This genealogy researcher searched for home movies on YouTube after hearing Lisa Louise Cooke talk about the kinds of footage you can find for your family history. Check out this eye-popping discovery of a video showing her daredevil great-uncle in action…at age 82!

Awhile back, I gave a seminar at the Houston Genealogy Forum. I covered one of my favorite topics: how to find old home movies on YouTube that may feature your family’s history or even include a family member. Over the years of teaching this topic, some genealogists have responded with open skepticism to the idea–that is of course until they try it. Well, a woman named Carolyn attended that seminar and later kindly wrote me and said how much she enjoyed it. She explained how she applied what she learned with fantastic results.

I’m not surprised that she had such success. Just think of all the old film footage that people have shot over the years at parades, festivals, grand openings, school concerts or plays, races, sporting events, parties, graduations, weddings, company picnics and more. Thousands of hours of old films like these have been digitized and uploaded to YouTube! 

Here’s Carolyn’s story:

“Today I decided to try YouTube, which I have never gone to before. The first thing I put in was my Great Uncle Will Ivy Baldwin, the tightrope walker. Immediately I found a video of him walking the high wire across a canyon in Colorado at age 82 in 1948! I actually saw him perform this dare devil feat! I am still filled with the thrill of it!”

Carolyn finished by saying, “Thank you so much for all we learned from you. The only problem is that I am going to have to live to be 200 to take advantage of everything you pointed out to us. I will tell all of my friends and other societies about your wonderful speech and hope to see you again.”

Can you believe how her great-uncle walked a tightrope on his 82nd birthday with no net and no harness? Incredible! Carolyn’s got some great genes to perform fantastic feats, which we hope includes more amazing family history discoveries.

While you’re on YouTube anyway searching for old home movies, why not check out the free family history video tutorials on the Genealogy Gems You Tube channel? Click the red Subscribe button while you’re there so you won’t miss a single new genealogy video we publish. 

How-to: Finding old home movies on YouTube

Are you curious and ready to find old home movies on YouTube? Click here to read my 4 terrific tips to get you started.

For the ultimate guide to searching the hundreds of thousands–possibly millions–of old film footage clips on YouTube, consider reading my book, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox. This book has an entire chapter devoted to searching YouTube (which is owned by Google), with examples, screenshots and step-by-step instructions. It may help you discover some family history video treasures of your own on YouTube!

About the Author: Lisa Louise Cooke

About the Author: Lisa Louise Cooke

Lisa is the Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online genealogy audio show and app. She is the author of the books The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Mobile Genealogy, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, and the Google Earth for Genealogy video series, an international keynote speaker, and producer of the Family Tree Magazine Podcast.

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