Ancestry.com

Who Do You Think You Are? Episode 5 – Brooke Shields

Posted by Heather Erickson on April 2, 2010 in Who Do You Think You Are?

Brooke Shields always felt her parents were from separate worlds, but when she dug into her family history on Who Do You Think You Are? , she realized how true this really was. Her mother was from a working-class New Jersey household, and her father’s family stemmed from European aristocracy. Researching the pair, however, gave Brooke better insight into the lives that influenced each of them and that ultimately made Brooke the person she is today.

Here’s the route she took to learn more:

  • New Jersey State Archives, Newark, NJ - Growing up, Brooke had always felt her maternal grandmother, Theresa, has been “awful” to Brooke’s mother. But why? Returning to the town where Theresa grew up, Brooke discovers through a birth record that Theresa had two brothers whom Brooke had never heard about. But it’s in death certificates that she finds the reason: they both died young, one as an infant, the other at age 13.
  • Ironbound neighborhood, Newark, NJ – Brooke sees a 1911 photo of the street her grandmother and sibling grew up on. However, she also learns that her grandmother’s mother died at age 38 and that Theresa’s 13-year-old brother, Edward, had drowned on a hot summer day. A newspaper article offers additional details and points Brooke to the spot where the tragedy happened. The events help Brooke understand more about her grandmother’s actions and the emotional wounds that likely never healed.
  • New York Historical Society, New York City, NY – Switching gears, Brooke turns to her father’s family – did they really have royal roots? She reviews a scroll of her family tree and finds that she’s related to a former banker to the Vatican in Italy.
  • Villa Torlonia near Rome, Italy – How did Brooke’s ancestor, Giovanni Torlonia, get so powerful? Brooke learns he bought his way into nobility. But a wedding certificate indicates that Giovanni Torlonia’s father, Marino, wasn’t actually from Italy. He was born in France.
  • Augerolles, France - Ancestry.fr family historian, Careen Rabilloud, shows Brooke the birth record stating where Marino was born (rural France), and his original birth name: Marin. Careen notes that Marin was the servant of an abbot who had been accused of being a spy. Marin helped the abbot escape and eventually Marin had to escape himself. She visits the house where Marin likely grew up.
  • The Louvre, Paris, France – Another branch of Brooke’s father’s family, however, intrigues Brooke – Christine Marie whose name is appended with “Madame Royal” could be the royal link Brooke has been hoping to find. A family tree at Ancestry.com indicates she was born in The Louvre, and a discussion with a genealogist helps Brooke better understand her connection to French royal lines.
  • Saint-Denis Cathedral, Paris, France – Every family historian wishes to touch something their ancestor once held and Brooke is no exception. The prize she gets to touch, however, is no trinket: it’s Henry IV’s heart.
  • Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France – Forget photos – Brooke’s royal family tree is commemorated in paintings and sculptures. It’s here Brooke learns how her ties to Henry IV connect her to other French royals, including Louis XIV and others, and gets a glimpse of what they looked like in real life and a better understanding of how connected she really is.



Brooke learned more about her family history than she could have ever hoped on tonight’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? And the key to her rapid success on her royal lines was connecting to the work of other researchers.

This is why online family trees can be so valuable: they allow you to benefit from research performed by others. But, when you’re working with an online family tree, use it for guidance, not for fact. Always check the sources, prove connections, and keep your eyes open to any additional and new resources that the original researcher might have missed. You could discover your own family tree branches off in a completely different direction.

If you missed Brooke Shields episode or want to see bonus scenes that didn’t make it to air, be sure to visit www.nbc.com/who-do-you-think-you-are/video, where, starting Saturday morning, you can catch both. And next week, watch for an encore presentation of Sarah Jessica Parker’s search through American records to find her connections to both the California Gold Rush and the Salem Witch Trials.

About Heather Erickson
Heather Erickson is Head of Global Communications for Ancestry.com and has been with the company since 2009.

43 comments

Comments
1 TomApril 2, 2010 at 11:25 pm

I could swear I heard on tonights episode that Brooke Shields and Louix XIV were first cousins. How could that be? 1st cousins share common grandparents. How can Brooke Shields and the Sun King share a Grandparent?

