Posted by Jeanie Croasmun on February 3, 2011 in Website, Who Do You Think You Are?

Mark your calendar, pop your corn, grab a notebook and keep a box of tissues handy — Who Do You Think You Are? returns for its second season this Friday, February 4 on NBC (8/7c). And we couldn’t be more excited.

This season, eight of your favorite stars trace their family roots through the centuries. They’ll solve family mysteries, make discoveries, connect with family lines they’ve never known before. One finds a family of trailblazers who stood firm against social opposition to gain freedom for all; another uncovers his own family’s rags-to-riches real estate tale with ties to America’s founding fathers. And the list of discoveries goes on and on. is a sponsor of the show — be sure to watch a preview to learn more about what’s in store at

Plus, to sweeten the deal, is offering you a chance to win your own family history dream prize in The Ultimate Family History Journey Sweepstakes. Grand prize includes $20,000 in travel expenses plus assistance from researchers, World Deluxe subscriptions for you and up to five of your relatives and more.

You’ll find all of the details on the sweepstakes at Bookmark the page: you can enter daily through April 8, 2011. And remember to follow us on Facebook, where you can connect with other family history researchers, talk about the show, share your own stories and get all sorts of other updates from

Jeanie Croasmun

Jeanie Croasmun has been working at while futilely attempting to prove the horse thief story in her family history for over seven years. During that time, she learned enough about her family to determine that the story is likely a great work of fiction. But the search continues ...


  1. I have really enjoyed watching the show since the first episode. It makes me wish that I was able to find out more about my family, but i do not have the resources at my grasp as these celebrities do. Finding out where I come from is very important to me, and feel that if I could it would help me find out who I am…and where I come from. I have been searching for years but never can find out much at all… but can’t wait till the 4th.

  2. Sally Staley

    Like the number 1 comment. I don’t care to go to my ancestory home. I would love the 8 hours of free work..I have been to SLC several times and been doing this since Roots. My husband is LDS but I am not so my line is a mixture of farmers in Texas, Oklhoma, and California and Switzerland. I am at a brick wall and have been for a long time.

    Anyway thanks for putting on the programs as it does expand peoples knowledge of genealogy.


  3. Hope

    I love watching the show. You find out so much. I’ve only been working on my family and my husband’s family for about a year and VERY part-time, but enjoy watching the treasures I may find eventually. It’s really enjoyable watching how the history is told through people’s families.

  4. Shirley Gillespie

    I love the programs. I get excited watching the people learning about their ancestry. I’ve been researching since 1982 and have self-published 2 books about my families. Genealogy is never done. There is always another piece to the puzzle. Just yesterday I found 3 passport records that I did not have. Thank you Ancestry.

  5. I don’t like it and will not be watching. Who is going to pay, search, travel costs for me, I am not a celeb……Celeb’s get this for free, I see where my subscription costs are going tooo…….Where is my free beebies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. geraldine

    Watching celebraties look for family is of no interest to me. Most of us do not have the funds to go to the same lengths of reseach as Ancestry is providing.
    Ancestry is NOT making it clear to those who are just starting to research their family tree, how IMPORTANT it is to “do their own research” before just “clicking” a hint here and “clicking” a hint there. No one wants to end up with family members that don’t belong in their respective trees. Hints many times do NOT tie in.

  7. Rhonda

    A couple of them this year, I had to look and see who they were. Maybe I missed it, but I would like to see them put a survey out to the membership with names and have them vote on who they would like to see on that list.

  8. Winlee

    Hey Jeff, didn’t you know #7 can’t help himself from sticking his nose into everyones business, have a another twinkie 7

  9. Would like to see them research people that are not celebrities or famous. Take a person from Ancestry and help them search. It would mean more to your members. We hear enough about celebrities in the news.
    I would say also that Ancestry has gotten quite expensive and with all the new members they have acquired through “Who Do You Think You Are,” they should reduce membership.

  10. Theresa

    I just have a question. I am new to this. Is there a way to view other people’s family trees or can I only see my own? My uncle has one that may have info I could use but I don’t know where to click to find it

  11. Jade

    Theresa, #16 — if you are a subscriber you can view public member trees (not private trees).

