Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Genealogy



Did you guys see the new NBC series, Who Do You Think You Are? It's really well done. Basically, it takes celebrities through an (emotional) search for their ancestors. I watched the launch episode featuring Sarah Jessica Parker over the weekend and was super into it. They were studying one line of her family tree and found gold rush connections, Salem Witch Trial connections — all sorts of stuff.

Do you know anything about your ancestry? Are you a genealogy buff? I think I may be extra-fascinated with this topic because Mormons grow up talking about and studying our family trees, but if you watch the show, I'd love to hear what you think.

You can find the whole episode on NBC.com here. And you can see a preview here.


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20 Comments:

Anonymous genevieve said...

Thank you. This is really fun.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 11:36:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how cool!!! i tried searching some stuff about my family but it takes a lot of work :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 11:44:00 AM EST  
Blogger Colett (*.*) said...

I know it's shameless self promotion, hope you don't mind Gabby, but have you seen the family tree kits spotlighted on
http://thequiltingdiaries.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 12:01:00 PM EST  
Blogger Homegrown {& the Bug} said...

I seriously waited for that show to come on for MONTHS! I'm a huge genealogy buff -- I started doing it when my son was born and he's now five.

My grandpa was a Mormon and he was big into family history as well. Just an FYI, the Mormons maintain a huge amount of records. Basically, they ask that members of the church submit family trees when they join -- I won't go into details as to why they ask that people do this (though it's common knowledge to Mormons) but they offer quite a few free databases and in the genealogy world that's awesome considering the occasional high cost of research.

Check out familysearch.org and pilot.familysearch.org. Also, the Mormons have Family Centers where you can go and they will actually do quite a bit of research for you.

They also had a series like this on PBS and it was great too (though I liked WDYTYA better). Meryl Streep was on that show and I think she said something that sums up why I spend so much time researching something that frequently only older people do (I'm 27). She said something along the lines of we are the sum of all those that have came before us. When you find these stories about our ancestors, or even just their names, it really connects you to other places and times.

On another note, if anyone would like some help with genealogy or a little bit of research to get them started, drop me an email!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 12:49:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Newborn Clothing said...

Super cool show, I would love to find out about my family tree. Wonder who I could do that.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 1:54:00 PM EST  
Blogger Carolina said...

As you probably noticed, Ancestry.com is a sponsor of the show. I am amazed by how much you can find on their site. I typed in my husband's grandfather's name and found the records of when he arrived in the United States as a German immigrant. They even catalog his luggage!

I was skeptical about the show being very successful--I couldn't imagine people being interested in family history, but I guess I was wrong. It got pretty good ratings.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 2:22:00 PM EST  
Blogger Emily said...

this is one of my ongoing projects. I've gotten so invested that I've come to take Sherman's burning of the south personally - I needed those records, man!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 2:37:00 PM EST  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Let me also recommend Faces of America, the PBS show that Henry Louis Gates hosted that just ended on PBS. It was unbelievably touching, and extremely interesting too--Steven Colbert, Eva Longoria, Yo-Yo Ma, Louise Erdrich were all guests plus lots of others. Truly super!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 3:04:00 PM EST  
Anonymous KateB said...

Here in Australia, we get the Australian and British versions of that show, and what always fascinates me is how emotional people can get - it's clear that they feel a genuine and immediate connection to these people who, five minutes earlier, they were totally unaware of. Family is powerful stuff! Would love to see the American version.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 3:16:00 PM EST  
Blogger Laura said...

I recorded it and just watched it last night. It was so good! I wish they'd shown more of Sarah Jessica Parker's mom's reaction to everything, even though I know it would have been just like her daughter's.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 6:49:00 PM EST  
Blogger Damaris said...

I just started doing my genealogy (like, last Sunday). I am amazed at how much information tha church (LDS) has about my family in Brazil.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 7:17:00 PM EST  
Blogger Artfulife said...

I watched this on Hulu last night. I was so excited that this show is being produced. I'm very hopeful that it will spark the genealogy bug in many people. My mom just sent me two thick binders full of family history from both sides of my family. I cried when I saw the photos of my grandpa when he was a baby. He is very private about his childhood & I had never seen them until that moment. The feeling was overwhelming. I will treasure those pictures & binders full of family history forever.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 7:39:00 PM EST  
Blogger Emily said...

I heard this show was great and I'm so sad I missed it! I dabbled in genealogy a bit in college due to an elective class and found it rather addictive. Right now I'm leaving the FamilySearch stuff to my dad and counting blogging as my contribution, but I do hope to do more someday soon!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 7:42:00 PM EST  
Blogger Emmie {orange + barrel} said...

I was bored and I saw this on Hulu and got sucked in. It made me want to find more about our family history!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 9:03:00 PM EST  
Blogger Tammy said...

I haven't seen this yet, but I am with Elizabeth in recommending Faces of America on PBS - I've really enjoyed watching it.

I love finding out more about our family history, and my sister and I looked on the Ellis Island web site to locate the registry of the ship our great-grandparents came to America on in 1915 (with their signatures)! It's a great resource.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 9:25:00 PM EST  
Blogger Donna said...

I've been interested in family history forever (I'm 68, so it seems like forever), and for the past several years I've been documenting my children's grand (and great-grand and great-great-grand) parents, while trying to ignore aunts, uncles, cousins and so forth. I've "found" all 16 great-greats and all 32 of the great-great-greats. About a year ago I decided to pause and start collecting facts about all these people, stuff other than birth dates and places of birth and death. Recently I discovered the Google News Archive Search, a real find for someone with many ancestors from the Reading (PA) area, as editions of the Reading Eagle from as long ago as 1868 can be browsed online. Many other newspapers are available as well (even some foreign papers), I'm sure. You can see the actual newspaper, and just reading the articles is so much fun!
I appreciate the Mormon website, but not everything on it is accurate. So be careful what you decide to take as the honest truth.
And do have fun!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 9:23:00 AM EST  
Blogger Darby said...

Love that show!!! I'm also obsessed with ancestry, I've discovered my Irish roots have some pretty interesting characters mixed in :) If anyone is interested in displaying their charts I was lucky enough to have received a beautiful family tree from mytreeandme.com and now I give them to all my friends who are getting married and having babies. They're super modern and just gorgeous! Just a suggestion, if you do all that leg work to find out where you come from!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 2:26:00 PM EST  
Blogger PMG Smith Family said...

Thanks for posting the link. I just finished watching and it was great!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 5:21:00 PM EST  
Blogger pat said...

I love doing genealogy and family research and was excited to see how they approached it with this show. I thought they did quite well to pique the interest of the normal, "I know nothing about my family" type person. It was so fun to see how SJP got so invested in the lives of her ancestors. That's what family history research is about; it's not the dates, it's the fact that there are people and lives BEHIND those dates, and they are your family. The only problem I had with the show is that it made it appear that you needed to be on-site (in OHio, in California, in Massachusets) to access the records, which might cause a lot of people to give up. Almost everything out there is available on-line now; it is amazing what you can find through the internet. You don't have to travel; you just have to be able to Google. It's all about family, and I'm glad that this program is showing the viewing public that fact.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 8:18:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very cool! I'm only hearing about this show from your blog. I'll have to check it out.

My husband is descended from Confucius, and his family has volumes of books recording each family member's name. It's in Chinese characters (which most older Koreans can read). My family was never good about keeping records (I barely have any baby pictures!) so there's this sense of pride of... belonging.

Anyhow, I hope they branch this out to feature everyday people and not just celebs.

Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 1:21:00 PM EDT  

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