2 Richard Carruthers-ZurowskiApril 3, 2010 at 12:17 am

Yes, Brooke is Louis XIV’s 1st cousin. The bit you missed from the show’s dialogue was the fact that she is his first cousin “many generations removed”.

This was said by Burke’s Peerage’s editor and “royal genealogist”, Charles Mosley, who accompanied Brooke to the Louvre, St Denis, etc. It may have been hard to hear, particularly by people unused to Mosley’s type of upper class British accent (“plummy” according to some, or “marbles in the mouth” according to others).

The basic concept involved is that Henri IV’s daughter Marie-Christine de Bourbon, Madame Royale de France (at the top of the scroll pedigree prepared for Brooke by Gary Boyd Roberts), married into the House of Savoy and had children, one of whom, also Brooke’s ancestor, was a first cousin of Madame Royale’s nephew, Louis XIV (a son of her brother Louis XIII). This part bears out the concept that these two first cousins shared a set of grandparents, Henri IV and Marie de Medicis (Maria dei Medici in Italian).

To get Brooke’s genealogical relationship to Louis XIV, then all you have to do is add the number of generations from Brooke’s Savoyard ancestor to Brooke, and you get the number of generations she is a first cousin removed from the Sun King.

The same principle works for all of us and relationship we have to the children, grandchildren great-grandchildren (ad infinitum) of our own first cousins.

I hope this helps.

Richard:)

My friend Leo van de Pas’s website, http://www.genealogics.com shows this very nicely. You might want to look it up there. You can also see other aspects of Brooke’s genealogy (which has been known for years) on this website.

3 Verna McDowellApril 3, 2010 at 6:42 am

I enjoyed the show, but I would like to have heard why Brooke’s father’s family left Italy. That was never said.With that type of ancestry, I was surprised someone left to come to America.

4 Michel BrysonApril 3, 2010 at 7:13 am

Whether a celebrity or not, we all have the same ‘aha’ moments tracing our history. That’s what I love most about the program.

I was surprised to see that there are similarities between my family history and Brooke’s.

My paternal grandmother lost her father, mother, brother and sister separately, all within a two-year span. She was completely alone at the age of 10.

I also majored in French in college, and have always felt a connection to the language and history. My father’s line goes back to France, but rather than becoming Italian royalty, my ancestors helped build the city of Montréal and were integral to the history of Canada.

And, if the other member family trees I’ve found on Ancestry are accurate, I may also be a descendant of French royalty. But I need to do more work to verify my connection to Charlemagne.

5 SierraApril 3, 2010 at 7:54 am

I didn’t like this episode at- I felt as though Brooke did not do any of the work herself. She simply showed up places where people presented her with information. Secondly, I don’t understand why she was so interested in her royal roots as opposed to finding out about people she could have possible met in her lifetime. Why skip all the way back to 1754?

The Emmitt Smith episode was the best by far because he did the most physical research.

6 FredApril 3, 2010 at 8:10 am

This stuck me as clearly a ratings episode and the weakest so far. That Brook didn’t know she was descended from the kings of Sardinia (and thence to Henry IV) when it been published info for 10 years or so is hard to believe. The origin of the Torlonias has also been published scholorship.

I enjoyed the Newark part of the show and would have like to know a little more about the origins of her mother’s family. Also did she know the New England ancestry of her great grandmother Mary Elsie Moore who married Don Marino Torlonia 4° Principe di Civitella-Cesi and what about the Shields side of the family.

7 John BarthelApril 3, 2010 at 8:24 am

When Brooke spoke of her father’s family and stood outside the original, “300 year old” stone home in France, she spoke of it as such humble origin. My thinking would be a STONE home of that age still standing would have been a higher class house than say a wooden little place. I suspect it was nicer and says more than she seems to think.

Wish I could find out the name of the main theme song to the show that they play a snippet of after each commercial. Anyone know anything about it?

8 TomApril 3, 2010 at 8:50 am

Thank you Richard. I do recall Charles Mosley laying out the pedigree scroll but lost track between that segment and Mosley and Shields walking up to the statue of Louis XIV where he pointed out that they were 1st cousins. I am very new to genealogy and had a more specific and restrictive definition of what a 1st cousin relationship was. Thank you for clarifying. Now I am going to go out and identify some of my 1st cousins in the Plymouth Colony.