    Or if your uncle invites you to his tree you can view it, whether public or private.

    If you are a subscriber, you could ask your uncle to send you a link to a pertinent page in his tree, then you can bookmark it for future reference. Or you could do a search from your tree (or from the global search page) for “Trees,” starting with someone you know is in both trees.

  12. Stop the pop up.

    What is with the advertising screen covering pop up? I should NOT have to click on a advertisement to get to a site that I pay for… this is not a free site.

    Nor.. do I care when the TV show does or does not come on.

  13. Diedra

    The improvement in the format was well thought out. No repetition allowed much more interesting research and personal interaction. Excellent start for the new season.

  14. Tonights version was with Vanessa Williams. She only concentrated on her “black” side and never mentioned the word “mulatto” that was in the census reports many times. Are we so concerned with black or white that mulattos would rather be considered black than white?

  15. BCarol

    To reply #21 – Well you must have been watching a different show than I was. The word Mulatto was mentioned time after time as were her ancestors who had a “mixed” marriage in the 19th century. Vanessa specifically said that in her own lifetime intermarriage between races was not well-accepted and here they were, marrying in the 19th century.

    And the woman at the library she spoke to specifically told her that anyone who had any resemblance of african american features was classified as a Mulatto. I’ve never heard President Obama referred to as White, have you? In the US, if you have african american features you will be referred to as black.

    You can be VERY sure that under the Jim Crow laws in the south, she would have been referred to as black or ‘colored’ and would not have been allowed to use the water fountains.

    It was the culture that designated the ‘one drop’ rule.

    Mulatto was often the term used by slave holders to describe the children they created by taking sexual advantage of their female slaves. Why would anyone want to embrace that? They were considered black no matter how much white blood they had. Just like Thomas Jefferson’s Sally Heming who was his wife’s half sister. She was whiter than black, percentage wise, but she was still a slave.

    And don’t think it doesn’t exist today. My grandson whose mother is Chinese and his father is Caucasian endures racism in his elementary school and is called ‘banana boy’ because, as they believe, he is yellow on the outside and white on the inside.

  16. Carol gohn

    the show wasn’t bad but not near what you can do.
    you only have american history. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you actually traced the families that have immigrant history? Since almost all of us came from immigrants from other countries, don’t ya think it would be good to put something on this show that reflects it? I think that’s why people are not tuning in. Our country is made up of mostly immigrants. It’s kinda boring.
    carol ann

  17. Helen

    I really, really enjoyed this show. Vanessa seemed more savy than some of the actors have been. Even though she obviously had professionals helping she seemed to have a mind for genealogy. She didn’t overact and there were a lot of positive messages without glossing over the ugly parts. It was an entertaining show and one of my favorites. I understand the frustration that she has access in a way that most of us don’t but I still find it intriguing how much material is really out there to research.
    One area that could be improved, is stop ignoring the white members of a family. Frankly, ancestry probably could have found more on the white ancestor and that may have led her to find more information for both. They probably lived near each other. And what about her courage to be in an interracial marriage in that time period. Maybe she has a whole line of courageous women in her family. If you think about it this is similiar to ignoring that the President has white family members. Time to let things be what they are.
    That is one of the best things about ancestry is that it can change minds. I know German family members who are finding out they have Jewish ancestors. Celebrate who you are and learn from past mistakes.

  18. Elaine

    I may not be a famous person AND no one is going to pay for me to travel so I can explore my family history. But I DON’T CARE!!! I believe that the celebrities on the program don’t do their own research. Yes, they travel to the locations and look at records that someone else has found for them.

    My pleasure comes from finding what I can on my own

  19. Nancy Rogers

    I watched the show last night. By the time it was over I had several questions. The first one was that not one of the people Vanessa was working with encouraged her to organize the materials and to use some type of genealogy software (Family Tree maker, etc) to keep tract of what she had found(actually what the others had found). I speak from experience with this I volunteer at the local genealogy library and this is one of the first things that we do. My second question has to do with the constant jumping around from one family to another, you see that her father’s family was Williams yet she does not explore that, and according to the records he was mulatto. Given the number of people in her family who were listed that way, why was the white side left out completely even if they were slave holders. So overall this is a good tease to start seraching but in my observation only those who stick with it for many years really finally start to break down the brick walls, that is unless they have extensive resources to pay someone else to do it and even then they don’t always find who they are looking for. Please encourage these well know people to do their own reserach.

