Recently a friend sent me a link to a Spectator piece by Leo McKinstry, “Sorry, but family history really is bunk.” This little rant decries the current surge of interest in family history as an unhealthy “mixture of snobbery and prolier-than-thou”.
It oozes condescension. For those unfamiliar with McKinstry, he writes staunchly “little England” columns for various right-wing media and on sports.
The current “craze”, as McKinstry would have it, is huge. A poll in the UK found that around 30% of the population is not interested in their family history. The runaway popularity of the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? and Oprah Winfrey’s personal family history research have boosted interest.