Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are?

NBC has a new show on called "Who Do You Think You Are?" The show is an American spin off of the 6 year old British show that traces the ancestry of national celebrities. In each episode, a celebrity goes on a journey to trace his or her family tree.

The premier show featured actress, Sarah Jessica Parker. She traced her ancestor with the surname Hodge from Cincinnati, Ohio to El Dorado County, California in the Gold County. She also traced an earlier ancestor, Elwell back to Salem, Massachusetts and discovered that she was part of the infamous Salem witch trials. I actually visited Salem, Massachusetts several years back and viewed some of the victims graves. It was quite eerie.

In general, I like the show and I am glad that there is now a Genealogy program that will hopefully encourage individuals to trace their family history.

My only criticism is that the show seemed unnecessarily "scripted." The reactions of Ms. Parker to finding out about her ancestry seemed unnatural and exaggerated and her words seemed as though they came from a cue card. It was clear that the show was trying to relay to the audience reasons why they would want to trace their ancestry, but from my almost 20 years of experience in Genealogy, people are naturally excited when they find out about themselves and the message comes across more clearly.

However, as mentioned, I still think the show is wonderful and I am looking forward to future episodes.