  20. MaryE

    I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of WDYTYA and am eagerly looking forward to more episodes. Stop being so critical, folks, and realize that they have to edit hours and hours of research down to a presentable 40 minutes or so. I applaud this wonderful beginning.

  21. Please, people, let’s be real. I love this show because it opens the world of genealogy and family history to all. And my hope is that it will entice those not involved in this wonderful obsession to join in. That is what happened to me more than 30 years ago with Roots. It led me to the National Archives. I’m now totally hooked. This is not a how-to-do it manual. You are not going to learn all about it in 60 minutes. It does open the window to the possible ways we might ALL (rich or poor, celebrity or not) investigate our family history. I did exactly what Vanessa Williams did when she went to South Carolina. I found out through free work at the library the history of two ancestors – brothers who served together in the Civil War – and where they served in Georgia with Gen. Sherman. As luck would have it, I had a business trip in Savannah the next spring. I borrowed a car for a day trip to Ft. McAllister. See, in genealogy, you end up using all kinds of resources to make it happen. So every Friday night I am going to relax after a long week of work and tune in this show to see if I can get a new hint, to enjoy the story, to be inspired.

  22. David Brown

    I enjoyed the Vanessa Williams show this week and I agree that it helps focus attention on genealogy, which will ultimately benefit all of us. But on the other hand, the whole message is that genealogy is for rich people. I can’t believe the cost of membership — it’s just beyond all reason. And Vanessa Williams is, after all, another rich person.

  23. Janet L

    I enjoyed the show last season and was glad to see it return. If I were Vanessa, I would have wanted to know more about the interracial marriage in the 1870s. She mentioned the danger to the man, but what about the woman? At that time I doubt it was accepted by either family, much less the general population.

  24. David Re: #29

    I really don’t consider less than $1.00/day to be that expensive in the overall scheme of things. It is less than I pay my ISP, Gas, Electric, or Phone or Water provider.

  25. David Brown

    Andy, if you rank right up there with the essentials for survival, then I guess it’s just a matter priorities. 😉

  26. Frankie

    Sirs, #16, I believe is having trouble navigating in this window. I for sure can’t find a place to ask for data on Lottie Robinson br 1901, Bennette, TX, de 1987 Kaysville, Davis Co TX, who married Dujo Musko Dick
    Balaich, br 5/27/1893 in Yugoslavia, de 12/1/1969 Oak Ccreek, Colorado with par Penic Balaich and Nikola Kata. I believe this Robinson is one of my relatives, so help me settle it. My name is Frankie Robinson br 1936 Charleston Mississippi Co MO, par James Hillen Robinson de 1979, mother Joella Ervin br 1914 de 1989 Randolph Co IL. How about it, can anyone out there not complain, not confuse the situation, and find that Robinson Relative? Thanks Frankie

  27. Chris b

    #29 and to management:

    David, you’re absolutely right. Following celebs as they dig into their roots is somewhat entertaining, but for average folks, websites like this make it too costly. I’d like to visit Scotland to do some of my own research, and I’m sure I will some day, but it will be a secondary goal. folks, I think your business model could be hugely improved by altering your pricing structure to support “casual researchers”; folks like me have plenty of disposable income, but the perceived benefit of your service is far exceeded by your price.

    #31, Andy, the benefit I get from my ISP, electric or gas service is about 1000x greater than the passing amusement/curiosity from Ancestry info.

    Conversely, if Ancestry had a userbase just a fraction the size of Facebook’s free membership, they could benefit from so many people filling in the gaps and voids that exist now.

    ie: would you rather get $155/year from 100,000 members or just $20/year from 10 million members?
    That should be a no-brainer.
    Yes, I know the infrastructure requirements of supporting that many users isn’t free, but it’s easily offset by the difference in revenue.
    sorry, /rant

  28. Chris Re: #35

    I suggest you look at Ancestry’s last Annual Report.

    They already are making 280-300 million/year off 1 million subscribers without having to lay out funds to increase infrastructure to handle 10 million subscribers.

