Genealogy Roadshow logo
Genealogy Roadshow is now casting for its next season. Are you a contender?
In case you missed the first season, Genealogy Roadshow is a PBS series much like Antiques Roadshow–only your ancestors are the antiques. Instead of everyday people bringing their old collectibles and antiques in to be appraised by experts, everyday people bring their family stories and pedigree charts. Genealogists research their stories and reveal new details to them and their relatives.
Filling out the preliminary application may feel a bit like auditioning for a part along with your entire family. There are questions like “What is your story and why is it important to you to find out now?” “Have you or any member of your family or outside group looked into any branches of your family’s history? If so, please describe who and explain what roadblocks or limitations they encountered.” “What would uncovering this information about your family mean to you and your family?” Applicants are asked to submit GEDCOMs, if they have them, and whether they have DNA samples.
Interested? Check out the online application yourself! Then, in case you missed them or want to catch them again, catch episodes from the first season on PBS Video.
The final episode of TLC’s first season of Who Do You Think You Are? came with more than just an extra helping of ancestral drama. Along with the end of the season came the welcome announcement that WDYTYA? will return in 2014 on TLC.
First, the final episode recap: American actor Jim Parsons explored his paternal line and discovered one ancestor who was lost in a tragic accident–and another who narrowly escaped death by guillotine.
The Ancestry.com research team reports, “When we went digging into Jim Parsons’ family tree we found his third-great-grandfather was Jean Baptiste Hacker, a physician who was raised in New Orleans but moved to Plaquemine, Louisiana, after starting his medical career. Just a few years later, Dr. Hacker, along with his daughter Leocadie and his nephew, was killed in a tragic fire on board the steamboat Gipsy in December 1854.”
They documented the accident through an article from New Orleans paper the Daily Picayune (digitized at Newspapers.com and shown here):
Another line of research takes Jim’s ancestry back to France, where he learned one of his forebears was an architect to Louis XV. “The timing of Louis Francois [Trouard]’s appointment is significant: 1787 is only two years prior to the French Revolution. Four architects were executed during the Revolution, and another 25 were imprisoned. Yet Louis Francois escaped Republican retribution….”
“At the Chapelle de la Providence, a structure designed by his ancestor, Jim discovers the startling truth: Louis Francois had good revolutionary credentials, including houseguests such as Benjamin Franklin and John Adams.”
Along with that riveting last episode, TLC just announced it will bring back more of the same next season. On September 10, Digital Spy reported that 2014 will see 10 more episodes. Celebrity guests haven’t been announced yet, so stay tuned! We’ll keep you posted on future developments.
Meanwhile, TV watchers, mark your calendars for the American version of Genealogy Roadshow, the PBS show scheduled to debut next week.
If you’re like me, you were happy to see the return of Who Do You Think You Are? to our TV lineup this past summer. You might have thought to yourself as you watched, “They make it look so easy! I wonder how long it took them to find that record?”
Well there have been some great articles written by the researchers behind the scenes at WDYTYA? For example, this post tells how it took more than 1000 hours of research for Cindy Crawford’s one-hour episode.
“It took months to research Cindy’s tree,” says the post at ProGenealogists, Ancestry’s official research arm. “Only the records that were essential stepping stones could be included in her story, and a few important steps we took along the way didn’t make the final cut.”
A post on Matthew Broderick’s episode, which aired in 2010, introduces us to using military records to find our family history. Matthew appeared in the 1989 Civil War film “Glory” but his great-great-grandfather experienced the real thing: he died while serving as a Union soldier. Other episodes bring up other episodes in the history of the world: Lisa Kudrow’s past includes the horrors of the Holocaust, Rosie O’Donnell’s covers the experience of a poor family in an Irish workhouse that was able to escape to Canada; Emmitt Smith’s probes the dark depths of African-American slavery. The post on Emmitt is a particularly detailed account of how this family was found.
You can click on similar posts relating to other WDYTYA guests, both past and present: Chris O’Donnell, Zooey Deschanel, Chelsea Handler, Christina Applegate, Kelly Clarkson, Tim McGraw, Vanessa Williams, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lisa Kudrow, Brooke Shields, and Susan Sarandon.
If you haven’t tuned in to WDYTYA yet, check it out on TLC on Tuesdays at 9pmEST. Or learn more about it and watch episodes at TLC’s website.
Genealogy Roadshow logo
Lovers of Who Do You Think You Are! and other genealogy TV favorites will be pleased to know that Genealogy Roadshow is filming for airing this fall on PBS.
This clever show follows a format similar to the popular Antiques Roadshow, in which antiques experts travel to various cities to talk about artifacts brought in by area residents. Residents may lug in tall grandfather clocks, faded letters or other old objects. Experts comment on the historical context, rarity and value of their artifacts. Viewers enjoy watching owners who become overjoyed, stunned, fascinated and occasionally disappointed by what the experts say.
Genealogy Roadshow spins that format in a family history direction. PBS describes it this way: “Participants want to explore unverified genealogical claims passed down through family history, that may (or may not) connect them to an event or a historical figure. Experts in genealogy, history and DNA will use family heirlooms, letters, pictures, historical documents and other clues to hunt down more information. These experts will enlist the help of local historians to add color and context to the investigations, ensuring every artifact and every name becomes a clue in solving the mystery.”
This season, hosts are Kenyatta Barry and D. Joshua Taylor, young but expert and enthusiastic voices in the American genealogy community. The cities hosting Genealogy Roadshow are Nashville, Austin, Detroit and San Francisco. PBS explains that “these cities were chosen as American crossroads of culture, diversity, industry and history, with deep pools of potential participants and stories.”
This has already been a popular series in Ireland, where Genealogy Roadshow is in its second season. The series premieres in the U.S. on KQED on Monday September 23.
The Danish Broadcasting Corporation is filming its own version of “Who Do You Think You Are?”–which we’ve learned via two U.S. newspapers!
According to the Bureau County Republican and the NewsTribune (Illinois Valley), popular Danish actress Suzanne Bjerrehuus was in the area filming stories of her great-great-grandparents, who emigrated from Denmark to the American Midwest in 1869. (They apparently left behind one of their six children, from whom Bjerrehuus descends.)
As part of her whirlwind family history tour, Bjerrehuus reportedly visited the Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa. If you have Danish roots, you should probably check out their website. They have a Family History & Genealogy Center, which specializes in helping people find links to their Danish immigrant past. They provide research and translation services and they’ve helped people connect with long-lost relatives in both Denmark and the United States.