Family history has been one of my hobbies since I was at school and it’s grown substantially over the years, so much so that I started this family history blog as a place to record my research alongside my family history database.
I love how much easier it has become to research your family history. I used to spend my lunch hours at the old Family Records Centre or my weekends at the National Archives in Richmond. With large-scale digitisation projects you can now research from the comfort of your own home and I’ve been enjoying using lots of new record sets, websites and ways of sharing and exploring my own family history.
In celebration of the 10th birthday of celebrity genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?, Findmypast and Wall to Wall have recently launched Who Do You Think You Are? Story, a website that allows fans of the show to create a personalised, visual journey through their family history. The site is still in its beta phase, so extra historical facts and context will be added over the next week or so, but there’s already loads of interesting historical detail to colour in your history.
Oop over to whodoyouthinkyouarestory.com to get started. It’s simple to sign up and completely free. You can check out Matthew Pinsent and Larry Lamb if you want to see how the site works, or just get started by adding your own details.
There are 3 stages to the site:
Step 1 – Tell us about your relatives
Enter key information and upload family photos. You don’t need every detail, but each fact makes the story richer.
Step 2 – We’ll add in events that affected their lives
For example, we’ll show you what was happening in society at the time your grandfather was born.
Step 3 – Expand your story
Add in your own events such as marriages, memories or even scandals. You can keep your story hidden or share it with family and friends.
A couple of things that are good about the site:
you only need to add a minimum amount of data – full name, birth date and birth location
but you can upload an image and add more facts if you want
the animated retelling of the family story is great and I love the way it’s interspersed with significant contemporary issues
there’s a timeline at the bottom of the page which includes the key historical events, so it’s really easy to see your story unfold
I like the form you can use to email a relative if you are missing a piece of information
Room for improvement:
The only thing I would like to see improved is being able to upload your data from a GEDCOM file. I’ve worked hard on my family tree, it contains nearly 700 people, and have stored the information in this format for years. Other family tree websites use it and I find it a really useful way of sharing my information with other people.
As WDYTYA has been around for 10 years it must be watched by both existing and new family historians. I’m hoping this feature might be added as in this electronic age I think it makes sense to make it easy for people to upload their information.
Don’t forget you can take a look at the Who Do You Think You Are? Story and start your own tree for free.