Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Royal Heritage? No Thanks!

I cannot abide the "Who Do You Think You Are?" programme. It's pap TV designed to appeal to the ignorant masses. Well, no surprise there, that's what all TV is about!

They make it look ridiculously easy to find your ancestors. Of course it's easy when the professional genealogists do it for you and have access to records not available to the general public. All you have to do it turn up and say "That's fascinating!" But then a film of someone spending hours searching through the census records would not make good TV.

The programme seems to think you are only worthy if you have some foreign or royal connection. My family do not have foreign connections other that the fact that a group went to the USA to find work in the mining industry and in recent years people have moved about the globe as they tend to do. We've been in Devon (Horswills) and South East England (Hills) for hundreds of years.

We have no royal connections. We have some interesting connections (Thomas Hardy, Lord Nuffield, Titanic Survivor Alfred Horswill - more about them later) and a famous footballer (Micky Horswill) but nothing Royal. So no idle rich who have contributed nothing to society. Instead we have hundreds of years of tough manual labour. Women in service to those idle rich at the age of 12. Men - well, boys - at the coal face at 13. There was no pension scheme. They spent their whole life down the mines and that life was often a short one. My great grandfather (Charles Ormond Laverick) died in a coal mine in his forties.

The websites, blogs and Facebook pages of the genealogy companies are full of WDYTYA. I can see why they do it. The marketing teams have to be "out there" with whatever is current discussion. Their websites and blogs need to come up in searches constantly and the sad fact is people not only watch the programme but also want to read about it. This week's discussion mostly consists of inane comments about how wonderful Alexander Armstrong is because his family has royal links. Puhleeeeeeze.... who cares? We grovelled to the monarchy hundreds of years ago. Hello!! We don't do that now! He even seems to be a funnier comedian which is great PR...

We should be proud of the hard work done by our ancestors, not proud of the silver spoons.

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