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A thousand years of family history in 37 minutes

Published: Tuesday, March 2 2010 12:30 a.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — The message Clayton Brough wants your family to take away is this: Family history is not just for crusty old men winding and rewinding slides in a dark back room.Brough, known to Utahns as a gifted geographer, an enthusiastic junior high teacher, and an amiable weatherman for ABC4-KTVX until 2008, is also the current president of the Richard Brough Family Organization or RBFO.The RBFO — the historical society dedicated to the Brough family name — has recently released a 37-minute video documentary entitled "A Thousand Years of Family History."The video can be viewed via YouTube and the entire script is online.The brief video tracks the Brough ancestry through England, America and Australia. Brough calls it a "first" of its kind.The motive behind it was not to create a typical, supplementary documentary, but to create something concise and accessible for the next generation of genealogists."It's the younger generation we're trying to hit. Families out there are producing these big, thick volumes, which are important, but the younger generation wants it fast, quick and succinct," Brough said.The video uses a number of locations and a variety of Brough family members provide the narration. It's family history gone global."It doesn't matter if you're LDS, Anglican, Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist," Brough said. "We tell everybody's story and let them understand that family history goes beyond different religions and cultures and political spheres."What Brough hopes is that other family organizations around the world will look critically at the video and use it as an example in order to create their own — or to simply encourage genealogical work within their families."This is about a bigger, broader world view so young people feel like they're part of something more than just themselves or their own immediate family," he said.Brough said he realized the significance of "A Thousand Years of Family History" when he received an e-mail in early December from Greg Brough Hargreaves, a relative in England."Having something to watch rather than read has fired the imagination of two of my children and we are having some great moments together studying our family tree," Hargreaves wrote."That makes it all worth it," Brough said of the e-mail.Mark E. Gardner, a British genealogist at the Family History Library, said that he's excited to have the video available because the Brough family's interest in and dedication to their bloodlines will help other families understand their roots."The genealogical and historical value of time and effort will never be forgotten by those involved in producing the video and searching out (the Brough) family history, and (it) will be a treasured account of their history for generations to come," Gardner said.Brough suggests the technology we have certainly lends itself to the genealogical process, but especially in regards to projects like "A Thousand Years of Family History" — which, despite its impressive title, was a relatively easy, inexpensive undertaking."We tapped into resources online," Brough said, pointing out they didn't have to wait months on end to get information or images for the video: Family members from across the globe could send a quick e-mail and they had what they needed.Brough ultimately sees the documentary as a missionary tool."We're not asking for a dime," he said. "Which is why it's on YouTube — anyone can watch it, free of charge, anywhere in the world, anytime."


E-mail: eschmuhl@desnews.com

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