Thursday, 18 October 2007

WDYTYA - Margot Kidder

The program followed two lines of descendant of actress and activist Margot Kidder's maternal line in search of an "explanation" for some of her personality traits. The exploration took her to Prince George, BC, and Newmarket, Ontario.

One of the pleasures of pursuing your family history is the places you get to visit, often well off the well-trod tourist routes, that grow in meaning to you as you delve further. Most often there are no relatives left in the area, yet as Margot Kidder's journey illustrated, you can draw sustenance from visiting the buildings, churches and museums, known to your ancestors, and the archives and libraries which document them and their environment. You gain an appreciation of the importance of community to their lives, and yours.

Once again, for those who want the more detailed story, including information on the sources used, the program web site has a three page extended story.

I found the program went by very quickly. CBC should be pleased with the way this series is developing. I understand they had more viewers for the first episode than they expected, and LAC's Canadian Genealogy Centre had 92,000 people using their new Ancestors Search facility that evening.

It's slightly ironic that the version of the CGC home page shown in the program is the old version, before the recent update.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some thoughts on WDYTYA Canadian edition

• Nice to see Margot Kidder after all these years, especially given her history as Lois Lane in the motion picture "Superman” (1978), her time with Pierre Trudeau and the widely publicized manic episode in 1996. But how does any of this rank her amongst those selected for this show? This is all the more strange given that she has lived the past 36 years in the United States and became an American citizen in 2005. The show’s selection criteria would be something interesting to behold!
• The search of an "explanation" for some of her personality traits, while interesting, is a bit hard to take, particularly when these “traits” include “political activism”(which has included criticizing the Gulf War in the 1990s and protesting the current war in Iraq) and philanthropy (some how connected to her Quaker roots of which she was apparently not aware). Such predetermination is just not believable.
• At no time do we see Margot Kidder and her CBC crew/researchers visiting a cemetery containing the remains of her relatives yet she does go to a church they once frequented. The cemetery of past generations is a stop often made by genealogists but somehow not important for this show. Curious.
• The active role played by curators and archivists to track down specific records of an individual, lay them all out and then carefully explain them to a researcher may make for good television footage but is artificial in the extreme. Perhaps the series should contain a warning label that such scenes do not represent reality.
• Now we know where the resources of the LAC public service area have been “reallocated.” While we were told that it was for digitization, it was actually to pay for the commercials that run with the show. Only Ancestry.ca (which we know has deep pockets) and the LAC are sponsors for this program (and the LAC also advertises on the WDYTYA website). Such sponsorship does not come cheaply, so where did the LAC get the money? Could it be from the public service budget? Nice. Cut public services funds and related services, put the money into a highly publicized program, find that there is (surprise, surprise) an increased demand that can not be satisfied (just look at all those hits the next day, aren’t we all surprised?), have the public clamoring for services (which have just been cut). A perfect scenario for going to Treasury Board to seek additional resources. Bureaucratically brilliant!

Mike More said...

I would be interested in the source for your information on the reallocation of LAC funds.

Perhaps it's time that anonymous started his own blog to criticize LAC

JDR said...

I'm grateful for anonymous' comments, and yours too Mike. Blogs work better with lots of interaction.

Just this afternoon I was talking to another person, and heavy users at 395, who could hardly stop once I asked about the impact of the change in hours, and other service reductions at LAC. She was angry. Some people are really handicapped by the changes, for example, when they bid on a contract assuming the old hours and now have much less time available.

It has struck me that maybe we need a more appropriately titled blog just for LAC matters.