Earlier this month I visited WhoDoYouThinkYouAre?Live at the Birmingham NEC. This is the UK’s largest genealogical show. There have already been a number of blog posts written about the event, so rather than repeat these I thought it would be more useful to just give my 6 key points.
London is a better venue than Birmingham
As an overseas visitor I need to fly into the UK to visit the show. The connections from Birmingham airport to the show are incredible, less than 10 minutes walking for the aeroplane to the entrance. However, as an overseas visitor I would actually like to do more than just visit the show. I wish it would move back to London in 2017.
the Local Family History Societies are Gems
I visited a number of local history societies at the show. They were all really helpful and have extensive knowledge of their local area. In a number of cases I also bought copies of the local parish register transcripts to further my research.
I didn’t understand the point of Dr Eran Elhaik’s talk.
The first talk I attended was Dr Elhaik’s talk on “Reaching the Holy Grail in genetic genealogy: from genome to home village”. As I understand it he is working on a system to identify a single point in the world where your ancestors lived. Personally I don’t think that’s possible or useful. My own ancestors came from 3 different parts of Great Britain. I could happily believe they didn’t migrate too much around the UK before the industrial revolution, however I don’t see the value in the “GPS system” that Dr Elhaik is developing. Sadly it was too early in the show for me to be brave enough to ask, so I left, just as Prof. Mark Thomas began asking questions. I do hope that this dialogue comes out on YouTube!
Garrett Hellenthal’s talk on the the Peoples of the British Isles Project is worth watching.
I’ve already written about the Peoples of the British Isles Project. As you may gather I’m a fan of it. The fact that Garrett was an intelligent and lucid presenter made the talk even better.
The show died in the afternoon
I was expecting the show to get busier during the day, like the London shows. The reality was that the shows died during the afternoon. I guess it’s a feature of using the NEC, which I see is also holding next years show on the 7th to 9th April.
The Woodland Trust had an aggressive chugger.
Sadly the Woodland Trust stand was opposite the FamilyTreeDNA stand, so I had to take a long detour to avoid been collared.