Who Do You Think You Are? - Lessons Learned | The Armchair Genealogist
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Who Do You Think You Are? - Lessons Learned

Even a filmmaker like Spike Lee, a storyteller, recognized that he had missed the opportunity to record some of the stories of his ancestors.

This past Friday evening, with the final episode of the first season of Who Do You Think You Are? having aired, I felt it was a good time to recap what we have taken away from this first season. By the way, it is so wonderful to say that this show has been picked up for a second season.

I believe there are two primary lessons from the show; in fact, I believe the same two lessons we learned from the show, most of us learn very quickly when tracing our genealogy, without the aid of a camera crew and research team.

1. No one arrives to his or her place in history alone; we are the product of many who have come before us.

2. We need to interview the living and capture our relative’s stories while they are still with us.

Every celebrity realized the power of their genealogy in helping them to their place in history. As well, every celebrity understood once they had begun their research they had opportunities when their grandparents were alive to record important information and they missed out. Of course, this is not a new message for those of us who are genealogy geeks. However, it is a message we fully understand and can appreciate and want the rest of the world to know.

I believe many of us are so enthusiastic about Who Do You Think You Are? because it is, a declaration to the world that in deed we are not freaks of nature. There is something to this chasing down dead people, and we love seeing someone discover and understand what all the fuss is about.

As genealogists, perhaps we will learn a thing or two about research, however, for us this show is more about seeing the journey the celebrities take and recognizing that same journey we have taken ourselves. Re-living the same experiences, recognizing the feelings and emotions they face with each discovery.

For those who are not into genealogy, (and I have talked to a few who have watched the show). They find it very interesting and for some who may have had a passing interest but didn’t know where to start, this show will likely be their catapult into this addictive hobby.

Therefore, as we await the second season of Who Do You Think You Are? I can’t help but throw out a few suggestions. As mentioned in a previous post, I would like the powers that be to address a younger celebrity, a Miley Cyrus, a vampire celebrity etc. This would attract perhaps, a younger audience. An audience in my opinion, we need to reach with genealogy.

I personally would like to see a celebrity with some Canadian roots, perhaps  Michael J. Fox. I would also like to suggest a contest for viewers, at the end of the season choose a non-celebrity to win an episode of their family history journey. Just as we are interested to see who the celebrities are each week, a non – celebrity who has won this opportunity could also be a big draw.

Otherwise, overall, the producers have done a great job thus far, and I anticipate season two and look forward to watching more episodes that entertain, motivate and inspire my own personal genealogical journey.

Do you have any suggestions for season two of Who Do You Think You Are?