Friday nights were not a favorite of mine for television until I came across ‘Who Do You Think You Are’?. This show is on Channel 4 by NBCUniversal and is fantastic to watch with the whole family. Each week a different celebrity traces their family roots as far back as they can with the help of Ancestry.com, Historical Society, local church, genealogist – wherever they can dig up information on their ancestors.
Not all of the information they uncover is what they expected or wanted to hear, however it seems to affect each celebrity in a different way. It is amazing what you can find out when you investigate the family members that came before you. The majority of clues can be found in the census. A census is the process of obtaining information about every member of a population and is a method used for accumulating statistical data. You can find births, deaths, marriages, maiden names, occupations – data that goes back hundreds of years.
The show I’ve enjoyed the most so far was with Rosie O’Donnell. I haven’t kept up with her life and career and didn’t have a feeling for her one way or another. From what I had seen of her I always felt she was a little brash (judging a book by its cover) but that all changed watching her on this program. I was not aware of her mother passing away from cancer when she was only 10 years old and she stated that she had a very sad childhood due to her mothers illness. When she realized some of the hardships and tragedies that her relatives had gone through you could visibly see the sadness on her face. I see Rosie in a whole new light – a loving, caring, sensitive person.
This show really makes you feel fortunate for what we have available to us in this day and age and what we take for granted. You come away from this program feeling thankful for what the generations before us went through and how blessed we should feel on a daily basis.
Rosie discovered that her great-grandmothers name was Ann Doyle and was from Ireland. The name sounded familiar and I was always told that my family had Irish history, so I decided to look through my my baby book that my mother had filled out for me in 1957. There it was on my family tree page – My grandmothers and great-grandfathers last name was Doyle. Who knows….maybe Rosie is related to me in some way….small world. Now it makes me wonder where I came from….what are the relatives like that lived before me? Did they live a hard life? Were they happy and successful? Are there people out there that I’ve never met that I am related to?
I am addicted to this show – NBCUniversal should give an opportunity for the average person to be able to participate on a show like this one. I think we all go through our lives wondering where we came from, who we resemble and if we are like any of our relatives that lived centuries before us. Everyone must tune into this show on Friday night. No matter the outcome of each celebrity’s story, it’s a “feel good” show.