Well the first episode of NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? just finished about an hour ago here in Chicago and I wanted to put my impressions down in a blog post. I'm encouraging my other genealogy blogging colleagues to do the same or if you don't have your own blog, add your comments below.
- PLUS: After having watched Faces of America over the past month, it was refreshing to have an hour-long program focus on just one person. This is not meant to disparage Faces of America - they are both different shows and I think target different audiences. I just think that WDYTYA is trying to be true to the original BBC format.
- MINUS: The constant recaps, "coming up" and other devices used in American television shows gets annoying after a while. This is why I love Generations Project right now - it is 59 minutes of uninterrupted television focusing on one person - and a non-celebrity at that!
- PLUS: I think the producers tried to make the process of finding ones ancestors as realistic as possible. I loved the shot of Sarah Jessica Parker having to wait at the Massachusetts Historical Society for a document to be pulled. This is the reality for many of us who do this type of research day in and day out.
- MINUS: Why doesn't MHS have anything on their homepage about WDYTYA? Nothing. Nor can I find a Facebook or Twitter link. Talk about a missed opportunity. While I am having trouble right now connecting to Ancestry and NEHGS due to high traffic, it is a breeze getting to MHS. I wonder why.
- PLUS: Parker seemed actually interested and engaged in the process and the history. I don't think this was acting skills on display. I also loved how she interacted with her mother. Each time she walked in the door and yelled "Mommy?" - well let's just say that got to me for some reason. I found it very endearing that a woman in her mid-40s still calls her mother "Mommy." Beyond cute. What I wouldn't give to be able to do that right now . . .
- MINUS: I wish time was spent explaining the process a bit more in terms of research. When they discussed John S. Hodges and his appearance in the 1850 US Census, it made it seem like: "Poof! His name is here it must be him! Now let's get you off to California!"
- PLUS: Showing an original source like a 300 year old warrant put out for Parker's ancestor - how great was that?
- MINUS: Where are your gloves young lady? Didn't your mother ever tell you not to handle a 300 year old document without a pair of archivist gloves?
- PLUS: Increased exposure to genealogy will not just benefit the genealogy community and various service providers, but I hope it will enrich the lives of the newcomers who decide to look for their own ancestors.
- MINUS: Be prepared for long connect times on your favorite genealogy research sites - at least for the time being - as well as an increase in genealogy-related spam.
© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee