Welcome to the Family History Show website and vodcast, and in particular my weekly blog. I’d better start by explaining why I’ve decided to create yet another family history website, and how the concept emerged.

In many ways, it’s a natural expansion of some of the other work I’ve been doing with Laura Berry, the co-presenter of the vodcast – in particular our magazine, Your Family History. We’re fascinated by the stories that are out there, as well as the forgotten archives, documents, photos and letters that are in your hands rather than in archives or libraries.

Equally, we’re very aware of the fact that a number of the programmes we’ve worked on over the years, such as Who Do You Think You Are and more recently Find My Past can make the process of uncovering one’s roots seem a bit, well, easy… So we’re committed to redressing this balance by filming sequences in archives and research institutions across the country, showing you how to use key resources to track particular elements of your family, as well as giving you our ‘Top Ten Tips’ each month on a chosen topic, starting with the basics resources before moving onto more complicated topics. These will build up into a collection, reflected in a range of e-books that we’ll be giving away or hosting online for you to refer to.

We will also be interviewing a range of interesting historians as they talk about objects or projects that they’ve found particularly interesting over the years, personal insights into what makes them tick as both people and professionals.

There will also be guest blogs, news and views, and a range of growing features across the site, mainly promoted via our social media network on Facebook and Twitter.

But as with any project, we’d be nothing without your input – we welcome your comments, suggestions and content for the site. The great thing about this format is that it gives us the freedom to do anything we like! We’re not restricted to a monthly printed magazine, or a TV format – so just tell us what you want to see, and we’ll do our best to oblige.

I’ve been busy running around the country this week meeting with archive professionals and family history societies to test out two new initiatives I’ll be working on over the coming months – education and ancestral tourism. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of these projects, and where to find more information if you want to get involved, over the next few weeks. Another key initiative we need to look at is the balance between greater digitisation of our public records, and the consequences for footfall in regional archives which might result in loss of public service and reduced access. Damage done now could take decades to reverse, especially given the current economic forecast – so we need to support our archives by visiting in person, whilst trying to find ways in which commercial organisations can continue to operate alongside volunteer projects.

I will also try to flag up in advance where I’ll be speaking – so the next date for your diary is the Cambridge Family History Centre on Saturday 19 November, when I’ll be talking about family history and the media. Start time is 1.10pm

Today is the 11th day of the 11th month, in the 11th year of the new century. As always, thoughts turned to the sacrifices made by our armed forces down the years, from the appalling losses of the First World War which was ended 93 years ago by the Armstice, right through to the current servicemen and women risking their lives in faraway places such as Afghanistan. It is right and proper that we commemorate them, and try to provide support for the other 364 days of the year.

Drop us a line via the contacts page – it would be great to hear from you!

Ok, back to my writing; I’m trying to finish a chapter for my book on the history of Greater London. More next week…


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