Friday, February 4, 2011

Celebrity Genealogy Back on Primetime!

I have to admit that I'm not really into the whole reality television craze. Of course, this is coming from someone who is so fascinated by family history that driving past an old cemetery can make my whole week. However, that said, I will be seated on my sofa at 7pm this evening for NBC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" premier. My children get excited over Santa Claus. I get excited for this.

If you haven't seen it before, this show is a series showcasing various celebrities and their journeys of learning their family history. The research is done in partnership with Ancestry.com.

This season's celebrities are Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Rosie O’Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie, Vanessa Williams and Ashley Judd.

Part of the reason I find this series so fascinating is that it highlights some of the common roots we all share. We all have ancestors we are proud of, and some we'd like to keep hidden in the proverbial family attic. But we all came from somewhere, and it helps us to know and appreciate who we are and why we are who we are because of where we came from.

Last year's premier season of this show also generated a huge increase in genealogy interest across the country. I'm sure this season will be no different. We all benefit from that because the more of us genealogists there are out there looking into our family histories, the more people we can coordinate with and learn from.

Finally, as an added bonus (oh, yeah), Ancestry.com will be sponsoring The Ultimate Family History Journey Sweepstakes with a grand prize of $20,000 in travel money, 8 hours of consultation with an expert genealogist, and a yearlong Ancestry.com World Deluxe membership for the winner and 5 family members. 20 First Place prizes of an annual Ancestry.com World Deluxe membership will also be awarded.

Okay, seriously, who would not want an all-expense paid trip abroad? I certainly wouldn't turn that down.

I know this is still the entertainment industry, but I think this is a well-produced show that generates interest in a great cause, and is a good reminder for us all that, celebrity or not, we are all people with more similarities than differences. Knowing our ancestry can help us learn from the mistakes of the past, while celebrating the heritage that has been passed onto us. So, turn on your televisions tonight at 8/7 central, and don't forget to enter the sweepstakes, too!


 Who Do You Think You Are Season 2 Sweepstakes

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