Who do you think you are? Not just a television show

Posted: May 23, 2010 in General

After watching all episodes of the Australian Version of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?, I was intrigued to find out that we were going to see the US version. The Australian version was great and am looking forward to more episodes. I just finished watching the first episode of the US show and it was on Sarah Jessica Parker and the show spent a great deal of time, showing Parker’s reaction to two discoveries in her family tree. She spends a great deal of time, saying ‘Oh My Gosh’ and “Wow’. Which for me, made me want to turn off. Not saying that anything she found out was not truly moving for her, but for me, the actual thrill in Genealogy research is actually finding something yourself. The show makes me feel that they are saying it’s easy to trace your family history. It’s not. I suppose if a show like this can make someone else out there want to trace their family history, then that’s great but they need to understand the time, cost and paitience it takes to do so.

The actual time and research it takes to trace your family history is often a slow and meticulous path, gatherng one small clue after another. It takes hours, days and for some lines, years to find that one small clue. For instance, my Ancestor, George Thomas Mathews, who was born around 1842 at Prospect New South Wales, parents unknown. I’ve never been able to work out when he died but according to the marriage certificates of his daughters (1896, 1897 & 1898), he was apprently deceased. I have checked every death certificate of a Geroge or Thomas Mathews but to date no luck. This has taken me more than 20 years. Every so, often I go back and check the indexes again, hoping to find that one. It was not until late last year when I created an account with World Vital Records Australia, that I actually found a tiny clue to his whereabouts. From the 1895 NSW Police Gazette, I found the following article:

“Boggabri -A warrant has been issued by the Boggabri Bench for the arrest of George Matthews, charged with unlawfully deserting his wife, Ellen Matthews, at Boggabri, since the 17th September last,leaving her without means of support. He is about 50 years of age, 5 feet 7 inches high, light hair, beard, and moustache, bow-legged, blue eyes, slovenly appearance, right leg has been broken and is shorter than the left leg ; a horse-driver and shearer. May probably be heard of at Woolshed Station, near Bundarra.Vide Police Gazette, 1895″

Unfortunately this does not give me any further information of what happened to George, but maybe one day, I’ll find that next clue.

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