Our Philip Rutherford, where art thou?

Genealogy and the search for the history of all family lines our tree has branched out to, has been a life-long passion. Lately with all the hype surrounding Genealogy, from recent TV shows like NBC's WDYTYR, Who Do You Think You Are, co-produced by Lisa Kudrow and sponsored by Ancestry.com, and the PBS show, Finding Your Roots, with Henry Louis Gates, © 2012 WNET. I am torn between wanting to praise and complain about the increased interest by celebrities who have moved on from designer dogs carried in purses to wanting designer family trees that include important statesmen or distant connections to the Mayflower voyagers.

The increased attention has brought more people to my own family history website, and that is definitely a good thing as the more contacts we have the more we learn, but what the TV shows do not make as clear as they should, is that the discoveries made and documents viewed took many weeks or months to find, by the work of professional genealogists with a specific family search as their paid task, and that more often than not the results have lead only to more questions or nothing at all. There are also quick trips to foreign lands, meetings with just the right contact in just the right place to see specific entries in obscure town registries, that appear to take just a day or two, when this had to take a full staff of people to arrange and the resources of paid sponsorship to pay for this to happen.

Do I sound jealous?  You bet I am. I'm no celebrity that will ever have this opportunity offered to me. I am just one person trying to solve the mysteries of our families and prove one very solid brick wall named Philip Rutherford, who appears in the family tree without known parents or a place or even specific year of birth, that a number of descendants researching for 40+ years have been unable to prove is even a Rutherford. Once we know his history we will have that one elusive link to the Scotland borderlands, and the rich history we know is there.

I watch these shows, hoping to learn one new thing, one new method or hear of a new place to look that will help in my search. Serendipity has a solid place in Genealogy, as all who do this as a passionate hobby or career know, so I watch and hope my one piece of needed information may come from someone else's research, since it hasn't yet come via mine. Because of one show, I was able to find a family connection to Mr. McGraw which was fun, but it just wasn't for the line I most want to prove, so for now that's on my plan, task list for when I can find the time to go back to it.

Ah Philip...where art thou?  



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