    As to the “casual researchers”… they can always do a month to month subscription and only subscribe a month or so at a time. No need at all for them to have a yearly subscription.

  29. Jacki

    just wondering…I was watching the esp. about Vennsa Williams (sp?)…she had to travel to different states for all her info. Why would you have to travel so far for all that info? Why is info like that SO spread around?? Why cant you get it in just one or two places???

  30. Different records are kept by different jurisdictions in different states- depending on where and what type of original record was recorded.

    There is no overall index of records available- either online or offline.

  31. worshacf

    Jacki #37

    Vanessa Williams didn’t have to go anywhere to research her ancestors. She could have stayed right at her home on her computer and looked everything up the same way we do. But, would you watch a hour long TV show overlooking her shoulder? No, you wouldn’t. It would be super borning and lifeless.

    Also, she was tracing two sides of her family who lived in different areas, therefore in order to show the viewers the archive locations it required travel.

    Everyone commenting in this Blog doesn’t seem to understand that by using a celeberity, and showing different historical towns, or where and how achives are kept there is a variety of visual impact to the show and a cross section of public is served.

    I for one don’t care one bit what movie stars are doing, how or where they live, or who they are related to, nor would I ever look a famous person up on the ancestry search. But I’m only one voice regarding the subject, many other voices might say they are very interested in famous people. That being said, reflect a moment on whether you would enjoy watching the show if the principal person researching his/her ancestors was a average person. Do you think you’d change the channel? I think I would.


  32. Helen

    Yes, I would enjoy watching average people. There have been many popular shows recently focused on “average” people. For many of these shows they became stars after being on the show. And if you want throw in a cameo. Reverse roles. Imagine a show where some average person finds out they are related to someone famous and then gets to meet them. Lets say it was the Emmitt Smith situation, but the cousin does the research and at the end gets to meet Emmitt and maybe even go to an event with him. Personally I don’t need the famous people at all but maybe we can ease them out of of this.
    People will identify with an average person and love to see an average person rewarded in some way. The show is more likely to die out if it comes to be viewed as the show about “has beens”. I am not saying anyone they have had is a has been but that is where they will end up, if they don’t mix this up a bit.

  33. Tom H

    Folks a lot of this we went through last year.

    What is the purpose of the show?
    (New customers will enable Ancestry to add more and more resources for all of us.)

    The finished episode has a time limit. The editors have to choose what elements could be the most interesting TO THE TARGET AUDIENCE.

    If you notice, they consistently stress the basics of working back methodically. We all know that. Beginners may not.

    If you were the editor, would you follow back to the first black state legislator or back to another anonymous farmer?

    The instructional aspect of these shows demonstrate many times to think out of the box and not limit your searches to census records. Those resources may be scattered in many places. TV makes it more interesting to actually go there. But we do have a functioning postal system and telephone system. We can all “go there” with little trouble.

    And again, how many curious budding genealogists will be attracted to a ahow featuring one whole hour digging through census records trying to find John Q. Smith, farmer, that has little significance except to the immediate descendants.

    The show has a target audience, a specific purpose, and an proven method. It simply cannot cater to each and every one of us.

    I think it is great and I encourage Ancestry to keep up the good work.

  34. MsWinston

    Enjoyed the first episode of the new season very much. I am helping a friend search her African-American roots and wish her relatives were as easy to find as Vanessa Williams ancestors! One thing that we all can do though to verify information on recent ancestors (parents and grandparents) is to order the application that they completed to apply for their Social Security Number. This is especially important if the information we have been given is not panning out, as in the case of my friend, as it has the names and place of birth of parents. I am looking forward to the rest of the season, and agree that it would be nice if at least one “ordinary person” could get an episode –but how many people would watch me?

  35. Helen

    Let me try this this. Who would watch a show about really overweight people losing weight. Or a show about some sweet family getting a new house. Would anyone watch a show that had some frumpy older woman who sang at her church sing in front of three judges. Or real wives or people in New Jersey. How about people who are in some tropical place eating bugs.

    Leaving all that aside why would the morning TV shows do a series about some average person’s wedding. Who would watch a show where average people compete for prizes. Or how about people who haul in crabnets. For good or bad, real people are in fashion right now. Obviously there is a huge range in the quality but you cannot eliminate average people because it wouldn’t sell.

