Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review: Tar Abhaile, Episode 1

TG4, the Irish language television station in Ireland, has recently begun broadcasting an innovative new genealogy show called Tar Abhaile (Come Home). Tied in with the Gathering, Ireland's yearlong celebration to invite members of the diaspora home, the show will focus on two people each week as they go to Ireland, learn about the lives of their ancestors, and meet extended family members.

The show will broadcast each Sunday for six weeks from 17 Nov to 22 Dec (click here to lean more about it). I will provide a review whenever a participant is from the U.S. or Canada

The first show, which aired last Sunday, featured Marsha Tomas who traveled from Chicago to Limerick. Her great-grandparents, Bridget Barry and James Cooke, had emigrated separately from the county. Their daughter, Ann Cooke, was Marsha's grandmother and she lived with Marsha as she was growing up in Chicago.

Marsha, her husband, and two children, traveled to Ireland where their learned about their ancestors and met 99-year old Tommy Cooke, a descendant of a brother of James Cooke.

The main genealogical records highlighted in the show were the Petty Session Court records. Marsha and her family learned about their ancestors brushes with the law, and also their family history that involved the 19th century Land War.

Rather than exclusively focusing on Marsha and her family, the show focuses just as much on the area where her ancestors came from. For me, this is a good idea as all Irish genealogical research turns into local history research when you find where your ancestors are from.

As a genealogist, I would have liked to have seen one or two more records highlighted, maybe the Chicago marriage records for Bridget and James or a local history record in the section about the Land War.

Overall, though, it was very enjoyable and is different than the other genealogy shows currently on TV.

Marsha's story is featured in the first half of the show, which you can watch, below.

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