This Friday is the season premiere of NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” The show began last March and features celebrities finding out about their roots with the help of experts and Ancestry.com. If you missed season one, NBC.com is streaming all seven episodes until Saturday (featuring Sarah Jessica Parker, Emmitt Smith, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Broderick, Brooke Shields, Susan Sarandon, and Spike Lee).
I can’t get enough of the emotions and the goosebumps, vicariously enjoying the revelations of each person’s episode. I applaud executive producer Lisa Kudrow, et. al., for promoting the benefits and marvels of genealogy. This season of “WDYTYA?” will feature Vanessa Williams, Ashley Judd, Kim Cattrall, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rosie O’Donnell, Tim McGraw, Lionel Richie, and Steve Buscemi.
Here are some other genealogy-related TV programs that you should add to your must-see list.
AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES (PBS, 2006)
This four-part documentary, hosted by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., explores the family histories of Oprah Winfrey, Chris Tucker, Quincy Jones, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Dr. Mae Jemison, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Dr. Ben Carson, and Whoopi Goldberg.
AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES 2 (PBS, 2008)
Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. hosts this next four-part documentary, which features Linda Johnson Rice, Don Cheadle, Chris Rock, Tom Joyner, Peter Gomes, Maya Angelou, Morgan Freeman, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Tina Turner, Kathleen Henderson, and Bliss Broyard.
FACES OF AMERICA (PBS, 2010)
Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s most recent genealogical program explored Americans of diverse backgrounds: Elizabeth Alexander, Mario Batali, Stephen Colbert, Louise Erdrich, Malcolm Gladwell, Eva Longoria, Yo-Yo Ma, Queen Noor, Mike Nichols, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Meryl Streep, and Kristi Yamaguchi.
MEETING DAVID WILSON (MSNBC, 2008):
Journalist David Wilson (managing editor and founder of theGrio.com) traces his roots back to the North Carolina plantation where his ancestors were enslaved and meets a man who descends from the family who had owned Wilson’s relatives. In addition, he makes an emotional visit to Ghana after DNA testing reveals his genetic origins.