Who Do You Think You Are?

I’ve been watching the NBC series Who Do You Think You Are? with great interest. I find the series quite interesting. I don’t care that the person whose ancestry is featured each week is a celebrity. I realize that the celebrity connections create interest and ratings and I don’t have a problem with that. I’d watch this program regardless of whose ancestry was featured just because it’s genealogy and history.

That they’re researching the family history of celebrities is nothing special. They didn’t didn’t choose their ancestors any more than I chose mine. Celebrity status doesn’t change who their ancestors were nor does it enhance or detract from it. Their ancestors are just as significant as mine. Their ancestors’ stories are just as relevant as the stories of anyone else’s. For better or for worse, our lives and our world were shaped by our ancestors.

If the show generates interest and awareness in genealogy and inspires people to learn their history, then it has fulfilled its purpose. I’ve been touched, in one way or another, by each story I’ve seen. That it was a celebrity’s family history had no bearing on it.

I wish I’d had an interest in genealogy years ago when I could have asked my grandparents and great-grandparents about their lives. There are so many gaps I could have filled.


Author: Rick

I'm a simple man, trying to make my way in the universe.

2 thoughts on “Who Do You Think You Are?”

  1. I’ve watched each episode so far and, to my surprise, each has been better that the one that preceded it. Emmett Smith faced some hard truths about his slave ancestry. Lisa Kudrow’s discovery that some of her Jewish ancestors had been victims of the holocaust must have been heart wrenching. Matthew Broderick ancestry was interesting and even a bit heroic. Still, I’d have to say that I’ve enjoyed the Susan Sarandon episode the most. They showed her doing her own research and doing some of the legwork by finding records in the library, visiting cemeteries and churches.

    While it didn’t particularly bother me, many genealogists have been critical that these celebrities were handed the research. I’m sure Susan appreciates her quest a little bit more because she was more involved. Maybe the other celebrities also did some of their own research but it just wasn’t shown. Who can say?


  2. Surprisingly, I haven’t been watching the current season, not even online. Like damned near everything else, genealogy has taken a back seat. Damn, this back seat is crowded!


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