  36. David Farr

    I enjoyed watching the show,however it appeared to me that Vanessa Williams was just doing another acting job and didn’t really seem sincere about it.
    After watching I showed my wife my family info that I researced and probably have 500% more than her and did it all on line with no paid researchers.

  37. Jade

    Helen, #43 “Who would watch a show where average people compete for prizes.”

    You evidently were not watching the Tube in the 1950s and 1960s. Queen for a Day. Feather Your Nest. Wheel of Fortune. What was Groucho’s pseudo-quiz show?

  38. Irma Zacher

    I thoroughly enjoyed the Vanessa Williams trip through time, especially because I had ancestors in Memphis/Nashville, TN area aduring time of her family–search and also because my GreatGrandfather and and a couple of his brothers were in the Bucktail Regiment of the Civil War 1861-1863. I also had 5th-Great Grandfather in the Rev. War. Genealogy is exciting and to see Vanessa getting to follow hers so quickly, gives hope to some of slow workers. Thank you for your help and for the great program. Have to go now and buy some more tissue to be ready for Friday show this week.

  39. Bob

    Not to be off topic, but this is the first time in 3 days I’ve been able to join the discussion. Has anyone else had trouble accessing the Blog, or the Trees? I kept thinking that maybe a surge in interest from the show had affected the site, but that doesn’t seem logical to me.

  40. Sharyn Winick

    I’ve been trying to locate records for my great grandfather Jacob Winkler and his father John Winkler. They are from Germany. My g-grandfather Jacob was born in Horcheim Germany in about 1864. He emigrated to the US where he lived and died. I’d like to locate my family members who remained in Germany. I know we have them,my grandmother Jacob’s daughter had correspondence from them in the 1960’s. How do I go about locating these people?

  41. Helen

    Jade, They were rhetorical questions. My point was there are many popular shows about average people. People keep saying the show wouldn’t go over if it didn’t have stars. I disagree.

  42. Carol A. H.

    I think I’d be interested in an “average” person’s genealogy because I’ll bet they have one or two “above average” ancestors and don’t know it…yet. I’m an average person and I found some very interesting folks in my family. Because they were more prominent, I was able to just Google their names. I nearly fell out of my chair when I learned who they were and what they did. Got a few I could brag about, but no one will find me on Google other than being an average person all my life.

    So from TV producers and advertiser’s point of view, they think all we want are celebrities. They are wrong. I don’t watch the celebrities, but I’d watch Mr. or Ms. Average.

  43. gail

    I haven’t watched the show as of yet ( taped it for time wise), I’ve read all the complaints but what people don’t stop and think about is where do u start. When I was new I added all the basic stuff I knew or could remember. Then i did a big no no anyone that ask I let join my site and edit. After time I realized it wasn’t my tree any more and had to start over. Now if I let someone see they can only look. I’ve worked long and hard to find the truth and hopefully one day i’ll get to Germany and Ireland to see family that may be alive to tell me stories about long lost relatives ( just have to get over the fear of flying I guess).

    I guess my whole thing for ancestry to make new people aware that the click the leaf and your answers are solved is not a good idea. It takes lots of long hours and time to find the connections between family and that is what makes the solution all the better. Nothing like finding that lost item to connect things together.
    As for the price I don’t think 20.00 or 30.00 a month is a bad price. It just means more files that Ancestry can get there hands on to help us better to complete or family. I’d just like to see more Newspapers in My area of the world.

    Keep up the great work. I’m here and stuck for life..

  44. David Farr

    #49 Jade I think you missed my point.a person can do a lot without paid professionals doing it for them.Also I didn’t believe Vanessa was sincerly interested in her family’s history rather on the show as an actor for the purpose of the show and that an average person would have had more impact.

  45. James W Cummings

    I am happy that a show like this was appreciated by a large enough viewing audience to be granted a
    second season. I have a few schoolteachers in my direct ancestral lines including one of my great Grandmothers , Ida (Cushman) Cummings, her mother Rachel (Flanders) Cushman and her mother Lucy (Rolerson) Flanders all having taught school prior to their marriages. I believe women had to resign upon being courted , it not being considered seemly to be visited at the school they were teaching at by their beaus … contrary to Little House on the Prarie and other similar televison shows. Likewise several town selectmen, constables, judges in the county courts occur sporatically among my direct line ancestors, even two or three members of the Massachusetts legistature, I think.

