mind in that time, but the record shows that I have not logged onto for almost two weeks!

I realise it is early days yet. However, my previous attempts to become genealogy-free (and there have been many since this accursed hobby entered my life) have usually faltered after a few days.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Three Days and Counting

It is now over three days (85 hours, to be exact) since I last logged onto This is, for me, a 'personal best' and should give heart to all those who claim it is impossible to turn your back on the 'hobby' of genealogy without becoming hopelessly ill or despairing.

I decided it was best not to go 'Cold Turkey', however, so had a ready supply of Your Family Tree magazines by my side.

The cravings to log onto Ancestry, to do 'just one more' census search were, at first, quite overwhelming. I found myself dreaming of mistranscriptions during my first night of freedom. But I am pleased to report that the cravings have lessened as time has worn on.

I will continue to report on my progress via this blog.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Temptation Beyond Salvation

The vested interests behind the business of genealogy have a new recruit to their ranks - someone, I am afraid, who may serve to tempt more and more men into the one way street to personal ruination that is called 'family history'.

Not content with parading the silvered - if not exactly sylvan - voice of 'resident genealogist' Nick Barratt (a blatant attempt to woo yet more 'ladies' into pursuing their roots, in my opinion) BBC Radio 4 have now secured the services of the lovely Sally Magnusson, in an obvious ploy to win over the men folk.

Who could not be tempted by Sally's lilting, Scots tone (perceived to be the most trustworthy of all the UK accents, according to this report) into making that first, fatal step to uncover their dead kin-folk?

One day, the Government is going to wake up to the fact that its taxes, and that of the public service licence payer, are being used to peddle the genealogy drug. Let us hope, when they do so, that it is not too late.