July 25, 2016

The BBC Announces Season 13 Celebrities for WDYTYA

WDYTYA logoThe genealogy genre of television continues to make a splash in prime time. Who Do You Think You Are? is leading the way and inspiring our genealogy journey with a fresh perspective on research strategies.

The BBC has just announced their season 13 celebrities for Who Do You Think You Are? and we are excited! We have many British readers and wanted to share the good news. In particular, our American readers may be especially interested in yet another version of WDYTYA to sink their teeth into! Though viewers in the U.S. will not likely be able to view the show in its entirety, anyone can enjoy helpful video clips at the BBC WDYTYA official YouTube channel.

Colette Flight, executive producer, says that season 13 will hold some “incredible stories…sometimes tragic, sometimes funny, but always compelling.” We all love a good story, but you might be more interested in the research techniques the show shares.

As I watched clips from season 12 on YouTube, I was intrigued at just how many Irish genealogy tips and tricks I learned. Did you know that vestry minutes held at the church could hold state information such as what your ancestor did for a living? This was because, at one time, Ireland was ruled from London, and the Protestant Church of Ireland was like a branch of government. Church records, including vestry minutes, could hold some key pieces of information for your family history.

Season 13 of WDYTYA will air this fall with Danny Dyer, best know for his role in EastEnders, finding out he has some royal connections.

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini will share her journey as she finds out more about her long lost great-grandfather, Tommy. It was also interesting to note that Cheryl used DNA to help make ancestral connections.

Amanda Holden, Sophie Raworth,  Ricky Tomlinson, Sunetra Sarker, Warwick Davis, Greg Davies and Irish television presenter Liz Bonnin are among the line-up. I’m especially looking forward to one of my all-time favorites, The Lord of the Rings star Sir Ian McKellen.

American based TLC has also recently announced that the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? has been renewed for another season. The exact release date for season 9 is still pending, but we will be following along closely to let you know when we do!

What has been your most favorite or inspiring WDYTYA story? Has there been one in particular that has helped you to make a connection in your own family? We’d love to hear about it! Please leave us your story in the comments below.

MORE GEMS ON IRISH GENEALOGY RESEARCH

Beginning Irish Genealogy: Tips and FREE RecordsShare Bold

Irish Catholic Parish Registers from National Library of Ireland

A Comprehensive Way to Learn Irish Genealogy

 

TLC Renews “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “Long Lost Family”

TLC Renews Who Do You Think You AreGenealogy is coming back to TV. TLC has renewed “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “Long Lost Family” for additional seasons.

TLC announced on June 9th that the network will have additional seasons of both “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “Long Lost Family.” Both series averaged over 1.8 million viewers.

The two-time Emmy-nominated WDYTYA follows celebrities as they take a personal journey of their family tree. Recent celebrities included Bryan Cranston, who uncovered an ancestor’s heroic dedication during the Civil War, and Molly Ringwald, who learned about the dangerous conditions of her coal-mining ancestors.

The “Long Lost Family” series features the emotional and touching stories of people who have had a separation from their family. The show reunites these individuals and shares their stories of adoption, mystery, and questions. This past season reunited several family members, including a mother and daughter who worked together and did not realize they were related. “Long Lost Family” is hosted by Chris Jacobs and Lisa Joyner, who also share their own stories of adoption.

Ancestry will be teaming up with TLC again as a sponsor for both series. As part of the sponsorship, Ancestry provides the family history research to help make discoveries possible on both series.

Are you a fan of these genealogy-themed shows? We’d love to hear which stories have touched you the most. Please leave a comment below:

TV’s Who Do You Think You Are? #WDYTYA Starts Tomorrow

aisha tyler wdytya

It’s time for a new season of Who Do You Think You Are? here in the U.S. Episode one features comedian and actress Aisha Tyler (Archer, Ghost Whisper.)

According to TLC, Aisha “tracks down her 2x great-grandfather, whose story had been lost over generations, and uncovers an astonishing tale of a prominent ancestor whose struggle to keep his illegitimate son a secret made headlines.”

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store tomorrow:

The new season of Who Do You Think You Are? premieres Sunday, April 3 at 9/8c

The contributors featured in the upcoming season include:

  • Scott Foley finds a relative who risked his life for one of America’s founding fathers, and an ancestor who suffered unspeakably during one of this nation’s darkest times.
  • Lea Michele nails down where her mysterious paternal ancestors came from, and learns of the dire economic circumstances they endured while trying to emigrate to the U.S.
  • Chris Noth learns his ancestors suffered during one of the greatest catastrophes in American history, and a relative who fought in one of the bloodiest battles of all time.
  • Molly Ringwald explores family lore of Swedish royalty which uncovers her ancestors’ harrowing lives and a brave woman who forever changed her family’s fate.
  • Katey Sagal is shocked to learn of her family’s Amish roots, and digs deeper as she realizes the level of dedication to their faith.

 

WDYTYA 2016: TLC Premiere is April 3

Time for wdytya 2016WDYTYA 2016! The two-time Emmy nominated series Who Do You Think You Are? returns to TLC on April 3. Six new stars, and six new ancestral stories.

