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.