Chris Rodda did some research into the Historical Research Center and found some interesting facts. For one, there is no such thing as a family coat of arms. (Any experienced genealogist could have told you that.)
Next, Historical Research Center spokesperson Michael Walshe is featured in most of the advertisements. And who is Michael Walshe? He claims to be the man who introduced you to the Ginsu knife back in 1978.
Gee, if I order my so-called "family coat of arms," I wonder if Michael Walshe will throw in a set of Ginsu knives?
However, proving Walshe's connection to Ginsu knives seems to be difficult.
After reportedly making millions off the Ginsu and other "as seen on TV" products, such as the miracle painter and the miracle slicer, Walshe went on to write a book, titled One Idea Can Make You $1,000,000, which is now available on "easy to follow" CDs for the "incredibly low price" of only $19.99. There is no explanation of what makes this offer so "incredible," but I should note that if you order right now, Walshe will also send you two free bonus CDs!
Walshe's latest way to make millions? His pseudo-genealogy franchise business, the Historical Research Center. That's right. This is a franchise business. For only 5,000 British pounds or so (roughly $7,500 US dollars), Walshe will set you up with your own branch of the Historical Research Center. You, too, can generate extra income. His make-money franchise is detailed at http://familycrests.stores.yahoo.net/makemoney.html and at http://blog.consumerwebwatch.org/2009/05/myfreescrollcom_multipitch_web.html
You can read a lot more in Chris Rodda's article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-rodda/congratulations-mom----he_b_577341.html. In my opinion, Rodda's article should be required reading for every consumer and every would-be genealogist.
You can learn even more about Michael Walshe at his own MyTVMillions.com web site and at his http://www.offer.tv/ where he claims to have "introduced" the Ginsu knives. Michael Walshe's personal blog at http://ginsumillionaire.wordpress.com/ also makes the same claim. Those sites were written by Michael Walshe. However, I find it curious that Wikipedia and several other web sites give a different story about the introduction of Ginsu knives.
The Wikipedia history of the Ginsu knives at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginsu never mentions Walshe, giving full credit to two other men. The official GinsuGuys.com web site also never mentions Walshe, nor does PriMedia at http://www.primediahq.com/index.cfm?pg=39&title=Ginsu-Years, nor does the "Genuine Ginsu" web site at http://www.genuineginsu.com/.
All the web sites agree that "Ginsu" is a made-up name. While it sounds Japanese, there is no such word as "ginsu" in the Japanese language. At least, there wasn't any such word until after the TV infomercials hit the scene. The Ginsu knives are made in USA but now are even sold in Japan.
“But wait! There’s more!”
The Ginsu knives have had a long history since their introduction in 1978. The knives are now manufactured and marketed by a company called Douglas Quikut which, in turn, is a division of the Scott Fetzer Company. The Scott Fetzer Company produces the Ginsu knives as well as OEM vacuum cleaners sold under the brand names of Kirby and Oreck. And now for the fun part: the Scott Fetzer Company has been owned for the past 22 years by Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest men in America.
Yes, Warren Buffet is currently the man behind the Ginsu knives.
"Isn't that amazing?"
The mystery is "where does Michael Walshe fit in?"
Finally, I have to ask: "Now how much would you pay? Don't answer!"
If you want to really know where your family name came from, start at the FREE Ellis Island web site at http://www.ellisisland.org/. Not all immigrants came through Ellis Island, but millions did. The information there is far more accurate than the offers from various pitchmen and is available free of charge, to boot.
"Operators are standing by!"
Well, there are no human operators "standing by" at the Ellis Island site but the information is available 24 hours a day: http://www.ellisisland.org/.