Genealogy TV shows

I'm glad to see that the number of Genealogy TV shows seems to be slowly expanding. There have been a handful here and there over the year, but this year, I've been following four, and it's been nice to have the variety, especially since the US version of Who Do You Think You Are was very disappointing this year. White, white, and whiter, mostly. I was glad to find other shows that allowed for a greater variety of stories.

1) Who Do You Think You Are (US)
Cynthia Nixon, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Rachel McAdams, Valerie Bertinelli, Kelsey Grammer, and Minnie Driver (a repeat of a UK episode)
The episodes themselves weren't too bad, though I think that Kelsey Grammer's was of most interest to me. I don't really know Jesse Tyler Ferguson, but his story was certainly interesting. All of them were, really. But I would have liked to see more stories that didn't revolve around the US or Western Europe. We have so many fascinating stories here in the US. Why are we focusing only on the same stories every single time? Why haven't we gotten one on a Native American Ancestry? Or how about an Asian American or Hispanic? Heck, why not one about someone born in Hawaii? There's just so much about America that the show hasn't covered yet. It wouldn't be too hard to cover some of it, if they just tried a little harder.

2) Who Do You Think you Are (UK)
Julie Walters, Brian Blessed, Tamzin Outhwaite, Brendan O'Carroll, Sheridan Smith, Mary Berry, Martin Shaw, Reggie Yates, Billy Connolly, and Twiggy
Unlike the US series this year, the UK episodes cover quite a bit of the UK and other lands, including Brendan O'Carroll, Reggie Yates, and Billy Connolly's stories. It was fascinating to see Reggie Yates' story, especially as I know very little about the UK in the sixties and seventies. I love watching the UK version of this show, as they never seem to flinch from the stories they find, regardless of how dark they get. The only issue I've had with it is that I have yet to see a Welsh story on the show.

3) Finding Your Roots
Stephen King, Courtney Vance, and Gloria Reuben; Billie Jean King, Derek Jeter, and Rebecca Lobo; Ken Burns, Anderson Cooper, and Anna Deavere Smith; Ben Affleck, Ben Jealous, and Khandi Alexander, and Tom Colicchio, Ming Tsai, and Aaron Sanchez.
Hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr, Finding Your Roots is everything I wish that Who Do You Think You Are could be. The variety of stories and of families the guests come from are far more varied. They're not all just stars (though that is less true of the UK version than the US, which seems only to focus on actors) I love that they make up a book and a family tree for all the guests they have on the show, and that they do DNA if the guests are interested. I have to say that the last episode with Colicchio, Tsai, and Sanchez was my favorite. I also like that Anderson Cooper's story so intrigued him that he encouraged CNN to do the same.

4) CNN: Roots - Our Journey Home
Michaela Pereira, Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo, Jake Tapper, Erin Burnett, Don Lemon, Christine Romans, Wolf Blitzer, Sanjay Gupta, Kate Bolduan, John Berman, Anthony Bourdain, and Fareed Zakaria
CNN decided to do a series with many of their reporters, and the variety here is tremendous. These are great because they're only about fifteen minutes each, and the stories are all fascinating. I'm particularly fond of Wolf Blitzer's and Don Lemons, each of which tell a unique story. Not sure how long these will be around, so definitely check them out while you can.


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About this blog

This blog is maintained by two sisters who have had a life long interest in geneology.
Mika writes here mostly about our family (Hansen, Hillinger, Bordewick, Park, etc), and her search for more information.
Shannon mostly uses this space as a place to make the many stories written about and by her husband's family (Holly, Walker, Walpole, etc) available to the rest of the family, present and future.

Our blog is named Oh Spusch! mostly because Shannon is bad at naming things. The first post I put up includes a story about the time Walker's great grandfather took his whole family out to see a play and the littlest kept saying "Oh! Spusch!" No one ever figured out what she meant by that.