  46. Betsy

    I also watched the season of WDYTYA and that is what really motivated me to try this. I have wanted for years to do a family tree, and I am at the step of deciding what subscription plan I want. I have been reading all these blogs, and to tell you the truth its scares me to think that maybe this will be more then I can handle. And I know for sure, like others have stated, unlike the famous that are getting their work done for them….am I going to be able to reach same results using this without leaving the ground? I know I have roots in Austria & I cant go there … 🙂

  47. Barbara

    Re #57 Betsy,

    Don’t be scared to start. You will learn as you go along. I wouldn’t start with the World Subscription, there is so much to learn in the US first.

    How your search proceeds depends on where your ancestors lived, in a city or rural,how long they have been in the US, and how comman their names were. I knew where my parents were in 1930 but it was still exciting to see the census record with them on it.

    Like many other Ancestry users I prefer the “Old Search” to the “New Search”. There is a button on the opening search page to let you chose which one you want.

    The searching process is a lot of fun and often a puzzle. Once you start genealogy you won’t need crosswords or suduko.

    Start with the people and information you know and work backwords. Look at the Ancestry trees to see if anyone else is researching the same people and use the information for clues but DON’T just take the information without researching it. There is a lot of inaccurate information out there.

    As you gather information you can look for other sources like the Rootsweb boards and local historical societies.

    Have fun!

  48. Tom H

    Are you going to start a new blog after each episode or with this one just get longer and longer.
    I have some comments regarding the Tim McGraw episode.

  49. Mary

    Surprising that they don’t have a separate blog. Maybe because its Friday.
    The show with Tim McGraw was a good time. He didn’t overact and obviously sincerely cared about his family history. Just when I thought this was an interesting show that had nothing to do with anything I was interested in, I realized that two brief parts of it were in areas that I have been researching a lot. His family may have had some other very interesting connections.
    My favorite part of the show was the skeptical or worried uncle. Many of us have relatives that are a bit afraid of what the researchers in the family may find. It was nice that Tim could report back some positive findings. It isn’t always that way.

  50. Jeff Record

    Thanks to Tim McGraw and to for sharing a wonderful and truly American family history with the nation, and especially those interested in genealogy. Mr. McGraw’s humility, patriotism, and sense of who he “is” and who “we” are as a nation really came through. Mr. McGraw is to be complimented for his interest and his efforts in the area of genealogy.

    While most all of us do not share his resources, it was very enjoyable to watch his search, and to realize, that while we may not share the resources he does, we can still share the passion that he has for learning about who he is and where he has come from. While I can see that it might be interesting to watch the genealogical pursuits of the average man or woman with perhaps limited means, let’s face it, would as many of us really be willing to tune in and watch? Yes, we all envy any celebrity’s access to’s finest resources – but I have to believe that most celebrities, and especially someone like Tim McGraw, appreciate the genealogical journey that all of us interested in the subject take. Further, with a little bit of elbow grease and persistance, the answers Tim McGraw was able to find are by and large out there for the rest of us to find also. It boils down to how badly you really want to know (sic) “Who do you think you are?”

    So please, we should all enjoy the efforts of in this regard. They have brought the efforts and science of genealogy to the forefront, and helped people like ourselves, and Tim McGraw, to find those missing pieces of the puzzle. Have I always been happy with No, of course not. However, am I happy with what help they do provide me? Yes, along with all the rest of us researching our roots here, you bet I am.

    Thank-you Mr. Tim McGraw and for bringing home an American story.

    Jeffery A. Record

  51. Mary

    I forgot to mention. WDYTYA thanks for mentioning the German-England-America migration. Please make a point of mentioning group migration patterns. This helps make the show more applicable to others watching. Could have mentioned more about how the family came to Missouri and what a hub that became but I realize you had a lot to chose from with this family.

