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Interviewed by Selina MacKenzie on Talk Radio Europe

Published on 24 Aug 2011 16:29 : anthony adolph : 0 comments : 11048 views

I had a busy evening this evening. After a full day's work tracing clients' family trees, I was interviewed by Selina MacKenzie on Talk Radio Europe, a station that actually covers the English speaking ex-pat community in Spain and Gibraltar. I was amused that one of the many adverts on the station was about combatting alcoholism. I enthusiastically steered listeners towards Genes Reunited, both to make contact with possible relatives and also to use the many different records now available on the site. Selina commented that she wished she had asked her grandmother more questions while she was alive. I pointed out that although she did not ask questions, some other relatives out there may have done: when I was a teenager, I interviewed all sorts of elderly cousins and wrote down memories that their own children or grandchildren may not have heard. By networking with people across the world via Genes Reunited, Selina may find the equivalent of me in her family.

We talked a lot about on-line research versus visiting record offices. I advised listeners to use both: where new, computer-indexes to record sources, such as the index to General Registration (birth, marriage and death) records exist, such as on this site, it makes complete sense to use them, instead of ploughing through the old indexes (four per year). However, there is also a time and a place for visiting archives and record offices, and we must continue to do so, as much as possible, to convince the government not to cut all their funding, and to keep on employing archivists, whose deep and loving knowledge of the records in their care must not be lost, under any circumstances. Despite the miserable weather this evening here in London, I felt rather sorry for family historians in Spain, who are of course far less able to visit the British archives that hold so many of their family records, than we who live here are.

The interview lasted 45 minutes, and included a few people telephoning in with their questions and comments, all of which were positive. I gather that later on in the evening Selina was going to interview someone from the management side of Genes Reunited too, so let's look forward to a big surge of new members from Spain!

An hour and half later, after supper, and I was back at my desk with the latest monthly question and answer webcast on this site. I'd encouraged the ex-pats to join in: I'm not sure if any of the questions were from them or from regular members. There was a good selection of questions, mainly from people who have been using the records on-line on this site, but who have not found exactly what they were hoping for. I did my best to advise: often, what's needed is a bit of judicious back-tracking: if you cannot find an ancestor's birth, have you first obtained their marriage, or even death? Slowly, slowly, catchee monkey, as they used to say.