Comments on: The Ripple Effect on Who Do You Think You Are? The official blog of Thu, 18 Sep 2014 16:51:21 +0000 hourly 1 By: Pat Hoff Pat Hoff Sat, 26 May 2012 20:52:08 +0000 I was very interested in the Sudeikis family because my great grand father was supposidly the father to 27 children and had 3 wives. I have only found one wife (my great grandmother) but have never found him with anyone else or any other children. With so little to go on and only family folklore, I found that Jason was able to find all sorts of things with even less information. Then, I read all the other comments and I wonder – is there really a way to find out what happened when all the people involved are all dead?! Even all his grand children are all now dead. Any suggestions?

By: Jayna Jayna Tue, 22 May 2012 21:53:18 +0000 I was looking for a way to contact the WDYTYA producers or the Sudeikis family themselves, for the same reasons mentioned above by Peter and Sol, among others. I am so saddened to think that the
Sudeikis family in both Kansas and Connecticut might be laboring under the false beliefs that were put forth on this episode as being fact. We can only hope that they do the responsible thing and contact the family to inform them of the errors.

I think if anyone had encouraged Jason to look deeper into the records available in Chicago, he would have saved himself a disappointing and error-filled trip to Connecticut. Once he got to CT, the genealogists assumed he had correct information, and allowed him to pursue the wrong line. I was aghast at how easily things went wrong in Jason’s research, and sorry to see that nobody tried to set things right before the show was aired. I don’t know if it was intentional (to get an emotional reaction from Jason and/or the audience), or if it was simply shoddy research, but either case is reprehensible. If is to be taken seriously as a reliable research tool, then they need to be a little more careful about the product they present to the public, in whatever form it may be presented.

I personally enjoy WDYTYA, and will be sorry to see it discontinued. I think it has helped demystify genealogical research for many people, allowing them to see that they can find information about their own lineage, and that it’s a rewarding and exciting endeavor. I hope the show will revisit this particular episode and correct the grievous errors that occurred in it.

By: Peter Bush Peter Bush Sun, 20 May 2012 00:07:18 +0000 To Christy and others upset with the Jason Sudeikis episode — if you haven’t already seen it, look at Jim Owston’s blog, The Lineal Arboretum, at He challenges the bigamy and abandonment hypothesis in a very thorough and persuasive manner. Makes sure to read the comments as well.

By: Christy Kestler Christy Kestler Sat, 19 May 2012 18:06:34 +0000 Peter Bush’s post on May 16 is spot on. I found the same records because there was something not quite right about the show’s “professional genealogist” skipping the 1930 census and other records that are EASILY available at and Shame on, NBC, and any other person who participated in creating a fictional family connection and acusing an innocent man of abandoning his family. If we lay people can view the records at and and find the truth in a matter of minutes, surely the “professional genealogists” did. Was there no effort to research the naturalization records of these people? Those are usually rich with information…For the offenses of this episode, if no other, the folks producing the show should be ashamed. Maybe cancelling the show was due to such abuses?…Surely Jason Daniel Sudeikis and his family were told the TRUTH!!! How sad if they weren’t, and how shameful if they were, but participated in the lie that has probably hurt the Sudeikis family of Connecticutt. Tsk! Tsk!

By: Andrea Andrea Sat, 19 May 2012 00:11:34 +0000 When I watched Jason Sudeikis learn of his family story, it really stuck with me. His journey is quite similar to my own. The circumstancesof his grandparents separation was almost identical to the circumstances of my divorce. Down to the detail of his grandfather never meeting his father. His great-grandfather abandoned his family and started another. My grandfather did the same thing. His great-great grandfather was an immigrant who worked in a mine and died in an accident while working the mine. My 3rd great grandfather was also an immigrant who came to america and became a fireman and died in an accident while fighting a fire. We also had family that came from the same neighborhoods. Even one of his uncles lived a block away from me at one time. His story really got to me.

By: BEE BEE Fri, 18 May 2012 00:41:14 +0000 I agree – while I have enjoyed every single episode of “Who Do You Think You Are”, I’ve sometimes questioned certain conclusions, although I would think that there was a more thorough search that just wasn’t shown.
I can speak from a great deal of experience – no matter how unusual a person’s name, there is someone else with the very same name, and similar history.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a family that can trace it’s family back to the earliest arrivals, or recent immigrants. More than once, I’ve found two different families with many of the children having the same names.
I know of at least three men from my grandfather’s village with the same name, all born about the same time, all emigrated within a year or two of each other, and all living for a while in the same state. They were all related – somehow.

By: Peter Bush Peter Bush Wed, 16 May 2012 20:53:28 +0000 Let me add my voice to the chorus of commenters decrying the shoddy research and analysis for the Jason Sudeikis episode of WDYTYA.