9 JoAnnApril 3, 2010 at 10:26 am

I’m not a big fan of Brooke Shields, and I think the whole “royalty” slant of this episode was forced. I thought the storyline with her grandmother in Newark was much more interesting — not just the who but the why. I’ve been searching for family members in NJ, so the links to the archives and the search services will be very helpful to me.

10 ValerieApril 3, 2010 at 11:46 am

I thought this episode was rather unbalanced. Brooke’s maternal line was researched for her more recent generations and then dropped. Her paternal line skipped all the way back to the 1700s and Brooke wanted still wanted to go further back.

Why the inconsistency between families? I they wanted to “skip to the good stuff.” Overall, I found this the least interesting off all of the episodes so far.

11 JackieApril 3, 2010 at 1:20 pm

This show and last week’s episode were not telecast in St. Louis, MO on Friday night. My local station is showing it at 12:30 am on Monday. Try finding that listing in a tv guide! I protest!
I saw the first three at the regular time slot and really enjoyed them—wishing I had the resources and experts to help me find so many generations.

12 KarenApril 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Have watched several of these episodes. Some have been interesting. Shields episode was very slanted toward the “royalty” in her background. The problem I have with all of them is that these celebrities are just handed their information. They don’t have to WORK for it like us ordinary people. They are granted access to places we would never get into. When Shields “touched” the heart”, I was disgusted. I have researched all my family lines back a dozen generations. It takes countless hours, money, and enduring many frustrations to get this kind of info. While this series may get some people interested in genealogy, it is misleading in that information is not always that easy to come by. Even Ancestry.com charges a hefty price for access to their info — one many people cannot afford today. Why are you doing this for celebrities who have money to do it for themselves? Why not do it for ordinary people who do not have the means or the clout to get what they need.

13 VirginiaApril 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm

This was by far the most over-acted episode. Hope Ms. Shields did not get paid for this. NBC, you need to screen your stars a bit more…just having lines back to royalty should NOT be a determining factor in your selection. Sorry, but this one was a bomb…do not bother repeating it…

14 Bonnie LongApril 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I, too, wondered about Louis XIV being Brook’s first cousin, and YES, I did hear & understand the ‘many generations removed’ remark, and still do not understand how they could be ‘first cousins’. When I was young I fully grasped the first cousin, one generation removed, etc. etc. but the whole concept has become ‘fuzzier’ & ‘fuzzier’ as I’ve aged!

15 rose loydApril 3, 2010 at 5:25 pm

i resent the entire program of “who do you think you are”. I don’t care who brook shields is or her roots. what i do know is that she is rich and famous and can afford to have her genealogy researched by professionals, if she so desired. i have belonged to ancestry.com for years and pay through “the nose” may i say, for the entire program offered. I nor my families were neither rich, famous, nor royalty lines. we were and are the common folk. i am suggesting that all common folk write to “who do you think you are” and ask that they take a common person, with a common name, such as YOUNG..and research that family..as a matter of fact start with me…and mine…JOHN O. YOUNG, born 1802 in franklin county, tn…just a good ole boy..agree with me or not..but i know i feel..John needs to be found…rabl

16 NancyApril 3, 2010 at 5:44 pm

I was very interested in the Newark research as my ancestors were among the original settlers. I would have liked it if Brooke had delved deeper into that family. Were her maternal ancestors old family Newark or mid-1800 immigrants? I am more interested in American research.

Can’t understand why people complain about the celebrities getting the info so easily. It is just an hour show and they only learn about one or two family lines. I am just hoping the show will spur some of my missing “cousins” to do a little research and find ME! Maybe that can do a recap with the same celebrities in a year or two and see if they traced other branches of the family by themselves.

