I wanted to write a quick post about the new UK Channel 5 show War Hero In My Family. On first impressions it appears to be very similar in style to Who Do You Think You Are?, but with a particular focus on military records. This is no bad thing. As with WDYTYA, War Hero In My Family involves celebrities travelling to various locations to learn more about their ancestors.
To be precise, each story relates to one particular ancestor. This means that there is naturally not such an emphasis on genealogical research, although the nature of the show is highlighted in the fact that it is sponsored by the well known genealogy website Ancestry.
In the first episode in the series the celebrities who were researching their military ancestors were Chris Tarrant and Lisa Faulkner. Whilst it was good to hear two different stories, I would have preferred them to be split into the first and second halves of the show. The fact that the makers elected to play out both stories simultaneously meant that I couldn't really concentrate on either.
As with WDYTYA, the stories develop over the course of an hour, with the celebrities learning more about their ancestors each step of the way. Chris Tarrant spoke to a military expert, as well as somebody who had served with his father. Lisa Faulkner learnt about what her grandfather's role in the RAF was in World War Two, and visits the concentration camp at Belsen. A narration provided context and greater historical detail.
All in all, War Hero In My Family looks very promising. I don't think that it will provide many tips in terms of carrying out genealogical research, but it will give a clear idea of what people experienced during times of war. This will no doubt help anybody who is tracing their military ancestors. Ultimately, the show looks to be enlightening and entertaining. I will watch the rest of the series with interest.