Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Finally! The "Who Do You Think You Are" is Coming On March 5

Note: This article is not very grammatically correct.  There are a lot of run-on sentences and such.  But the reason is because this article is full of emotion and I don't believe that the message I am trying to send will come across if I write the way my English professor would like me to.  So please forgive me and I hope it makes sense to you.  Well...enough explaining - you'll see what I mean when you read it!

Genealogists have been desperately waiting for the release of the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are.  NBC, the television network that the show will be on, has been toying with our emotions over the last year and a half or so. But the wait is finally over and the show will air on March 5th on NBC.

The website is officially up that have information and clips from the show.  Each clip is so wonderful and always moves me to tears.  Watching the emotional roller coaster that each of the seven celebrities goes through is so moving and it is exactly what I feel every time I search for the stories of my ancestors.  The joy and the pain and the surprise is all something that we can relate to.  It is exactly the same rush that I feel every time I make a discovery.

And to be honest, I'm not exactly sure why it moves me to tears.  Maybe it is because it is something that every person can relate to - genealogist or not.  Every person on this planet tries to find the definition of how their fit into this world and watching these celebrities (who really look more like everyday people on this show) reshape their definition of themselves is an incredibly exhilarating experience.

Maybe it is because those images are the definition of why I research my family history.  I've always struggled trying to put to words why I love to research my family history.  Watching the previews that are on the website, I've come to realize that it isn't something you can put into words.  Watching the excitement of Susan Sarandon finding a clue on a roll of microfilm, watching the nervousness of Lisa Kudrow as she makes a call to a possible cousin, watching the pain of Emmitt Smith as he walks where his slave ancestors probably walked, and watching the awe in Mathew Broderick's face as he discovers the story of an ancestor who fought at Gettysburg - that is why I do genealogy.  It isn't something you can put into words.  It's something that only images and feelings can express.  It's emotional and spiritual all at the same time.  Discovering the stories of your ancestors and learning about their accomplishments and troubles and the struggle and the pain and the joy and the happiness and the adventure that our ancestors went through.  And all the while, knowing that all of those journeys went in to make us and that those journeys effect who we are on a much deeper level than can be defined with words.

(Wow - I hope that last paragraph made sense...)

And now comes the hard part: If we want this show to continue on for a second season, then we need to prove to NBC that it is a show worth keeping.  So that means spreading the word to everyone you know (I literally mean everyone - from your friends to the checkout lady at the grocery store) to watch the show.  That means telling people on Facebook, Twitter, email - by every way possible.  We have to market this show if we want it to last.

And of course it means that we have to watch the show.  But then again - I don't need to tell you all that because as genealogists I know you'll all be watching it without me having to tell you.

Also, this is a great opportunity for the genealogy societies to throw a viewing party for the show.  Genealogy societies could make this into an opportunity to raise some money by selling popcorn and candy at the viewing party.  Come on genealogy societies - it is time to go all out and party.

So what do you all think about the show?  Are you excited?


Myrt said...

Host a "VIEWING PARTY"? That is a simply AWESOME idea.

Also post comments on the WDYTYA area at NBC.com. You'll find it under "community".

ALSO there is a Facebook page for the show: http://www.facebook.com/nbcwdytya?ref=nf

Elyse said...

1.) I just did a little happy dance because you left a comment on my blog and it totally made my day.
2.) Great idea about leaving comments on the WDYTYA website. I never even thought about that.
3.) Thanks for showing the Facebook page.

Anonymous said...

I am very excited about the show as well. I am planning on promoting it on my facebook page. I like the idea of a viewing party, I might try that as well. I have this gut feeling that the show is going to start a new wave of interest in genealogy. Does anyone know who is going to be advertising during the show? I assume Ancestry will. As a young genealogists (10 year veteran at age 27), I am hoping it will make genealogy "cool" for my generation. We as young people should be collecting information about our families now while many of our "elders" are still living.

Thanks for the post.

Jonathan Medford

Brian said...

Great post. It's exactly how I felt watching the shows. I found a few of the UK and AU ones on YouTube and other places. I can get very interested in any person's personal genealogy journey, even if they aren't a celebrity (and some of the AU people I've never even heard of.)

Hopefully, it's gets a good audience.

Anonymous said...

Hi Elyse

I live in the UK and have been fortunate enough to watch (and purchase available dvd's - which i think are available in us format as well)

They are fantastic programmes - if anyone has a change to find it, Jerry Springer did an episode for the BBC, i'm sure if you contact NBC, they may screen it


Anonymous said...

I didn't even know it existed! I'm writing this down on my list of shows to watch.