Southern Belle's History

History from a southern belle.

“Who Do You Think You Are?” is awakening Geneology with celebrities

NBC has created quite the jewel with the show “Who Do You Think You Are”. Obviously partnering with the Geneology giant, Ancestry.com, the show is in its second season of awakening the geneologist in us all with the help of its celebrity features. Each season, several celebrities are followed on their quest to find out more about their ancestral roots, traveling wherever the next lead takes them and meeting with the local geneologist or librarian to share with them records of the family member they are searching for, and plugging Ancestry.com wherever they can.

The most integral part of the series is not the celebrities themselves, or their ancestors, but the overhanging idea that the journey to find out your familial ties can take you to places you never expected; and, not unlike most road trips, the journey itsself is often more important as what you find when you come to the end of it. Is the show unrealistic? In one way, maybe; most people cannot afford to travel all over the place meeting with this geneologist and that expert, but with the help of places like Ancestry.com, it is an attainable idea to learn about who and where you come from. Also, these people are but a phone call away, and with modern technology, their help is a tangible idea.

Just like my article on remembering the library, this show reminds people of the importance of using the help of this free and very public service. These celebrities get a chance to travel to many different places, even including different countries, and meet these public servants who desperately want nothing more than to share with these people the gift of history that lies within the pages of the documents they care for and hold every day. Often times, excitement and wonder comes across the faces of these celebrities as they discover their family were pioneers on the forefront of what is not written in the history books, but was an extremely important movement towards our society today. Then there are the ones who feel full of disappointment, but also a sense of closure to a missing chapter in their lives, and it leads to greatfulness  or appreciation for what they have now.

We can all feel this same sort of satisfaction and excitement if we awaken the geneologist inside us all. Many of the tools available to these celebrities are also available to the layman. Speaking to our family members who are alive is a great way to start. Internet searches can help a great deal and often will lead you to the sites you need to start your search. You can often step up and use Ancestry.com, it is a great tool and the databases it employs can help you more than you could imagine. There is a fee, and several plans to choose from, but it can be cancelled at any time and your information will be saved if you choose to get the service later again. You can also call the local library or probate office for deed records and census information. Many states have their records online now and are free to search, and very affordable to order records.

Awaken the geneologist in yourself. Learn more about where you come from, and perhaps you will learn how fun the journey can be. Bring together your siblings and make it a family project, or find a friend and help them search out their past too. Also, be sure you don’t miss “Who Do You Think You Are” on NBC, Friday nights, you’ll be glad you did.

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March 6, 2011 Posted by | History | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment