Genealogy has long been a popular pastime for white British families, but those of Caribbean and African descent have been put off by perceived obstacles such as records kept abroad and in some cases a reluctance from older family members to discuss the past.
Who Am I? is a radio project that aims to take eight people on a journey of discovery, in which they explore their ancestry and the stories of their forefathers and mothers. It is anticipated that participants will not only gain an insight into their past but will learn something about themselves along the way.
“Many people of my grandparents’ generation felt the slavery days were best forgotten, and what might have been before that was not even contemplated,” says Elonka Soros, diversity editor for the BBC English Regions, and the project’s editor. “Who am I? will not only provide eight people with a wonderful opportunity to find out about the ancestry that has helped shaped them into who they are today, but also give the rest of us some valuable insight on how to make the same discoveries for ourselves.”
BBC Local Radio produces more than a hundred hours of programming each week for people with Caribbean and African heritage. Fifteen BBC Local radio stations from Merseyside to Suffolk broadcast the dedicated output that includes speech, music, current affairs, faith, arts and culture based programmes. The teams from across the country work together on bigger productions and the Who Am I? radio project is the result of the teams’ discussions about the legacies of slavery.
If you would like to take part in the radio project and are prepared to have your story told on radio, TV and online email firstname.lastname@example.org with brief details about why you’d like to be involved using the following questions as a guideline. The closing date for applications is 26th January 2007.
Why is tracing your ancestral heritage important to you?
Where do you think your heritage goes back too?
What do you already know about your family history?
Do you have any family stories, photos or heirlooms that could help you in your search?
What will you do when you discover your past?