Who Do You Think you Are? Sarah Jessica Parker

Finally. The show has finally taken off in the U.S.A. Originating in Britain, it has taken time for the show to land here. But finally, last night we were able to watch as the show shared Sarah Jessica Parker's ancestry.

Following so closely after the Faces of America series, genealogists were anxious to see the differences in the two programs. Would "Who Do You Think You Are?" share actual research that was done? Would the celebrities travel to their ancestral homelands? Every genealogist had their own questions on what to expect out of this show.

My sister flew in from Maine the night before the premiere of this program. I wasn't sure I would see it as it aired, although I hoped my family would be interested in watching it when were were all together in my home last night. Some genealogists planned a "Who Do You Think You Are?" party, something similar maybe to maybe an "Academy Awards" party. I thought this was a great idea, so I planned in my head that I was going to have one also! It didn't turn out they way I hoped though.

My daughter and her family were here to enjoy dinner and time with my sister last night (this is a rare occurrence for sure) and that is exactly what it was, lots of great conversation and kids playing, very noisy. The TV was on when the program started and even though everyone in my home knew how much I wanted to watch it, there was no way I could hear a word. Thank goodness several days earlier I had my husband set the recorder.

After our family party ended, my sister and I sat to watch the program. Oh, and actually my husband was here to. We were having our own mini "Who Do You Think You Are?" party. The next thing I knew an hour was over. Wow, it went by way to fast! I think that must mean I enjoyed what I saw?!?!?!? I didn't want it to be over, I was wrapped up in it. (You should know, if you don't already, that I am NOT a TV person. It takes something very meaningful to me to stop whatever I am doing and just watch a program. If the occasional rarity does happen and I am watching TV, I am most always multitasking at the same time, as I don't sit still very well.) My sister was very tired at the end of the program and went off to bed (she is adjusting to the time change.) My husband fell asleep. He knew the program was recorded and it was way past his bedtime. I had no one to talk to about the show, so I turned to the laptop and caught up a bit on Twitter and Facebook. I was a bit surprised TweetDeck wasn't being flooded with comments. Today I realized that everyone was saving their thoughts for their posts.

This morning I noticed many bloggers had indeed written their posts regarding last nights show. I have not had the opportunity to read any of these posts as of yet and thought I would write my post without the possible influence of what others have posted. So I still have not read anyone else's post reviewing the show. I always like my feeble brain to take over my finger tips when I write, whatever comes off the top of my head....

I asked my sister this morning for her opinion of the program, being a non-genealogist. I was excited to see how it affected her. She shared these points:
  • She realized the show was simplified for all of the work that actually went into researching Sarah Jessica Parker's ancestry.
  • She felt it was rather misleading for those who may wish to become involved in genealogy as they would expect a quick payoff.
  • She felt it was good entertainment for television
  • She also felt they did a good job of trying to "rope people in" and get involved in their personal genealogy.
  • She felt the stories were incredible.
  • She wished the program shared resources on where to go to start researching. (She was totally unaware that libraries come in to play at all!)
She enjoyed the show! I don't feel she would drop everything to start researching her own ancestry. I tend to think though that she doesn't feel the need to do so herself because she already has me doing work for her. I didn't have the opportunity to ask her if she planned on watching any of the future shows once she returned home. I will have to get that question to her, I am curious. I did see quickly this morning that one of the future shows is suppose to be "more compelling than all of the others. I shared this with her telling her what I felt it may entail. For this reason and after watching last night, I do wonder if she will tune into future shows.

My personal feelings? I loved it! The show kept me very interested and I didn't have to be doing something else as I watched. Of course the story lines were fantastic, this makes good TV watching. We all love to hear a great story! I enjoyed that Sarah Jessica Parker traveled to the places her ancestors lived and she was able to "feel" emotions about them and their lives. Sharing the steps Sarah made following patterns of her ancestors is very similar to what real genealogists do.

I agree with my sister, so much of research has to be condensed for TV. Because of the program, my sister and I discussed our personal genealogy more than we may have otherwise. I enjoyed that so much! Bottom line, I feel if the stories stay as compelling as last night, it will be a hit. After all, this isn't suppose to a class on doing genealogy, it is a program, which is to be entertaining. As an added bonus it may also introduce others to genealogy. I personally can't wait for the future shows!

I am off to find out how the show was rated and see what other genealogists posted regarding the program. Please feel free to share your feelings in the comments section! Watch out, depending on what I read, you may see a follow up to this post...

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


  1. Cheryl,

    I like the way you include your sister's comments in your posting. Glad to hear that you were able the tape the show. I watched it live, but I am watchingt it again online.

  2. I was of a like mind as your sister in that I wished they would have detailed more of HOW she knew where to go next. I realize it's not a class but I still wanted to know HOW they knew THAT Samuel Hodge was HER Samuel Hodge. I wanted them to show "more". It was a great show and I loved the stories she was able to find. I still got that feeling of euphoria when she found something and it was so sad when she found out about the death in CA. But I found myself questioning HOW they knew.....just like I do when I'm looking for my own genealogy. LOL! I'm glad you shared your sister's info with us as she's the target audience.

  3. Cheryl - I thought the show was fascinating. I posted some comments on our FTM site -- but the gist of it is that our 10 yr old grandson watched it with us and he was totally enchanted. Clearly, this helped get younger generations intrigued with genealogy.
    He and I spent several hours today searching the online databases for verification of things he has been told. We had a great afternoon.
    That's another piece of what this genealogy habit is about!!

  4. Just like you, I loved it.

    When I found my first piece of the family puzzle, I cried.

    I hope many more people join in genealogy. It will only benefit us all.


  5. Hi Dru,

    I liked having a non genealogist with me to get true opinions from regarding the show. Glad you were able to see it!

    Hi Melanie, I understand what you are saying. It would have been fun if they could have shared a bit more on their findings. To bad they couldn't have a show that was longer than an hour. Maybe one of the future shows will indulge more. The show though is great though for drawing the newbie into the field!

    Hi pix2fix, wonderful that your grandson was so interested! Isn't it an awesome feeling to spend time with someone who is just getting interested, or doesn't understand anything about genealogy at all? What we get to teach and share with them! So much fun!

  6. Thank you so much Miss Maven for making your presence here at Heritage Happens! I remember this first time I saw a descendants name on the internet. I am not sure if I was more shocked, excited or confused! LOL

    I too, hope many will join in on the genealogy fun also, ah to see all the new happy dances!

  7. Cheryl,
    My daughter and I watched the show in fact she reminded me that it was on.Without her I would have been on the internet. She really enjoyed the show as did I. We watched the one of Faces of America together. We agreed that we liked Who do you think you are better because they stayed with one person for the whole show. I'm glad they are offering it online since I sometimes miss shows.
    I like to try to get my kids and husband interested in my genealogy research.

  8. Harriet, so glad you were able to see the show, and to watch it with your daughter. I know what you mean about missing shows on TV, I am good at that also. I have now try to make a major mental note of them. At least there are only a couple of shows to worry about catching!

  9. i hope to catch a rerun. I missed half of the show. I was intriqued. My after thoughts were I wonder how long the actual time of research it took. How long to put the show together, and how long filming it all.
    And discussing it with others is the fun part, wouldn't you say so.

  10. Hi Rootdigger, I hope you have been able to catch the full program now because I do agree, the best part is talking with others about it! I too wonder how long it took them to put it all together, I tend to think it would have been much quicker than I would expect!


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