The British hit television series "Who Do You Think You Are?" (WDYTYA) started in October 2004, showcasing about six U. K. celebrities as they go on a journey to discover their family history. The show is still going strong with its Series 8 airing August through October 2011.
The American version with the same name as this British show began March 2010 on the primetime NBC line-up. This inspired British hit show 'crossed the pond' to become an instant hit in the United States. With family history research having become an enormously popular American hobby over the last 30 years and America's thirst for information about celebrities, the concept of an American "Who Do You Think You Are?" is a wonderful blend.
With Wall to Wall Productions and 'Friends' actress, Lisa Kudrow, as an executive producer, this series took well-known American celebrities on a journey of self-discovery about their family's ancestral past. Many well-known personalities like Susan Sarandon and Sarah Jessica Parker, among others learned how their lives today is a product of their ancestor's adventures, hardships, struggles and experiences.
Some of the early celebrities featured on Season One in America were Susan Sarandon, Emmitt Smith, Brooke Shields, Lisa Kudrow and Sarah Jessica Parker. Season Two had a wonderful lineup with Rosie O’Donnell, Vanessa Williams and Lionel Richie, plus five other stars. One of the interesting items Lisa Kudrow learned about her family surname 'Kudrow' is that it means "curly hair" in the Belarusian language of Belarus in Eastern Europe. Full episodes for Season 2 were recently broadcast for an encore performance and can also be viewed online.
For the viewing audience, not only are they learning about a celebrity's own family personal history, but also the process, how that information was collected from vital records, government documents, family bibles / journals and numerous databases. The backdrop for each celebrity's story features scenes of American historical time lines surrounding an ancestor and takes the celebrity to the region or homeland of their ancestors.
With such a popular fan base the "Who Do You Think You Are?" show will have a third season in early 2012. The actress, Marisa Tomei, is one of the mentioned celebrities for the third season.
Not just in the United Kingdom or the United States, but the show is also done in Canada, Australia, Ireland, Sweden, Israel, Denmark, The Netherlands, South Africa, Norway and Russia.
As Lisa Kudrow discovered after viewing the British version and wanting to bring it to America, she stated it is amazing to learn the affects a historical event can have on an entire family's future.
Anyone can start now to learn more about their family history. Go over the many listings found on FamilyTree.com of surnames, how-to, genealogy blogs and advice to take that first step in your own similar journey of discovery.