  52. James W Cummings

    I liked the way the Tim McGraw episode opened with his talking to his father`s elder brother Hank about his father and grandfather and going through the old family pictures as so many of us used to do before the computer age. I used to hear so many ‘ handed down’ stories about fairly recent ancestors sopme appatrently true and it made me want to know more about them.

  53. Karla Mason Bergen

    I watched last night’s episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” with Tim McGraw researching his family history. His 8th great-grandfather’s name, Jost Hite, sounded familiar. I checked my own family tree on Ancestry, and guess what? McGraw’s 8th great-grandfather was my 7th great-grandfather! Guess that makes me and Tim McGraw distant cousins. As a country music fan who has seen him in concert several times, I am beyond thrilled!

    I love this show and think the interest in family genealogy that it has stimulated is great. While some of the posters on this thread have complained about the cost of, I actually think it is quite reasonable. There are very few hobbies that one can pursue for less than $20-$30 a month.

    Dr. Karla Mason Bergen
    Omaha, NE

  54. I love the show, love it love it. # 14 I say AMEN TO YOU. I would love to see the subcriptions down. They are really high, same with Have they all gone crazy? but I do love to research and find more out about where I came from,and I feel good to see others find their roots also, even the stars!

  55. Monika

    I am Austrian born, but came to the USA in 1964. Did most of my genealogical research in Austria without “leaving the ground” as you put it. (God bless the Internet!) In Austria, all birth, marriage and death records issued prior to 1938 are still with the individual churches (and in some regions, like Styria and Carinthia, in Archives). So, the secret is to know where in Austria your ancestors came from! Then it is really easy, because most churches are very helpful. Also, these records will not only give you the birth (or marriage date) of your ancestor, but the birth record will give you the names of the parents AND the grandparents of this ancestor. So, three generations in one record. After 1938, you have to contact the Recorder’s Offices and–for Privacy Law reasons–you will have to prove that you are related to the person whose records you are seeking! Then, there are also equivalent sites to our “findagrave” in Austria. Again, depends on where in Austria you are looking! E.g., the Vienna Magistrate has a website that lists approx. 95% of all the graves in Vienna. Then, there is a thing called “Meldezettel”. You can order these through the FHC of the LDS Church. If you tell me where in Austria, I may be able to help you further!

  56. BEE

    Hi Betsy #57, Barbara wrote exactly what I would have written when I saw your post. I assume you are talking about creating a tree on the ancestry website, not Family Tree Maker. It seems that each time something is posted about one, the subject turns to the other, and it can get confusing.
    I started out about 8yrs ago with the basic subscription, and over the years, added to it until I now have “World Deluxe”, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.
    The information I have found is priceless, and feel is worth every penny I pay. Yes, there are “brick walls”, but compared to driving to the nearest National Archives, or writing to various places for information, it’s a small price to pay. I recently saw a document with the signature of my grandmother who died long before I was born. Because of an incorrect date on my grandfather’s naturalization papers, my American-born grandmother had to apply for citizenship – what a thrilling find! I also found the birth and death record of my husband’s aunt. He went from barely knowing her name and about when she was born and died, to having an exact record, all without the long drive to that state, or having to write for the information and paying for a “search”, since he thought she lived a couple of years, not the two short months that the records showed.
    I’ll try not to repeat too much of what Barbara wrote, but I agree about using “old search”. Also, you might consider keeping your trees “private”. You can always change it, depending on what your needs are. My trees have always been private, but you can contact someone through the ancestry website, and people can contact you. If it’s someone that you would like to correspond with directly, then you can exchange email addresses. I met a second cousin and various other people this way, and it has been very rewarding.
    Barbara pretty much explained the process: you start a tree by naming someone as the “home person” – I started with my deceased father, and of course, added my deceased Mom, so that gives me both sides of my family on that tree. I created a separate tree for my husband in the same manner. As I found each census, I added all siblings, and that adds to information as you go back in time. I always check out “hints” hunting for maiden names, but never automatically add any information to my tree by “clicking” on it. Also, be sure to actually look at each document to be sure the information matches your relative. It’s amazing to find that no matter how uncommon a name is, there is someone out there, born about the same time, with the same strange name! The WWI and WWII Draft records are a big help with name and dates, although I’ve found more then one person with not only three different birth years, but days and months as well, although I know for a fact it’s the same person. They just didn’t pay attention to birth dates – I found a five year difference between the ages that my great-grandparents thought they were and documents we later found.
    Do you know the years your ancestors came from Austria? If you have a ships manifest that said they came from “Austria”, do you have the name of the town? Your “tree” can pinpoint the location if it’s spelled right, and not just a “village” name, but there are other sources to find locations.
    During a certain time in history, people from the southern region of Poland also came from “Austria”, so it helps to know where in “Austria” your ancestors actually came from. Ethnic names can be difficult to track {actually, any name can be}. Often times, the names on the 1930 census aren’t necessarily the ones they used on a previous census, but the more you know about a family, the easier it gets. If one name doesn’t bring up anything, try their siblings. An earlier census might have their ethnic names – “Jan” rather then John, etc – which would give you a clue to what their name would be on a ships manifest. If you find that the family had “boarders”, check out all those names on the immigration records. People from the same village often came in groups, and you might find family members you didn’t know about, so examine all the documents you find.
    So far, other then the manifests, there isn’t much information to be found on ancestry for the area I’m researching – I don’t know about areas, but as Barbara said, that can be for a later time, and Monika gave you some good information about foreign sources. So have no fear and join the rest of us in our “addiction”!

