Our first look at Genealogy Roadshow in 2015, and what an hour! The stories from the first of two episodes filmed in New Orleans include elements of crime, war, a historic love connection, and the tragic reality of slavery.
Featuring our very own D. Joshua Taylor, Director of Family History at Findmypast, this initial episode took us through several stories that explored not only the family history, but our national history as well. As we watched, the history of a house and its significance to the family was chased down to a Civil War veteran of Company A, 73rd Regiment, Colored Troops. We heard the story of a mystery ancestor who never actually made it to the Klondike as the family had believed for so long. We watched as three generations of a family learned of their ancestors' fate as an enslaved child in the American south. And we saw hope and light in a young man's eyes, just for a fleeting moment, at learning where his surname may have originated.
All of the stories were truly remarkable, and the team at Genealogy Roadshow is to be applauded.
But if we had to pick just one...
Our team was so impressed by the trail of bread crumbs that was left to follow in the story of the Walk family. Told for decades that a family member had been robbed and murdered, and left with little more than an intriguing headstone inscription, Josh Taylor was able to track the sensational escapade through newspapers, census records, and ultimately concluded with a solid suspect for the murder; who was in fact indicted for the crime by the State of Louisiana. Putting all of these pieces together was a really excellent example of how important those outlying characters can be to your family history; reinforcing the importance of truly examining every detail you come across. Although this process can certainly be challenging, it was proven tonight that it is worth the effort, and with a bit of creative thinking and being open to asking "outside the box" questions, it is more than doable. As one member of our community put it on Twitter,
"The Walk family you presented was like an episode of CSI." ~ @halfacadian
As an opening episode, Genealogy Roadshow really outdid themselves. Truly, this must be a very powerful experience to go through if your story is chosen to be researched and told; we know with certainty that it is powerful to watch.
Join us next week as we continue to explore family history and discuss the series in our community chats on Twitter, with the #FMPRoadshow hashtag.