17 James W CummingsApril 3, 2010 at 5:44 pm

I thought Brooke Shields seemed the most interested in the orgins of the Torlonia family in France though the person who took her to the stone house informed her that Antoine Torlonais was a peasant, an idea I find doubtful. I think a merchant or member of the lower nobilty is far likelier especially as Marin was the trusted servant of an abbot.., plus there was Giovanni`s whole rise to such a position as he gained in Italy… papal banker. Peasants in the eighteenth century almost certainly didn`t rise so far.
I`m sure she would have found the Dollinger family of New Jersey as interesting but they left almost no records and the father of Ida Dollinger`s children appears to have been unknown. NBC and Ancestry.com over-hyped the royal ancestry angle as Louis Victor de Savoy- Carignon whose 2nd Great granddaughter Leopoldina Doria- Landi who married Brooke`s ancestor Don Guido de Torlonia was also the 2nd Great grandfather of Victor Emmanuel II, King of Italy.

18 Catherine McGApril 3, 2010 at 6:57 pm

I know this is off topic, but . . . I’m still looking for the states census—as promised. I’ve been waiting for a few years. There are a lot more records in the USA. All I see are German records being offered. It goes on and on. Some people may be interested in that BUT—-Please, throw us a bone!

19 L. DaltonApril 3, 2010 at 8:26 pm

There are so many realistic comments pertaining to this show, which I can relate to. I do understand an effort to diversify the people the show investigates. Brook Shields has never seemed to come across to me as a ‘humbling and down to earth person’. I may very well be wrong, but I too got the sense of being ‘grandure’ in her attitude.

I myself have been researching my father’s family of ‘Dalton’. Recently I received a good deal of information. Excited, I read and read only to find out I was a the point of where I started. I first began my search with an effort to go through Ancestory.com. Now, having but a fixed income and unable to pay the fees required, it was a dead end. I have found a site that isn’t as extensive as they are, but I was told when I ask about fees, it is information that belongs to everyone. I have been with them since then.

Your show, does give a boost to those who have fallen into the lax state of researching. Anyone who does reseach like this has to take a break from it sometimes. So thank you for awakening my interests again.

I do feel that your show could concentrate on some of the aspects of research, with specifics for those out here who do our own research. We don’t have you to do it for us.

20 James W CummingsApril 3, 2010 at 9:55 pm

I grew up with knowledge of my parents, grandparents and Great grandparents as well as several cousins , aunts and uncles in no small part due to the observance of Memorial Day a couple sets of 2nd Great grandparents was also an early memory but then a number of them lived in the town I do now and by my teens I had found information to a couple of 4th Great grandparents in adjacent towns. there were also family stories and by my twenties I had some lines back to the seventeenth century. Rose Loyd may think she has no royal or other than just ” plain folk” lines and she may not as royal and prominent relatives are in fact very much an ordinary occurance. my ancestors were farmers and sea captains and I do connect to the Mayflower passengers, Salem witches, a variety of politicians and business leaders and yes the Kings of several lands down to certainly Edward III of England and maybe even James IV of Scotland. I would like but doubt I see a regular series on genealogy with perhaps ten minutes devoted to a celebrity discovering one of their ancestors, twenty to spotlighting an avenue of research and a ten minute segment with a non-celebrity making a genealogical discovery. Maybe a web cast, hm?

21 Ron RitchieApril 4, 2010 at 9:18 am

I thought researching her mother’s side would have been much more interesting. Jumping back so far, to show her very distant relations on her father’s side of the family was a bit too much for me. I thought this was the weakest of all the programs so far. The pros did all the work, and Brooke just showed up for the results.

22 Lois CassonApril 4, 2010 at 9:54 am

I don’t understand why I should be impressed by the histories of “celebrities” who’s histories were researched by professionals. Why not highlight the work of us commoners. I don’t believe what is being shown is going to really encourage long term research by “newbies” who aren’t interesting in finding info that isn’t already on the “Internet.” Why are we further glorify celebrities?

23 James W CummingsApril 4, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Lois Casson is quite correct to point out that we shouldn`t be that impressed by the histories of celebrities but chances are good that each of us have a marginal connection to some of them and if utilizing their “celebrated ” status gains ratings for something you might actually want, why not ?

