The 7th and final episode of NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? with Spike Lee was broadcast this past Friday, 30 April 2010, 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: I was happy see another subject with African-American and slave ancestry on a WDYTYA episode. It is my strong belief that despite the miniseries Roots over 30 years, there is not enough exposure to this segment of the genealogy field which has its own unique set of research challenges.
- MINUS: I wanted to see more than just Spike Lee's family with him on the way to the cemetery. I wanted to see his children actively involved with research their roots.
- PLUS: The research plan executed for this episode seemed sound and it probably is how I would have pursued the research if Spike Lee were my client.
- MINUS: The surname change from Woodall to Jackson was never explained. The person viewing with me at home (who really wanted to watch the movie Die Mommie Die! instead), asked how someone would change their name in the 1880s - was a court filing involved etc.? I wish the writers at least touched upon how surname changes came about and why.
- PLUS: Seeing Spike meet his presumed 3rd cousin 2 times removed in person and discussing their common heritage.
- MINUS: Why wasn't more done to verify the fact that Samuel Griswold was the father of Matilda Griswold? Could a DNA test have been run to confirm markers between Spike Lee and his presumed cousin? Perhaps the cousin didn't want to participate in the DNA test? I think this sets a bad example for the more novice genealogy researcher to make assumptions without working towards a stronger set of facts as proof.
© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee