Sunday 26 February 2012

WDYTYA Live - update!

Well, two days down and one to go - Who Do You Think You Are Live is as much fun as ever!

This is just a quick update as I am fairly exhausted after two very busy days here in London! I gave a talk yesterday on Scottish church records which was packed, a real surprise as it was the last talk of the day. Today however, I was bowled over at the second talk I gave on online Irish resources - the talk was at 3pm, tickets had sold out by 1pm, and I gave the talk to a packed theatre - some 250 attendees - and by far the biggest audience I have ever given a talk to! Managed to throw a few laughs in (always serious about what I do, but not necessarily in the way I do it!) and had some lovely comments and feedback after. It's the one talk I give which I think might actually improve people's health - they arrive in despair with ashen faces and no hope, and leave with a clutch of web links and rosey cheeks! :) I hope it helps with your research - possibly not the story about the Irish Free State Army making stockings from my wife's great grandfather's curtains during the Battle of Carrick-on-Suir, or the 1920s experiment by my 2 x great grandad to photograph ghosts at a funerals in Belfast City Cemetery - ah, but sure don't we all have stories like that?! lol Bear in mind that show notes for the talks will go online early next week on, and a huge thank you to the two ladies who signed my talk throughout - hope my accent didn't cause too many problems!

People of the Genealogical World, your attention please: a weird rumour has been going around in the last couple of days concerning the future of Who Do You Think You Are. The rumour has been circulating that there will be only one more series on the Beeb, and therefore only one more live event. Tonight, Alex Graham from Wall to Wall Television (series heid yin) told a groups at the exhibitors event after the show closed that this was complete baloney - there have been at least two more series commissioned of the UK's Who Do You Think You Are, and I've also had it confirmed that the live show should be around for at least another five years. Pop quiz - how would you replace the ultimate genealogy brand? Answer: you wouldn't. The psychologists would have a field day with you if you tried...

The expert area at SoG has so far been a lot of fun, real 'think on your feet' problem solving, and I am absolutely loving it! I also gave three interviews today - one to Nick Barratt for his Family History show vodcast, another to John Reid of Anglo-Celtic Connections (but in his British Isles FHS of Greater Ottawa capacity - more on this soon, but Canada, batten down the hatches, I'm coming back!) and finally to James Young, son of Valmay Young of the Families in British India Society, who is studying a media course - been there myself matey, always happy to help out the next generation of communicators! :) (Good luck with the course!)

Couple of other quickies. Alba - Homecoming Scotland in 2014 is definitely happening - and Ulster, some non-lethal changes are coming soon on the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland website! (And a big thanks to trooper Graham Jackson at PRONI who gave me a real insight into the workings of FOI legislation in Norn Iron last night!). The Genealogist ( has also completed its 1911 census release, and is about to release unredacted images, and has a nice swanky new global search (master search) facility on its site. And a new Star Trek device is now available at the show - FlipPal, a portable device for recording documents, and one which will apparently allow me in all Vulcanness to say "scanning" in a dead pan voice as I press the start button! One for tomorrow to explore methinks...

Finally, on the Irish Family and Local History Handbook we've been run off our feet today, a much busier day than yesterday. It's available at Stall 811 from Bob and Liz Blatchford, it's £10, and is a book blessed by the Lord God himself (*subject to confirmation).

Oidhche mhath an-drasda! :)



  1. Word came through at our last British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa of your exciting upcoming news. As one of your former Pharos students, I'm looking forward to this!

  2. Hi Gail, looking forward to a return trip to Ontario!

    John Reid has just placed an interview with me online at - I need to prepare you all for my dodgy accent! lol :)