24 MichaelApril 4, 2010 at 2:58 pm

To the complainers, who fervently wish for ordinary people on this show. I really enjoy the show. Why do I want to watch an hour show devoted to an ordinary person? It sounds boring as heck. Boredom that will cause folks to poke their own eyes with a fork. Can you imagine an entire 60 minutes of Jane, the Walmart clerk? Also, there are complaints that the celebrities should do their own genealogical research. You want us to watch Brooke Shields sit in a library for 60 minutes? This is a terrible inane idea. Stop the complaining.

Plus, don’t ordinary people and celebrities share common ancestors? We all come from the same American roots. So what difference does it make? At least the celebrities know how to create a dramatic moment and make entertaining television. It is pure genius, that these television producers have made a show about searching through census records interesting.

If you want to watch the ordinary man, please go help your gas station clerk or your neighbor with their ancestry. Get off your duff. Get this ordinariness out of your system and go help others. This is TV; the rest of us want to be entertained!

Or go watch a different TV show entirely. You can watch the Generations Project for example: http://byutv.org/thegenerationsproject/

25 RobApril 4, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I didn’t understand how Brooke was related to the daughter of Henry IV. Yes, I know she had a chart that says so but they never gave us all the generations in between. This episode jumped around too much. It is a shame she had no further interest in her mother’s family that actually requires original research rather than royal connections that can be looked up in a few minutes online.

26 Roberta LaForceApril 4, 2010 at 7:49 pm

I LOVE THIS PROGRAM! I AM SICK THAT IT WILL BE OFF THE AIR FOR THREE WEEKS. MY GRANDFATHER TOLD ME THAT WE COE FROM ROYALTY. HE SAID THAT THERE WERE 8 BROTHERS WHO CAME FROM LAFORCE FRANCE AND THEY EITHER WENT TO CANADA OR VIRGINIA AND SOME TO BOONE COUNTY, KY.
THIS INFORMATION WAS PROVIDED TO ME BY PATRICIA. SHE IS A LOVELY LADY
AND WAS KIND ENOUGH TO SHARE HER INFORMATION.

WHEN I LOOK AT BROOKE SHIELDS I AM NOT AT ALL SURPRISED THAT SHE HAS ROYAL BLOOD, JUST BY THE REGAL WAY SHE CARRIES HERSELF. EVEN MORE SO AS SHE BECOMES OLDER. THE REALITY OF THE TIME IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN TO GO INTO ALL GENERATIONS WOULD HAVE BECOME A MINI SERIES.
I FIND THIS SHOW INFORMATIVE AND INTERESTING WHETHER YOU COME FROM ROYALTY OR NOT.

27 James W CummingsApril 4, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Dear Rob,
King Henry IV of France had a daughter Christina who married Victor Amadeus I ,Duke of Savoy , their son Charles Emmamuel II, by Mary Joan of Savoy-Nemours was the father of Victor Amadeus II, King of Sardinia by a mistress Jeanne Batiste de Luynes he fathered several children including Maria Victoria Francesca of Savoy, Marchesa of Susa who married her father`s 2nd cousin Victor Amadeus I of Savoy- Carignon and became mother of Louis Victor of Savoy- Carignon. I think we`ve covered the rest.

28 Brad BennettApril 4, 2010 at 8:26 pm

My comment relates to the “Who Do You Think You Are” show in general. It is entertaining and I can see that involving celebrities helps to sell the show, but it seems like Ancestry.com would better serve its public and help to sell its product by showing how ordinary people have used ancestry.com (and possibly other sources) to discover their lineage. The actors that are featured on the show have enough wealth to be able to hire expensive experts and do unlimited travel to find their roots, while ordinary people must use the internet and their own limited leg work to trace their ancestors.

I am a six or seven year user of ancestry.com and, like many others have uncovered most of my ancestors back at least six generations and many much further than that. Beginning with these six generations, mostly Ohio farmers born within 40 miles of the town in which I was born, I discovered on ancestry.com that I am a direct descendant of John Alden, a well-known Mayflower passenger. I have proven this lineage to the Mayflower Society’s stringent requirements. I began with only knowledge of my grandparents and a bible that hinted at the names of great-grandparents. The remainder was done with ancestry.com.