More than half of that episode revolves around two hypotheses: 1) that Jason’s great-grandfather, Stanley Sudeikis Sr., abandoned his wife and son in Chicago and married another woman in Bridgeport, Connecticut without obtaining a divorce from his first wife, in the process lying about his marital status on the Connecticut marriage license application, and 2) that Jason’s great-great grandfather was Joseph Sudeikis, a miner in Schuykill County, Pennsylvania, who was killed in a 1901 mine accident involving a gas explosion. Much of the emotional impact of the episode hinges on Jason’s reaction to learning about these incidents and his reflection on how they may have affected subsequent generations of his family.

Trouble is, these hypotheses may be false. At the very least, they were not convincingly proved by the evidence presented in the show.

To be fair, the experts and researchers interviewed in the show qualified their responses and comments, as you would expect professional historians and genealogists to do. However, the writers and producers of the show, and Jason himself, showed no similar restraint and seemed to accept without question the truth of the two hypotheses outlined above.

As other commenters have noted, the abandonment hypothesis is largely discredited by two important records that were curiously not mentioned in the show even though they are readily available on 1) the birth record of Michalina Sudeikis, daughter of Stanley Sudeikis and Michalina Bielska, born on 20 January 1921 in Chicago, and 2) the 1930 census record showing Stanley Sudeikis living in Chicago with his wife Michalina and son Stanley Jr.

In addition, I question why other documents that would shed light on the abandonment hypothesis were not produced and discussed, including Stanley Sudeikis’ death record and burial record (according to, his wife Michalina aka Emma was buried in St. Casimir Cemetery in Chicago, with her sister and her family, but there is no listing in Findagrave for Stanley). Chicago city directories for the period after Stanley is alleged to have married a second wife in Connecticut would also be instructive. These records are not available online but surely could have been found with the budget and phalanx of researchers available to ProGenealogists, the self-described “official researchers” for, who conduct the research for WDYTYA.

What makes the whole thing disturbing to me, in addition to the questionable quality of research and analysis, is the severity of the allegations against Stanley Sudeikis Sr. After all, abandonment, bigamy and perjury are crimes. Responsible genealogists would not make public allegations of this nature against persons, living or dead, without solid evidence to back them up.

As for the second hypothesis – that Stanley Sudeikis Sr. of Chicago was the son of Joseph Sudeikis, the Pennsylvania miner – the evidence and analysis presented were equally weak. It’s true that Stanley’s marriage record in Chicago identified him as the son of Joseph Sudeikis and Maryanna Gecaite. It’s also true that Joseph and Mary Sudeikis living in Schuykill County, Pennsylvania in 1900 probably had a son Stanislaw, as evidenced by the 1900 ship passenger list displayed on the show. But here’s the critical, unanswered question: how do we know that Stanislaw son of Joseph and Mary living in Pennsylvania was the same person as Stanley who later married and lived in Chicago? The sad thing is that there are numerous records that might have proved that link, such as the death record of Mary Sudeikis and the marriage records of their other children, any of which might have mentioned Mary’s maiden name. That would have been the clincher. Surely these records could and should have been located and discussed on the show.

My conclusion: the Jason Sudeikis episode was good entertainment, bad genealogy.

By: Martha Kelley Martha Kelley Wed, 16 May 2012 18:44:15 +0000 Why has Who Do You Think You Are? not been renewed?
Most all the comments I have read on the Blogs,
are very positive. I love the show and feel that the family history is well researched and ideas are given on the research techniques. I have learned many new places to research my family names.
It is interesting to see celebritie’s family searched out. I also feel that the everyday researcher could be featured in these episodes, especially those with a good story to tell, like me!
Please let me know why the show was cancelled, when it obviously was very successful.
Thank You, Martha Kelley

By: Annmarie Annmarie Tue, 15 May 2012 19:28:10 +0000 Oh, my step father’s cousin is Jason Alexander… does being related to an actor by marriage qualify me? LOL! (Jason played on SEINFIELD … George!) My Step father and my step brother.. OMG! They all look alike… he is related through my step father’s mother’s family (she was a survivor of the Halocaust. She only told me a small bit, but would not talk about it… and she only told me when I came back from a Med Cruise and I brought her a bible back from Israel… I never knew!)

By: Mary Beth Marchant Mary Beth Marchant Tue, 15 May 2012 19:27:29 +0000 Might as well quit the hype since this show was not renewed. As for myself, I watched the first couple of shows and then quit. I’m not interested in all the so-called celebrities. We “common po folks” can’t afford to fly all over the country and have experts find documents that we did not have to look for at all. Maybe if some common folks were highlighted once in a while, the show would have been renewed. At least, now Ancestry can go back to adding new content instead of trumpeting a show that not many people watched.

Or maybe you could have some of us common folks let you know what we are looking for and maybe your experts could find it for us for free?? No, I suppose not.