A male witch hunt. Amish ancestors. Desperate emigration. Bloody battles. Travel to Portugal, Sweden and Ellis Island. WDYTYA is back! A new season of this popular series premieres on TLC on Sunday, April 3 at 9/8c.

According to a company press release, celebs you’ll see in WDYTYA 2016 include:

  • Scott Foley, who finds a relative who risked his life for one of America’s founding fathers, and an ancestor who suffered unspeakably during one of this nation’s darkest times.
  • Lea Michele, who nails down where her mysterious paternal ancestors came from, and learns of the dire economic circumstances they endured while trying to emigrate to the U.S.
  • Chris Noth, who learns his ancestors suffered during one of the greatest catastrophes in American history, and a relative who fought in one of the bloodiest battles of all time.
  • Molly Ringwald, who explores family lore of Swedish royalty which uncovers her ancestors’ harrowing lives and a brave woman who forever changed her family’s fate.
  • Katey Sagal, who is shocked to learn of her family’s Amish roots, and digs deeper as she realizes the level of dedication to their faith.
  • Aisha Tyler, who tracks down her 2x great-grandfather, whose story had been lost over generations, and uncovers an astonishing tale of a prominent ancestor whose struggle to keep his illegitimate son a secret made headlines.

More Genealogy TV Gems for WDYTYA fans

Relative Race genealogy tv showRelative Race (watch archived episodes online!)

WDYTYA: What They Couldn’t Tell Us in Ginnifer’s Episode

CeCe Moore and DNA Consulting on Finding Your Roots

WDYTYA Archive: What They Didn’t Tell Us In Ginnifer’s Episode

WDYTYA cutting roomNot every juicy finding makes it into each episode of Who Do You Think You Are. Here’s what ended up on the cutting room floor for Ginnifer Goodwin. What else might we learn in the upcoming “Into the Archives” episode?

Did you watch the Ginnifer Goodwin episode of WDYTYA? two weeks ago? Lisa thinks it was one of the best episodes they’ve done to date. Well, the show researchers didn’t tell us everything they learned. There were just so many twists and turns in the plot already!

But TLC gave us one more juicy detail. We just couldn’t share it until after the show aired. Remember the divorce record that was found for Nellie’s unknown first marriage? What the episode doesn’t show is that “Ginnifer discovers that Duff Williams sued Nellie for divorce first, and only married Nellie to avoid jail time for having sex with her outside of matrimony. But the tables were turned when he falsely accused Nellie in court of adultery, and his lies sent him to prison.”

This weekend, WDYTYA offers a special glimpse into its archives. You’ll see highlights from past seasons: triumphs and tragedies, delightful discoveries and sobering moments. According to TLC, “this special episode also unveils outtakes and never-before-seen footage from the series’ vault.” Catch the episode this Sunday, August 16 at 9/8c on TLC.

Be sure to share this post with fellow WDYTYA fans!

When sharing stories from my own family history “vault,” I almost always find I have to leave some things out, too. There isn’t room in every telling for every detail! So in this episode, I’ll be watching closely and thinking about why they left out the things they did.

Family History Genealogy Made Easy PodcastReady to start writing about the juicy stories and unexpected plot twists in your own family history? Blog it! Get started with our free 5-part series on blogging your family history in our Family History Made Easy podcast (episodes 38-42–and check out episode 45 for more inspiration).

 

This Week’s WDYTYA? New Episode on TLC

woodard

Photo (credit: TLC)

This Sunday, August 9 at 9/8c TLC will air actress Alfre Woodard’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

In the episode, Alfre Woodard sets out to learn more about her paternal grandfather’s family, which she knows little about since her grandfather died before she knew him. She uncovers the triumphant story of her great-grandfather Alec, who endured the horrors of slavery and ascended from servitude to successful landowner, an extraordinary feat of his time.

Catch a sneak peek of the episode here!

Next week, TLC will air a special episode of the series entitled ‘Into The Archives.’ The special digs into its archives, featuring highlights throughout the past seasons, including triumphs and tragedies, delightful discoveries and sobering moments. This special episode also unveils outtakes and never-before-seen footage from the series’ vault.

Family History Genealogy Made Easy PodcastReady to get started learning about your own family history? Listen to our free Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast here. Also available through iTunes.

You can also subscribe to our free weekly newsletter for more tips and strategies for learning how to climb your family tree.

WDYTYA? Premieres Sunday, July 26 at 9/8c

WDYTYA? Who do you think you are Jennifer GoodwinActress Ginnifer Goodwin (from ABC’s Once Upon A Time) knew nothing about her paternal grandfather John Barton Goodwin’s family because he refused to talk about his parents. In the premiere episode of the brand new season of TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are? she goes on a journey to uncover the truth behind her great-grandparents’ story, and is shocked to discover turbulent lives filled with court cases, drugs and incarcerations.