The one man, Edward Byram, who links my Ohio farmer family to Plymouth Massachusetts and the Mayflower has an epic life history that brings true meaning to the statement that: if he had not survived his many trials, I would not be here. He was taken as a child from Massachusetts to NJ, migrated to the wilds of PA as a young adult, captured by Indians with his daughter (on behalf of the British) during the Revolutionary War, held in prisons in Niagara Falls and Quebec, released in exchange for enemy prisoners after 3 years (walking home via NY and NJ, migrated on a raft down the Ohio River to KY where he knew Daniel Boone, and finally migrated to Ohio. This is but one of the many exciting discoveries I have uncovered, making the history of my country become a very personal and meaningful experience. The viewer of the show needs to know that exciting things can happen without paying huge sums of money to expensive experts.

29 KathyApril 4, 2010 at 11:52 pm

I really enjoy the show. I wish there were not so many commercials however. The Brooke Shields segment was very interesting, but I too thought that Brooke was too enthralled by her royal ancestry. I would have liked her to be just as appreciative of her mother’s side of the family. But that seems to be the norm today. So many want to believe they came from something ‘better’.

I am so proud of my ancestry, even though the last four or more generations were just humble european immigrants looking for a better life here in America. I am so thankful to them for their sacrifices – leaving their homeland and families there, to give themselves and their future posterity a better life.

Most of us, if we go back further to the 1400s will find royalty somewhere. I will continue to watch the program because I live and love this kind of research of family origins. I am thrilled that others are beginning to get involved in their own genealogy and that modern technology is making it easier each and every day.

Our website features early mormon pioneers who immigrated to central Utah: http://mtpleasantpioneer.blogspot.com/

30 PatFApril 5, 2010 at 6:18 am

#24 Michael — Thank you for the link! Most of the legwork is still done by professional researchers for the “star,” but BYU’s angle — “How do you think that learning about the life (or lives) of your ancestor(s) could help you with your own life and challenges?” — provides a reason for the researchers to do the work while the program “star” continues his/her workaday life. It certainly made me think about why i’m chasing these dead folk, and whether i’m taking any of their lessons to heart. Is there any way to get to past programs in the series? Thanks!

31 Pam CooperApril 5, 2010 at 10:12 am

The show implied that they you can get birth records at the NJ State Archives after 1910. I checked the web site several times and that does not seem to be the case. So, where were they when they were getting the birth records for her grandmother’s siblings from 1910-1920? It looked like a great place to be. Just pull a drawer open and find the record. I need one for 1917 for a 90 year old lady who cannot prove she was born in the U.S. They won’t give her a passport. And, unfortunately, the census became a very big problem, so please do not suggest that. Thanks for any help.

32 KarenApril 5, 2010 at 1:38 pm

FOR MICHAEL

That’s the point… Michael. This show is all about entertainment and entertainers and for people who want to be entertained. It is not about the reality of true genealogical research which takes lots of time, effort, and money. You won’t find what Shields found using only Ancestry.com. The implications that one can are simply not true.

33 LTApril 6, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I had heard of the Brooke Shields/Louis XIV for years so was baffled by it coming up here and her being surprised.

I, too, am appalled at the way history is being handled – physically! Climbing up on something to touch the container of a royal heart is tacky and could have resulted in a catastrophe. Also, I’ve seen them handling documents that, in my opinion, should have only been handled with cotton gloves.

As for researching the average Joe – probably not a huge lure for the masses. Supposedly I have royalty in my family (Swedish kings, etc.) AND I am 1st cousins with Obama (11th generation), but really, who but me and mine would be interested in that! I just wish tracing ancestry was as easy as portrayed in the show. I haven’t found Ancestry.com to be a fount of information, merely a resource to contacts. Much of my info is easily found on free sites! This show could do much more to help the average researcher THROUGH the celebrities.

34 CherieApril 6, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I love the show and find it very interesting. I see no problem with Brooke Shields wanting to find out more about the royal side of her family. If i found royalty in my family I would want to check it out too.

35 BobNYApril 7, 2010 at 8:06 am

It is really immaterial whether the series is boring or exciting, factual or fanciful. ACOM’s purchase of integration opportunities in the show has achieved the desired objective . . .