  57. Virginia

    #67 Bee
    Thought you might be interested in the following:
    After 1907, marriage determined a woman’s nationality status completely. Under the act of March 2, 1907, all women acquired their husband’s nationality upon any marriage occurring after that date. This changed nothing for immigrant women, but U.S.-born citizen women could now lose their citizenship by any marriage to any alien. Most of these women subsequently regained their U.S. citizenship when their husbands naturalized. However, those who married Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, or other men racially ineligible to naturalize forfeited their U.S. citizenship. Similarly, many former U.S. citizen women found themselves married to men who were ineligible to citizenship for some other reason or who simply refused to naturalize. Because the courts held that a husband’s nationality would always determine that of the wife, a married woman could not legally file for naturalization.(6)

    Happily, Congress was at work and on September 22, 1922, passed the Married Women’s Act, also known as the Cable Act. This 1922 law finally gave each woman a nationality of her own. No marriage since that date has granted U.S. citizenship to any alien woman nor taken it from any U.S.-born women who married an alien eligible to naturalization.(11) Under the new law women became eligible to naturalize on (almost) the same terms as men. The only difference concerned those women whose husbands had already naturalized. If her husband was a citizen, the wife did not need to file a declaration of intention. She could initiate naturalization proceedings with a petition alone (one-paper naturalization). A woman whose husband remained an alien had to start at the beginning, with a declaration of intention. It is important to note that women who lost citizenship by marriage and regained it under Cable Act naturalization provisions could file in any naturalization court–regardless of her residence.(12)

  58. James W Cummings

    While I think 300.00 a year is a lot to spend on (I have the World Deluxe)and have two ancestral trees “My Cummings Family ” and ” Cummings of Dixmont , Maine ” and have benefited by gaining access to several records , military,census,various migration records and most recently Maine birth, death (1607-1922) and Marriage (1705-1922)records (the originals are kept at the state archives and could be obtained as certified copies at 25 dollars each. so if You could even locate the record on the microfilm which would generally take me 15 to 30 minutes I could get a dozen copies and pay as much as a full year World Deluxe subscription costs. Genealogy has always been a costly study and even at these prices is a comparative bargain.

  59. Carol A. H.

    #68 Virginia:

    I found your post very interesting. I’m going to copy it and save it as a reference for my research if you don’t mind. Thanks.

  60. Holly

    Wow I am really surprised at the negative comments regarding “Who do you think you are.” I think the program is just wonderful. I absolutely love watching them trace there roots and travel and learn about their families. I don’t care who they are. I would love it if it was John Doe. Just makes me want to see what I can find. Keep it up. I think its awesome.

  61. BEE

    Virginia #68
    Thank you – that’s good to know. I saw something written on another Naturalization petition, but didn’t know what it was all about.
    I’m just glad some of my ancestors settled in Pennsylvania and the whole document is there to read, instead of just a card with a name and a few dates as in other states.

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