In the midst of UK Lockdown X, on a sunny February morning in 2021, the idea for the podcast was hatched, aiming to fill a gap in UK genealogy shows, and sitting somewhere in the huge shadows of Greg Jenner’s brilliant ‘You’re Dead To Me‘ and BBC Radio 4’s long-running ‘Great Lives‘ series.
The Family Histories Podcast aims to be a positive, conversational, fun show about family history and our family historians – the often un-sung heroes tirelessly breathing life back into our collective social history.
Family Historians Harmed*
As the podcast’s creator, author, tech-nerd, and family historian of more than 25 years, Andrew Martin (Twitter | Mastodon) was the only choice to host the show.
His research has taken him back more than 430 years, over a distance of about 10 miles, in his native Cambridgeshire, England. Inevitably he is his own seventh cousin, twice removed.
Each episode features a family history addict and follows a familiar format – itself three stories (hence ‘The Family Histories Podcast’):
Andrew interviews the episode’s guest, where he uncovers how they got into this wonderful pastime of genealogy, what their challenges have been, and all kinds of questions relating to their area of research. Every family historian’s origin story is different, often emotive, and wonderfully fascinating.
The Life Story
Next up is the Life Story part of the show – where our guest tells the story of one of their most fascinatingly good, bad, or just plain ugly relatives that they have researched. There have been some wonderful stories so far – plenty of goodies, and of course, some baddies too! Family history would be boring without them.
The Brick Wall
Everyone faces and fears a research ‘brick wall’ at some time in their family tree research, where the story hits a dead end. Therefore, the end part of the show is an opportunity to put a plea out for help in a hope that a listener has that little clue or scrap of information that cracks that wall and brings it tumbling down. The listeners can make contact with the guest via our Contact Us page or via the means given by the guest in the episode.
To end the episode, Andrew offers his guest some help via something he keeps in his garage – a secret time machine! As a ‘thank you’ for taking part in the episode, our guests get to try it out to see if they can solve their brick wall first-hand. It’s even been known to work.
The garage is also where Andrew’s occasional assistant – the real-life 19th century missing Hungarian national poet and revolutionary, Sándor Petőfi can be found, alive and well in 21st century England.
The Family Histories Podcast is an independent British podcast that was founded in 2021. The show celebrates family historians all around the world, and the work that they do to piece together our collective social and family history.
It aims to do this with respect towards all guests, cultures, beliefs, and aims to take a factual or neutral view upon historical topics – allowing the guests to share and discuss their views in the context of their work. A guest’s viewpoint does not necessarily reflect the view of the podcast, nor members of the cast or crew.
The podcast does not include advertisements, nor does it participate in paid promotions, sponsorship, or requests for funding within episodes. It also does not offer a paid-for subscriber model, and is not part of a podcast network. Our website includes display advertising, with any revenue contributing towards the off-set of costs.
The show is available worldwide for free, unless podcast platforms or countries impose restrictions, and has listeners in 98 countries.
The podcast has charted repeatedly within Apple Podcasts’ chart for ‘Top Shows’ in History, within the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Spain, and Sweden.
Host Andrew Martin is available for interviews and guest spots on other podcasts. The full cast and crew credits list can be viewed at IMDb or Podchaser.
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