Posts Tagged ‘Matthew Broderick’
The fascinating world of genealogy, once familiar to scientists and history buffs only, is now finding its way into American family rooms. “Scavenger hunt is a good way to describe it. That’s what it feels like,” actress Lisa Kudrow tells “Entertainment Tonight”.
A British TV import called “Who do you think you are?” has arrived on American shores, and critics like the New York Time’s Neil Genzlinger call it “addictive”. Why? Because it traces the genealogy of a celebrity and shows us all they are a lot like us, with curious and notable ancestors, but just as often, ancestors who were perfectly ordinary and dull, like many of us believe our own lives to be in comparison to what occurs in Hollywood.
The program airs Friday nights on NBC. Over the course of seven weeks, it follows seven well-knowns; one per night, as they discover their family tree and curiously, why they seem predisposed to certain careers or behaviors.
Actress and model Brooke Shields travels to Europe with the show and learns why French Literature has always seemed interesting to her. The actress Susan Sarandon scours old nightclubs of 1930s New York to know more about her grandmother who performed as a dance-hall girl.
By far the saddest family history is revealed to Kudrow whose production company “Is or Isn’t Entertainment” brought the show to American audiences. In Kudrow’s episode the 46- year old Jewish star of “Friends” travels to Belarus to learn about her ancestors. She was in tears to find out members of her family were taken to Concentration Camps during World War II and massacred by the Nazis.
Kudrow discovered her great-great grandmother was “killed and burned” with 900 other Jews in a single event.
That is one of the aspects of the show that audiences seem to be astonished by. They can’t believe how close they came to not being born for all the struggles for survival their ancestors endured.
Genealogy websites like GenealogyDNA.com are prepared for the wave of new individuals who want to explore their family tree. Keep in mind these findings don’t involve trips around the world like the celebrities on “Who Do You Think You Are”, but they do answer many of the questions you might have about your distant past; answers previously available only after time consuming searches through historical documents in libraries and passenger manifests from turn-of-the-last century ships.
All human beings have some degree of curiosity about where they came from, and thanks to relatively inexpensive DNA testing and websites like GenealogyDNA.com and familytreedna, many others are turning this curiosity into a serious hobby.
Hundreds of thousands of surname projects are underway in this country with the use of Y-DNA testing and now with a program called Family Finder you can fill in missing relatives within the inner branches of your family tree. It all begun with the inquisitive nature of just one person. That’s all it takes to begin. A DNA kit and simple cheek swab begins the process of unlocking the secrets of the past.
Other episodes of “Who Do You Think You Are” feature actress Sarah Jessica Parker. The audience comes along on her travels through libraries and visits with historians and in places where her ancestors lived as she learns her family name was involved in key historic events.
Football player Emmit Smith finds out about a link to a young female slave. Other stars like actor Matthew Broderick and Director Spike Lee get their moments of additional fame as well.
In this day and age when science is widely available and information is instantaneously spread online, television shows like “Who Do You Think You Are” serve a new purpose; uniting ordinary folks with the celebrities they admire on a personal journey through their family history.
By doing your own genealogy research and also having your DNA tested with a company like our advertiser, FamilyTreeDNA, will register you and your family genes in this ever growing database of linked family members.