Like many new moms, Ginnifer became even more interested in learning about her family history after the birth of her son, Oliver. In this episode, she starts her search for information with her dad, Tim, who recalls that his father’s parents were named Nellie and John “Al” Goodwin, and that for some unknown reason, John Barton (Tim’s dad) was abandoned when he was just 11 years old. The last time he did any research, Tim found a 1910 Census return in which Nellie, Al and John Barton are living in Batesville, Arkansas.  Ginnifer wonders what could have happened for Nellie to have let an 11 year old leave her home, and heads to Arkansas to see if she can find some answers with the help of some very talented genealogists.

ginner

Local records in Batesville reveal that Nellie’s maiden name was Haynes, and a search for her marriage record returns a result for Nellie and a man named J.D. Williams, and another great grandfather Al Goodwin!

Ginnifer wondered what happened with Nellie’s first marriage that she eventually married Al Goodwin. Was Nellie a young widow?  The local genealogist explains that death records of this time are incomplete and advises Ginnifer to visit the Independence County Courthouse to search for evidence for the other alternative to the end of a marriage: divorce records.

Next week: We’ll share some additional discoveries not covered in Ginnifer’s episode. Stay tuned!

WDYTYA 2015: Summer Episodes Begin July 26

JK Rowling WDYTYAOn Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 9pm EST, Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA 2015) returns to TLC in the United States for more great episodes:

  • TLC will air the U.S. premiere of J.K. Rowling’s episode, where the best-selling author sets off to uncover her maternal French roots. She finds that a family war story might not be what she thought when military records reveal a surprising twist.
  • Tom Bergeron, who is aware of his French Canadian roots on his paternal side, but wants to know what brought his ancestors to North America. He goes as far back as his 10x great grandmother to find the answer.
  • Bryan Cranston, who comes to discover an unfortunate pattern amongst the men in his family.
  • Ginnifer Goodwin, who sets out to learn about her mysterious paternal great grandparents, whom her father, regretfully, does not know much about either.
  • Alfre Woodard, who strives to find out more about the paternal side of her family, and explores how her surname came to be.

While you’re waiting for Who Do You Think You Are Summer 2015 to kick off, enjoy this unseen footage from the J.K. Rowling episode on the old WhoDoYouThinkYouAre website and these fun interviews with genealogy television industry leaders:

WDYTYA: Bill Paxton’s Revolutionary War Roots

???????????????????????????This Sunday evening on TLC, Bill Paxton is the celebrity guest on Who Do You Think You Are? 

I took a sneak peek at the episode, and I love two things about it. First, Bill’s unabashed love for his father, who recently passed away and whom he mentions throughout the episode (“My dad would love this!”). I think of how many of us have lost someone who we wish could hear about our family history discoveries and know that we’re appreciating the past.

Second, of course, the ancestor stories on WDYTYA? always fire my imagination and teach me some history. This episode is no exception. Bill’s four-times great-grandfather Benjamin Sharp was a Revolutionary War veteran who served at the age of 14. As a spy. (How cool is that? How worried must his mother have been?) The show takes Bill to the site of a battle where Bill reads his ancestor’s first-hand account of the event.

But that wasn’t the whole story: Benjamin Sharp still lived a full, rich life after becoming a veteran by age 18. He rose in the ranks of civil service under the young U.S. government. But of course there’s a twist in his later life that dismays Bill and complicates his growing admiration for Benjamin. As most celebrity guests on WDYTYA? conclude, our ancestors were complex people who were just living their lives, not trying to create squeaky-clean legacies their descendants could brag about.

media_icon_like_400_wht_9163If you watch WDYTYA? this Sunday, tell us what you think of the episode on our Facebook page! We’d love to hear from you.

WDYTYA 2015 Doesn’t Disappoint!

TLCDid you catch the opening episode of Who Do You Think You Are? on Sunday evening? I screened it along with several of this season’s episodes that were shared with us here at Genealogy Gems. WDYTYA 2015 doesn’t disappoint!

Julie Chen’s episode marked the first trip of WDYTYA to China. We followed her as she unraveled the riches-to-rags-to-riches story of her grandfather and great-grandfather, which ended at her great-grandfather’s tomb high on a hillside in rural China. (Click here to watch some clips posted by TLC, including one on the feng shui principles behind his grave site selection.)

This coming Sunday at 10pm EST, we go with Josh Groban into even deeper ancestral history: 1600s Germany. He follows the trail of an immigrant ancestor who died en route to bringing his family to Philadelphia.

As TLC explains, Josh “discovers a brilliant man who was not only a deacon, but also a music and singing teacher and well-known astronomer. But Josh finds that his ancestor’s predictions of cataclysmic doom put him in the crosshairs of the church and the fate of his family on the line.” We get to live our genealogy travel dreams vicariously through him, as he tours several beautiful historic places his ancestor lives and handles original documents about his family that are hundreds of years old.

There’s so much more to come with this season of WDYTYA! On March 22, an ancestor of Angie Harmon (Law & Order) will take us into a little-known rebellion by Revolutionary War troops who served faithfully under George Washington at Valley Forge. On March 29, Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) learns about a pattern of family loss and dysfunction that reverberates back several generations. And there’s more to come: Tony Goldwyn, America Ferrera, Bill Paxton and Melissa Etheridge will all appear in April! Watch a WDYTYA spring season teaser below:

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