One of my favorite television shows returned to the air this week, just in time to offer a respite from one of the soggiest Junes I can remember.
The History Detectives began its 2008 public television season by reuniting a family with a long-lost journal compiled in the year before the writer’s death in a World War II bombing raid, taking a stab at identifying the author of a once-popular book about the Mormon religion and trying to substantiate a family legend regarding fabled sharpshooter Annie Oakley.
Anyone with an interest in family history will find something of interest in this show, just one of many informative offerings that make PBS the channel of choice in our household. On Sunday, our local PBS station aired another fascinating program, “Traces of the Trade,” a documentary examining the slave trade from the perspective of a Rhode Island family that bought and sold more than 10,000 Africans.
Researching family history, which trails only gardening as America’s No. 1 pastime, has been much in the news lately, especially in the flood-soaked Midwest where sad tales of lost family artifacts have dominated headlines for weeks. The CBS newsmagazine, “60 Minutes,” reran a piece on Sunday about the growing popularity of using DNA in genealogical research and the limitations of that science.
The common thread running through all this media exposure is that no amount of science and wishful thinking can replace the deliberate thought and effort that is necessary to preserve our connections to our family’s legacies. The sooner the better
Photo of two early television performers with a 1933 Bush/Baird mirror drum Televisor courtesy of TVteam.