"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage - to know who we are and where we came from. Roots. Alex Haley
Family History has never been so popular.
Its has been estimated that more than six million people in the UK have made at least some attempt to trace their ancestry, spurred on, in many cases, by the popularity of television programmes such as Who Do You Think You Are?
The biggest factor has undoubtedly been the internet, which has brought access to records and documents in a manner that would have been unthinkable only a couple of decades ago. Information that was once only available after lengthy trawls through record offices, parish chests and mouldering archives, is available at the touch of a button, although often at a price.
"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance." George Bernard Shaw
Can you do it yourself?
Well, of course, up to a point you can. A subscription to one of the big internet genealogy companies and a few hours of your time, and you may well unearth a decent clutch of your ancestors
But, despite what seems to be the overwhelming amount of information on the internet, many millions of documents and records are yet to be digitised.
For instance a 2017 magazine article revealed that less than 8% of the documents at The National Archives, the UK's biggest collection of historical records, were available online. That is an awful lot of information which you won't get on your PC.
And, while there is a lot of information on the internet, not all of it is reliable. Because someone else has published a family tree, doesn't mean that everything in it is correct.