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Old 02-28-2018, 11:47 AM
 
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We genealogy nerds have so few TV shows that we love, and we have to hold our collective breath in between seasons of each of these shows. Who Do You think You Are?, Finding Your Roots, even Long Lost Family...


So I was a little excited about this show "We'll Meet Again" on PBS, where they use research to track down someone from the past who made a profound change on someone's life, and they get reunited. It's not about genealogy, but they use a lot of the same resources we use: Online databases, directories, historic documents, newspaper archives, public records.


The actual stories on this show have been okay, but the "research" they lead the guest through is, well, just silly. With every episode I'm yelling at my TV "why not just search online?????" They aren't looking for people from the distant past--the farthest back in time the portrayed events fell was the 1940s. The historical events that brought the people together included WWII, the mid 20th century civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and aftermath, the gay rights movement, the Mt. Saint Helens eruption, and September 11th.


But they can't seem to find these people who crossed their paths and changed their lives a few decades ago, even when they know the person's name, and even when it's not a common name. The last episode was particularly frustrating--the man was trying to find a woman he'd been close friends with circa 1970, and he traveled to San Francisco, only to have a local researcher go onto an online California death database to say she wasn't there, and then to have a librarian go onto a cleverly disguised Ancestry.com to find a listing in an online directory. Then voila! they found her. So, why didn't this intelligent, educated, computer-literate man just look her up and find her in a couple minutes? Why lead us through an hour of contrived "research"?


I get it, the whole point of the show is to tell the story of the historical events that brought the people together, and then to have a moving, tearful reunion. It's not about research per se. But they purposely go into lots and lots of "research" that's just utterly ridiculous.


Anyone else feel this way? Or am I maybe just going through withdrawal delirium from the real genealogy shows?
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Old 02-28-2018, 02:07 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
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This is what passes for entertainment. If they find the person in ten minutes there's no drama. I kinda like the show but most of us would have the person located in almost no time. I'm wondering how many people contact them to do the search and the willingness to participate by the findee. The guy might be hiding out from his parole officer. It looks like they just tag along with the searcher but maybe they have the missing person contacted and do CYA with signed releases or waivers in the background.
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Old 02-28-2018, 02:14 PM
 
Location: San Diego CA
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I've only seen one episode about the Vietnamese American girl who wanted to find her birth father. Found it interesting. GI who fathered a daughter with a Vietnamese girlfriend during the war. She was very emotional about the situation.

Turns out they discovered he had passed away. She visited his grave with flowers and cried. Turns out he had a wife and child in the US. Despite her statement that her father tried to get them to the US it's pretty clear he just abandoned them to poverty and discrimination.
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Old 02-28-2018, 02:19 PM
 
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It's only a tv show. Move on if it is not your cup of tea. Save yourself the frustration.
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Old 02-28-2018, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Niagara Region
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlygal View Post
It's only a tv show. Move on if it is not your cup of tea. Save yourself the frustration.
The OP was expressing disappointment and frustration, lol. Not slashing her wrists.

Plus i get that element of satisfaction - I've caught myself watching a horrible movie and complaining about how awful it is for the entire time, unable to switch it off! It's almost an enjoyable pastime.
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Old 02-28-2018, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,255 posts, read 14,298,122 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracysherm View Post
The last episode was particularly frustrating--the man was trying to find a woman he'd been close friends with circa 1970, and he traveled to San Francisco, only to have a local researcher go onto an online California death database to say she wasn't there, and then to have a librarian go onto a cleverly disguised Ancestry.com to find a listing in an online directory. Then voila! they found her. So, why didn't this intelligent, educated, computer-literate man just look her up and find her in a couple minutes? Why lead us through an hour of contrived "research"?
Maybe he didn't have an Ancestry.com subscription? I don't know, I've never watched it. I think it could be difficult to track someone down if you have no idea where they might be living - what if they left the state? Or the country? Even if it's not a super common name, unless it's extremely rare, there's probably more than one person around the same age in the country with that name. A woman could have gotten married and change her surname and you have no idea what surname to look for. People who have never owned property can also be difficult to find since there's fewer public records on them. People from older generations may not have an online presence. Again, I haven't seen the show so I don't know what the particular circumstances were, maybe they were dramatizing it, but in general, I can think of a few reasons why someone might be difficult to find.
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Old 02-28-2018, 03:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
Maybe he didn't have an Ancestry.com subscription? I don't know, I've never watched it. I think it could be difficult to track someone down if you have no idea where they might be living - what if they left the state? Or the country? Even if it's not a super common name, unless it's extremely rare, there's probably more than one person around the same age in the country with that name. A woman could have gotten married and change her surname and you have no idea what surname to look for. People who have never owned property can also be difficult to find since there's fewer public records on them. People from older generations may not have an online presence. Again, I haven't seen the show so I don't know what the particular circumstances were, maybe they were dramatizing it, but in general, I can think of a few reasons why someone might be difficult to find.
No, the woman had the same exact name as she did when he last saw her 30 years ago. He was relatively sure she lived in northern CA. Her name is not common, and he knew her age. Most of us could have found her in a few clicks.
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Old 02-28-2018, 04:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Vectoris View Post
The OP was expressing disappointment and frustration, lol. Not slashing her wrists.

Plus i get that element of satisfaction - I've caught myself watching a horrible movie and complaining about how awful it is for the entire time, unable to switch it off! It's almost an enjoyable pastime.


Hahaha, thank you! I hate when I (or anyone else) post about something that's annoying and people respond as if I'm standing on a ledge about some trivial issue, or they say something like "well if this is the biggest problem in your life, you're lucky...." I guess every single post on this site is supposed to be about heart-wrenching, earth-shattering topics
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Old 02-28-2018, 04:04 PM
 
9,237 posts, read 19,621,292 times
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I guess my point is that this had the potential to be a very interesting show, not just around the stories and the emotional reunions, but they could have also included interesting research. I guess they couldn't get Ancestry to sponsor the show (since they clearly used the site but did not use its name). They probably could have done something of better quality that might also appeal to us research buffs.
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Old 02-28-2018, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,255 posts, read 14,298,122 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracysherm View Post
No, the woman had the same exact name as she did when he last saw her 30 years ago. He was relatively sure she lived in northern CA. Her name is not common, and he knew her age. Most of us could have found her in a few clicks.
I get that - I was just thinking generally.
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