Video & Television

“Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.” Returns to PBS for a Second Season

The PBS Series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will return Tuesday, September 23 for its second season. The 10-part series explores the heritages and ancestries of 30 of today’s leading entertainers, athletes, chefs, and media personalities, including Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Khandi Alexander, Tom Colicchio, Tina Fey, Sally Field, Derek Jeter, Stephen King, Nas, Anna Deavere Smith, Sting, and Courtney Vance

According to an announcement issued by the television program’s producers:

“The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from was at the core of the first season of the PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. In the second, 10-part season, Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, continues his journey into the past to illuminate the familial histories of 30 of today’s most recognizable names in sports, music, film, television, theatre, and literature. Filmed on location around the world, season two of Finding Your Roots, premieres nationally Tuesdays, September 23rd – November 25th at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CST) on PBS (check local listings).”

Who Do You Think You Are? with Cynthia Nixon

The new season of Who Do You Think You Are? started this evening with an episode featuring actress Cynthia Nixon, best known for her portrayal of Miranda Hobbes in the HBO series, Sex and the City (1998–2004), the film, Sex and the City (2008), and its sequel, Sex and the City 2 (2010). She is an Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award winner.

Cynthia had asked the show’s producers to trace her father’s ancestry. Cynthia’s parents were divorced when she was young. Cynthia was raised primarily by her mother with her father having visiting rights on weekends. In the program, Cynthia mentioned that her father rarely talked about his family. Cynthia was curious about them. Indeed, the professional genealogists who performed the research for the television program found one very interesting ancestor: Cynthia’s great-great-great-grandmother murdered her husband with an ax and served hard time for the crime. Apparently, he had been a very abusive husband. A newspaper account hinted that his cruelty was far beyond what was common in those days, so horrible that the newspaper would not print the details.

Actress Cynthia Nixon to be Featured This Week on TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Cynthia Nixon, perhaps best known for her role as Miranda Hobbes on HBO’s Sex and the City, will be the celebrity guest on this week’s episode on the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? In her episode, the New York City-born actress traces her father’s family to Missouri. Through her research, she discovers a tale of murder but also of social reform.

In the story, Nixon makes stops in Jefferson City, Columbia, Leasburg and St. Louis.

Cynthia Nixon’s episode will be aired on July 23 at 9 p.m. EST/PST. Check your local listings for the time and channel number on your cable or satellite television service.


Reminder: the U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are? Returns This Week

The new season of Who Do You Think You Are? is launching on July 23rd with an outstanding cast on TLC. The series, which delves into the ancestral history of public figures and celebrities, will feature contributors including Valerie Bertinelli, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Lauren Graham, Kelsey Grammer, Rachel McAdams and her sister Kayleen McAdams, and Cynthia Nixon.

The fifth season premieres on July 23 at 9 p.m. EST/PST. Check your local listings for the channel near you.

Who Do You Think You Are? Marathon on TLC

If you missed some or all of last season’s episodes of the U.S. version of the Who Do You Think You Are? genealogy television program, you have an opportunity to view them later this month. TLC will rebroadcast all of Season 4’s episodes, one after another, on Sunday, July 20 and again on July 23. If you missed earlier episodes, you can watch them on July 20 or 23 or program your video recorder to capture the episodes for you.

In each episode, a celebrity explores his or her family tree in this seven-part profile series. In each episode, a star takes a globe-spanning journey of self-discovery to uncover the mysteries of his or her ancestral history. Their familial stories in turn shed light on events in American and world history.

Episodes that will be rebroadcast include:

U.S. Version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” Receives Primetime Emmy Nomination

The following announcement was written by the TLC Network:

TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are? was honored with its second Emmy nomination for Outstanding Structured Reality Program for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards. The series takes some of the most well-known names in America on a journey into their personal family histories, mining their surprising pasts to reveal unknown details about themselves and their families. The featured celebrity contributors share how the eye-opening revelations they uncover about their backgrounds impact their lives today.

“Genealogy Roadshow” Seeks St. Louis-area Participants for August 22 and 23 Videotaping

The TV show “Genealogy Roadshow,” which first premiered nationally on PBS stations last fall, is seeking local participants to share their families’ stories for season two. Final participants will be part of an episode taping in St. Louis Aug. 22 and 23.

