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April 2010
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Archive for April 22nd, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are

WDYTYAWith the final two episodes of WDYTYA under way, I thought I should at least mention it once. I haven’t before because it seems like every time I turn around someone has either written, blogged or mentioned it. Talk about over kill. The series is interesting – it gives me an excuse to watch TV on Friday nights which is a nice break from housework, the computer and watching silly reruns of movies I have already seen at least a hundred times but it’s still not what I expected.
I feel the series, while good, is not geared to the average person. There is too much use of professional genealogists and jet setting all over the world. It also is misleading because so far, EVERYONE has had some famous or glorified ancestor in their family- which is not going to be the case for most people. Using actors as the main subjects is entertaining but allowing them into archives to handle old documents without the use of gloves or a pencil makes me cringe! Tell me you or I could go into that same archive and get away with something like that!
And because the shows are only an hour in length I find they jump over some important steps to how they arrive at discovering that all too important piece of family history. Instead of doing such a long introduction or a boring and pointless recap after each commercial, why not talk more about the sources used or the time frame involved in arriving to the outcome? The only time I have seen mention of any online source used is when someone logs onto Ancestry to look up a ship manifest. That’s great if you have the luxury of a laptop and subscription to ancestry from home, but if not, it is available at most libraries or Family History Centers for free. Or another alternative is the Ellis Island site if your ancestors arrived through New York and prior to 1924.

In spite of this, I do enjoy the show and I am happy that it has been picked up for another season. I only hope that they will eventually realize that there is so much more that they can do with the show to improve it.

Future Episodes:
Friday, April 26 – Susan Sarandon traces her ancestry to Tuscany, Italy
Friday, April 30 – Spike Lee traces his African- American roots.

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