Review of TV show, Who Do You Think You Are?


In this TLC program, celebrities get the chance to investigate their family trees with the help of expert genealogists. It began in 2010 and is still on the air.


This program appeals to almost anyone, because we all have a basic desire to know where we come from.


Some of us already know, some of us don’t, and some of us only think we know.


One interesting aspect of the show is that it brings celebrities down from the pedestals and makes them very relatable. You realize that Kelsey Grammer is just as curious and moved as we would be when he discovers facts about the grandmother who raised him.


Mr. Grammer has always been pretty forward about the tragedies in his life—his sister was raped and murdered, his two brothers died while scuba diving, and his father was shot and killed. But there were missing pieces in his family history that he wanted to find, and this show helped him do that. One might wonder why a man with such a heartbreaking history would want to uncover even more. But that is human nature, and we know that it’s always better to heal than to fester. It may be tough hearing unsavory facts, but it could be harder never knowing at all.


These are the questions some of us should ask ourselves when delving into genealogy. With the smiles and surprises often come tears and revelation. The rewards can carry a double-edged sword, but take heart. All of us have been there. All of us have people and incidents in our lives that we don’t understand, can’t control, aren’t responsible for, and have to reconcile. Just like Kelsey Grammer, who discovered through this show that his great-grandmother Genevieve, never mentioned by the grandmother who raised him, Evangeline, died from alcoholism at the age of 52.


He also found that his great-great grandfather Ellis Dimmick was an unstable man that even the military couldn’t discipline.



Each episode is vastly different from the last, because each celebrity searches family history for a different reason. Sometimes the shows are funny, sometimes touching, but almost always intriguing. It often inspires others to look into their own background and find answers to questions they have about their own past.


Usually episodes show the celebrity traveling wherever the search leads, from city to city, and from census records to libraries to historians, who give them additional information. Their hunt draws you into the search, leading you to think, “Yes, I want to do this too. I want answers.”


The average person may not have the means of a celebrity who can hop on a plane and travel all around the country to trace his or her roots. But this is where Full Family Tree comes in. You can find a lot of missing information by connecting with relatives and filling in the gaps just by logging in and starting your own personal family tree. It could turn out that your Uncle Joe has done more leg work than most in the family, and wants to share what he’s accumulated, from birth certificates, to military records, to photographs.


Just like life, the show, Who Do You Think You Are, doesn’t always offer a rosy picture of the past, but it does encourage and validate your desire for wanting to know.


Tammy Ruggles

Tammy Ruggles is a freelance writer based in Kentucky. She enjoys art, photography, film, and spending time with family and friends.

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