Sunday, 26 February 2012

Who Do You Think You Are? Live - Friday 24th February 2012

Today I went to Who Do You Think You Are? Live at London's Olympia and what a fabulous day it has been.  Where else can you find all the major genealogy websites, representatives from local family history societies, companies selling all the family tree related paraphernalia you can think of, plus experts galore, all under one roof?  And what a gorgeous day for it: blue sky and sunshine resulted in coats and jackets and jumpers being shed by the lorry load.

The sun streamed through the roof at London's Olympia today

This is my fourth year of visiting WDYTYA? Live and the first time I've ever visited on a Friday and at opening time.  Is there always a queue around the block to get in?  It's the first time I'd ever encountered one and my heart sank as I trudged further and further from the entrance.  However it didn't take long to move down the line as the officials at Olympia had us all moving quickly through the doors and into the exhibition hall.

As well as talking with some very friendly and informative people, and splashing out on a few more genealogical supplies, I would have to say that there were two definite highlights to my day.

Firstly, the fabulous Larry Lamb in the Celebrity Theatre.  In relating his experiences of receiving the WDYTYA treatment, he showed what a charming, charismatic and funny man he is.  Several times he had the audience in stitches as he told captivating anecdotes about his mother or the programme's production team.  It was a real insight into just how much the celebrities know whilst filming their story (the answer being as little as the programme's producers can get away with!).  Consequently, I feel this was the best Celebrity Theatre I had ever attended.  And long may Tessa Dunlop present these celebrity sessions - a genuinely warm person, she always manages to get the very best out of her interviewees.  I doubt she had a difficult job with the lovely Mr Lamb!

The wonderful Larry Lamb

My second highlight was meeting one Mr Chris Paton whom I follow on Twitter.  To me he's a bit of a genealogical celebrity himself as I've read many of his articles in magazines and follow his blog.  He used his very impressive sales patter in order to persuade me to buy a copy of the latest edition of The Family and Local History Handbook.  I fell hook, line and sinker and now have a copy sitting next to me on my desk!  I'm looking forward to diving right in to its many articles and helpful advice.  I enjoyed our small exchange - he really is a top bloke!

If I have one tip to offer it is this: when you arrive at Olympia, go to the gallery level and look down at the hall below.  That way you can ascertain which stands have the wee bowls of free chocolates...

One last thought.  I have straightaway failed on my promised remit of writing about ancestors and interesting historical folk in this blog.  I promise that the next one will mention ancestors.  Probably.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Welcome to my blog!

Hello there and welcome to my blog!

After several months of thinking about it, and a couple of weeks of coming up with ideas to write about, I've finally taken the plunge.  Having been inspired by a fellow Tweeter who has also just started blogging, I decided it was about time I put pen to paper, or should I say, fingers to keyboard and write about what I'm most passionate about.

So what can you expect?

Well, firstly, stories about my ancestors.  Having been researching my tree for a few years now I want my ancestors' lives to live on forever.  I want their stories to be told and remembered.  I don't come from titled stock, my ancestors were ordinary people working in the fields, down the mines, in factories.  But they are my ancestors and they made me who I am.  I'm inordinately proud of all them, even the poachers and petty criminals.  Currently their stories are written down on scraps of paper, or in notebooks, as well as scrawled on the backs of newspapers whilst my relatives spring a new fact or date on me unexpectedly.  So by writing this blog, I hope that their incredible lives won't be forgotten.

Also in this blog, I aim to write about those historical figures that really interest me.  They may be monarchs or nobility or just intriguing people who deserve to have their names as well known as possible.  In researching one particular character I found quite a lot about her on the web, and in a moment of doubt thought, well, why blog about someone whose life is quite well documented?  But, I thought, as I'd never actually heard of her until a trip to Australia last year, why not blog about her amazing life.  I'll spread the word!  Expect a post about this particular individual in the near future.

I suspect I'll occasionally deviate away from my chosen remit and blog about something completely unrelated, so I'll hope you'll forgive my wandering mind and ever changing interests.

I'm away now to prepare for Who Do You Think You Are? Live at London's Olympia next Friday.  It's time to rummage through my notebooks and find those crucial scraps of paper so I'll have my questions prepared, and hopefully be able to break down some of those brick walls.