One of the most popular uses of libraries and archives–especially public libraries and municipal archives–is genealogy research. I had never seen law libraries, however, used for this purpose. I was therefore surprised when watching the celebrity family history research show Who Do You Think You Are? on Friday to see Jennifer Frazier, Kentucky State Law Librarian, filling in some of the last vital pieces of the puzzle for NFL superstar Jerome Bettis.
Some of the key pieces of information in researching his family history were found in a court decision: his ancestor Abe Bougard had taken on the Illinois Central Railroad in a lawsuit and won. For a black man to take on the railroad in 1904 and win with an all-white jury was quite incredible.
This show does a nice job of highlighting how knowledgeable librarians and archivists are. For those readers in the U.S., you can watch the episode on Hulu or NBC’s website. Unfortunately for those of us outside the U.S., we do not yet have access to video on these sites although we can see selected captions on the Hulu site (which is what the photos here are taken from). In Canada we can enjoy the CBC version of the show with the same name.
I will be watching future episodes now with closer interest to see if anyone I know shows up!
Show links: hat tip to Tom Boone.
Update: Canadians can watch it via CityTV’s website or their iPad app: http://video.citytv.com/video/detail/1498210602001.000000/jerome-bettis/ Thanks to Emma Durand-Wood for pointing this out.