The Times of London has an interesting article about genealogy interest in the U.K. It focuses on the TV show Who Do You Think You Are? The article states:
Genealogy has become a national obsession. Right now, more than three million of us are digging up our family trees via the National Archives. It's not all royal bloodlines and pleasant peasants, though, as the novelist and comedian David Baddiel can testify. In fact, the Latin motto of genealogists should translate as "beware of what you seek"; many of the histories that this sanguine sleuthing exposes are sad, profound and resonate down to the present generation.
The article also describes the "downside" of genealogy:
Many inquisitive investigators end up discovering illegitimacy, bigamy, adoption and previously unknown relatives, as well as criminals. There is a simple reason why rogues, as well as royalty, tend to turn up regularly.
You can read this interesting article by John Naish at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,8123-2434913,00.html.