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Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Review of Faces Of America - Episode 1


Last night, the first episode of Faces of America entitled Our American Stories debuted on the PBS network.  The series by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. traces the family history of 12 renowned Americans and attempts to answer the questions What made America? What makes us?

After viewing the episode here are my thoughts:
  • I found that overall the episode was "scattered" and seemed to jump around quite a bit.   It isn't that I wanted something more linear or orderly, but I think that a focus on two or three of the subjects and in a more complete manner would have been more enjoyable to watch.
  • I have to agree with others who participated in the online chat at GeneaBloggers after the show, I wanted the episode to show how the records and information was obtained.  This may be the genealogist in me but I don't think viewers got an understanding of the process.
  • In many of the stories, especially that of Mike Nichols, it was obvious that information about the family history could have been obtained through an interview of a parent or grandparent.  I hope that many viewers picked up on this and decide to sit down with their older relatives to discuss their family's history.
  • At the end of the show, viewers were directed to the Faces of America website and the Resources link for information on how to begin tracing their own family history.  Noticeably absent as a resource is ancestry.com which in the past has run advertising on PBS.  My thinking is that with ancestry.com's upcoming sponsorship of Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC, they may have been barred from having an association with Faces of America.
© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

1 comments:

Sanjay Maharaj said...

I agree, if the procces of how information was obtained was shown, it would have really made it more interesting and make it feel like you were watching a detective movie. But full marks to Hendry Gates Jr. for the effort, we appreciate it at least we are talking about it and having a conversation which is a good thing in my opinion