Chosen stories will be researched by a team of local experts and will be linked to the larger community history, revealing the rich cultural tapestry of St. Louis, Missouri and America. Individuals with intriguing stories are encouraged to submit them online through the Nine Network website at

Cherie Blair’s Family Judged Too Boring For BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’

Cherie Blair’s family history was deemed “too boring” by genealogists researching for the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are? Despite being “thrilled” when she was approached to do the show, Blair has revealed the project was killed off because her ancestors “weren’t very interesting”.

Who Do You Think You Are? (UK Version) Announces 10 New Guest Stars

The original Who Do You Think You Are? television programme will enter its tenth year on the air this summer. Guests who will have their family history researched will include:

  • Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry
  • Comic Billy Connolly
  • Mrs Brown’s Boys creator Brendan O’Carroll
  • Actor Brian Blessed
  • Actor Martin Shaw
  • DJ and presenter Reggie Yates
  • Actress Tamzin Outhwaite
  • Actresses Julie Walters
  • Actress Sheridan Smith
  • Well-known model Twiggy

Who Do You Think You Are?’s Fifth Season on U.S. television Premieres on July 23

TLC Network has signed on for another season of Shed Media US-produced Who Do You Think You Are?, will return with six new episodes this summer. The series, which delves into the ancestral history of public figures and celebrities, will feature contributors including Valerie Bertinelli, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Lauren Graham, Kelsey Grammer, Rachel McAdams and her sister Kayleen McAdams, and Cynthia Nixon.

The fifth season premieres on July 23 at 9 p.m. EST/PST. Check your local listings for the channel near you.

Sir Tony Robinson Reviews Life Before World War I

In a video presentation, Sir Tony Robinson uses the records available today to get a better understanding of what life and times were like before World War I. If your ancestors lived in England at that time, you can obtain a better understanding of their lives, thanks to this video.

You can view the 44-minute video on the Blog at or on YouTube at or in the video player below.

Your Family Tree Explained

A cute YouTube video explains the mysteries of great-great-aunt, great-great-great-uncles, and of second cousins once removed. You can view the video at or in the video player below.

My thanks to newsletter reader Cheryl McGregor for telling me about the video.

PBS’s “Genealogy Roadshow” is looking for Philadelphia-area Residents

Want to have your family history researched by the experts at Genealogy Roadshow?

Last week I wrote about Genealogy Roadshow’s search for New Orleans-area residents who want to explore their family history on national TV. Today, I learned the program’s producers are also looking for Philadelphia area residents for the same purpose.

Genealogist Adds Photos to Memorials

Joe Tittie of Endicott, New York, has made it his personal mission to help local families preserve their history. He spent Memorial Day placing pictures on the memorials to honor those who lost their lives in the armed forces. He’s still missing some pictures and asks anyone who thinks they can help.

You can watch a short video about Joe Tittie’s efforts on the WICZ TV web site at (You will first be subjected to an obnoxious advertisement, however.)

Genealogy Roadshow Returns This Sunday on Irish Television

This is for newsletter readers in Ireland: ‘The Genealogy Roadshow’ is back on your screens from Sunday 11th May at 7pm on RTÉ One.

The series will be presented by Derek Mooney for a second time. The Roadshow’s historical and genealogical team help people trace their family’s roots and discover surprising stories from the past. The show’s team of experts include professional genealogists John Grenham and Susan Chadwick, as well as author-historian of the award-winning ‘Vanishing Ireland’ series, Turtle Bunbury.

British Pathé Collection of Historical Footage is now Available on YouTube

The videos feature news videos from Britain and also from many other countries. The collection includes the World’s Fair Parade of 1939, clips from World War I, the Miss World Pageant of 1969, as well as a number of reports and stories from across the globe from 1896 to 1976. You probably won’t find any of your ancestors in these videos, unless you are very lucky, but you will learn a lot about the world in which they lived and the events that shaped their lives.

One of the more interesting (?) videos was that of Arnold Schwarzenegger winning the Mr Universe competition in 1969, available at

“Find My Past” – a Television Program for the Travel Channel in the U.S.

Travel-LogoThe Travel Channel has unveiled plans to develop a diverse slate of new programming. Pilots for eight new original series have been given the green light for production. The one that caught my eye is a genealogy program, to be called “Find My Past.” The announcement was made by Shannon O’Neill, President, Travel Channel.

A Video Guide to Findmypast’s New Features

Findmypast Video Guide
Myko Clelland at findmypast has created a video guide to the new findmypast site. The video introduces some of the new features and explains some of the techniques which will help you discover even more about your family’s history. You can learn more in the findmypast blog at


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