Genealogists, take a break from the microfilm machine and those dusty documents! Find a seat on the couch and get ready to see your passion brought to life on the small screen.
The second season of NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? begins this Friday, February 4, at 8 P.M. As you may know, each episode of the show follows a celebrity whose family tree is researched by experts – how fabulous it is to be a celebrity! The celebrities discover their hidden family stories and secrets as they travel to the archives that house their family records and the places where their ancestors lived. One episode last season featured Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith and revealed his family’s connection to Mecklenburg County, Virginia. See the episode here. Smith traveled to the county courthouse in Boydton to view records there and visited historic Boyd Tavern across the street.
This season promises more connections to Virginia with celebrity participants Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Rosie O’Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie, Vanessa Williams, and Ashley Judd.
If you are inspired to begin tracing your ancestry after watching the show, the Library of Virginia is a great place to start. Our collection contains a wealth of Virginia records that cannot be found anywhere else. We also provide free access to Ancestry.com – a major sponsor of the show — in the building through our institutional subscription. The institutional subscription provides free access to all of the Ancestry.com databases; however, it does not provide access to message boards, family trees, etc. Patrons must have individual subscriptions in order to access those features. A great guide to getting started with your genealogical research is here and a guide to the resources in the library building is here.
Tune in and tell us what you think of the show. Perhaps this program will inspire a few viewers to begin asking questions about their own families and start researching. The stories in those dusty documents and microfilm are waiting to be discovered.
-Dale Dulaney, Local Records Archival Assistant