I recently started watching the NBC series "Who Do You Think You Are?" airing Fridays at 8/7c. It depicts celebrities' travels through their family history. Some of the journeys are fascinating, particularly those who encounter the 'tough stuff' of the past such as slavery and the Civil War. Matthew Broderick discovered his grandfather was a hero in WW1, while his great-great-grandfather fought in the Civil War, dying outside of Atlanta. They discovered his heretofore unmarked grave. Vanessa Williams found out that her Civil War ancestor, an African-American who proudly spread word to the enslaved of the Emancipation Proclamation, lived in Queens, New York with his white wife. Reba McIntrye was shocked when she learned that a North Carolina ancestor sold slaves, yet showed more grief over that person's life as a teenager cast out of England to be an indentured servant in the American colonies. Black celebrities such as Emmitt Smith and Spike Lee discover what their slave ancestors endured during and after the 'peculiar institution' ended. One of my favorite moments: Martin Sheen's response to the revelation that two lines of his Spanish ancestors had clashed in the 1700s - one, a judge, persecuted a young woman. Their descendants later married. Amazing. I haven't seen all of these episodes yet, but I am hooked.
The series is by far the best advertising for which Ancestry.com could ask. I have an annual subscription which has helped my research immensely. I also like seeing some of the familiar archives and historians who appear in the series. Keep up the good work. I understand that there are British (where it began), Canadian, Irish, Swedish and other versions of the show. I wonder how many of their Canadian celebrities find out to their horror that they have *gasp* American roots.