April 7 – Morgan Stanley has a Overweight rating and increased it’s price target from $18 to $23 . Citing recent trends from the Ancestry-sponsored ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ TV show, believe the business is poised to grow revenue in the mid-double digits for three years while expanding margins.
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36 SteveApril 7, 2010 at 1:53 pm

My wife and daughter watch every episode and were thrilled to hear that the series was picked up for another season! Brooke’s episode was very interesting to us, essentially since my wife has Italian roots.

I was most interested in Sarah Jessica Parker’s episode as my great-great grandfather was also a 49er and was in the same 1850 Federal Census in El Dorado/Placerville that her relative was listed in. We’re anxious to see Friday’s episode.

Thanks for bringing the show to newby genealogists, like ourselves!

37 BethApril 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm

As far as the “Who do you think you are” show, I have mixed emotions. I watch it and usually end up upset. These celebrities fly wherever they need to go and meet with professional genealogists that for the most part have already done the search and digging for information. They have no idea how hard the search or the skills it takes to find this information. I’ve been working for 30+ years to find my Great Great Grandfather’s parents but can’t afford or have the time to travel back east where the records may or maynot be. But within a months’ time these celebrities have found their families back to the very beginnings. I don’t mean to sound bitter, just frustrated that this show is giving the wrong impression to many people who have never started their family history. That it can be as easy as a click and a leaf is not an honest representation of the work.

38 George WolfApril 10, 2010 at 7:55 am

I agree with Beth. Easy for them, no work and plenty of money.
Also I want to say whats up with the REPEAT!!!!!
Where are the other two? I was really upset over that. Who wants to watch it again????

39 LindaApril 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I have enjoyed every episode. The producers have made an admirable effort to touch on a wide variety of records, historical events, and populations…..making the very distinct point that history is all of us. Great to hear the show will have a second season. Watch on hulu to avoid the commercials!

40 Tom HApril 12, 2010 at 5:28 pm

I have posted this on a couple of other episodes but, one more time:

The sponsor of this show is ancestry DOT com.

The purpose of this show is to attract viewers and hopefully new customers.

The method of this attraction is to feature celebrities.

The intent of this show is to demonstrate to potential new customers and new amateur genealogists what CAN be found.

I ask you, how many potential new customers would be attracted if the show was “Watch Johnnie O’Leary discover his 3rd gr-grandmother, an illiterate immigrant who came from somewhere in Ireland”.

This show is NOT a how-to documentary on genealogy.
All of you complainers already know what is involved.

This show is NOT to pat you on the back for you hours and years of diligent work.

I have not seen any episodes that ‘make it look easy’. Nothing easy about traveling around and digging through records.

Are you unhappy with your ancestry subscription rate?
What if they got a lot more customers and could then lower the rate?
What if they got a lot more customers and could add many more resources?

I wonder if some of you complain just because you can.

41 Brian ScheickApril 13, 2010 at 8:00 am

I watch these episodes over the internet, and while they are mildly interesting, two things always bother me. First, after ~2-3 minutes of the show, they give me a 30 second summary then a commercial, followed by anothe summary. It’s 3x longer than needed. Second was that just about each one gushes with how they’ve been interested in their family history for years. Right! Emmit Smith didn’t even know his own cousin had a web site. I agree it was one of the most interesting to watch, mainly the part when he walked into the general store of a relative, but I think it was all staged. As others have said, these all can afford to do their own research and us regular folks can’t get a university professor to fly to them for a history lesson. I’d love it if they picked a regular person from ancestry.com and did a professional job on them!

42 Brian ScheickApril 13, 2010 at 8:15 am

I want to add that I knew going in that the producers picked celebrates because that would be more interesting to most people. Only real genealogy or history buffs would want to read mine family tree. I also realized it was in part designed to build intereste in genealogy, which has been growing for years, and to highlight the web page for more subscribers. I just wish they were a bit less fake about it. “OMG, I’ve ALWAYS wanted so much to know more about my family”, “Did you ask your own father?”, “Um, no”.
I do know that they had to know ahead of time what was happening, and it’s a show not a documentary. Just makes me laugh though.

43 SueApril 13, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Enjoyed the programs very much. Picked up a few things on searching. Was diasppointed in seeing a repeat program on April 9. Looking forward to some new programs.

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