Video & Television

Dick Eastman Discusses How Tech Has Changed The Family History Industry

DE-Ancestry-InterviewI recently had the pleasure of talking with Jessica Murray of She and I discussed a number of genealogy-related topics, including the availability of apps on your mobile and tablet devices, saving many hours by verifying research, the quality of software, and how blogging technology has revolutionized genealogy.

You can view a video of our conversation in the Blog at

Minnie Driver Season Finale on the U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are? Wednesday on TLC

This week will be the season finale for the U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are? In this episode, Minnie Driver sets out to learn more about her secretive father and traces the highs and lows of his career in the Royal Air Force during World War II. Through military documents, she comes to understand why her father was the way he was, and how his combat experience impacted the rest of his life. Then, since Minnie never met her paternal grandparents, she follows the trail in England until she comes face-to-face with the very first relative she’s ever met on her father’s side, and finds a kindred spirit in a family member she never knew about.

‘Genealogy Roadshow’ in St. Louis This Weekend

PBS Television’s “Genealogy Roadshow” will be shooting episodes for its 2015 season in St. Louis this weekend. People who were selected after submitting their genealogy profiles and questions online will be filmed getting the “reveal” of their family history, as uncovered by the show’s researchers.

Everyone is invited to meet with local genealogy groups and watch the filming. You can read more in an article in the web site at

Kelsey Grammer’s Episode on the U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are?

This week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featured Kelsey Grammer as the guest celebrity looking for his family tree. A five-time Emmy Award winner, Kelsey Grammer is the first actor in television history to receive multiple Emmy nominations for performing the same role on three series. Grammer is known for his two-decade portrayal of psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane on the NBC sitcoms Cheers and Frasier. This week, he became a typical American who wants to know more about his ancestry.

Jennifer Utley, an family historian, worked with Grammer in this episode. Grammer tells Jennifer that he was raised by his grandmother, Evangeline, after his parents divorced. His starting point in exploring family history was trying to learn more about why Evangeline’s parents didn’t raise her. In California, Grammer learns that his grandmother’s parents were from Northern California, and as the digging continues, Grammer finds out he has ancestors who lived in Oregon. Other experts in San Francisco and in Oregon contributed their expertise on camera as well.

Kelsey Grammer to be Guest Celebrity on This Week’s U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are?

Kelsey Grammer will take a trip into the past to explore his grandmother’s family. In this week’s Who Do You Think You Are? Grammer uncovers the story of a woman haunted by demons, and finds a connection to family who risked everything in one of the greatest migrations in American history.

The episode will be broadcast tomorrow night, August 20 at 9/8c. Check your local television listings for the channel and time in your location. The episode will be available soon after on iTunes and later still on other Internet television sites.

In addition to this season’s new premieres, TLC has also acquired episodes from previous seasons of the series, marking their first debut on cable. Tomorrow night will feature encores of Reba McEntire’s episode at 8/9c, and Vanessa Williams’ episode at 10/9c.

Next week Minnie Driver’s episode will air as the season finale on August 27. Next week’s encore episodes will include Tim McGraw and Rita Wilson.

Valerie Bertinelli’s Episode on the U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are?

This week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featured Valerie Bertinelli, the Hot in Cleveland star. Unlike some of the past episodes with other celebrities, Valerie traced two different branches of her family tree: one on her father’s Italian ancestry and another on her mother’s Colonial American ancestry that was then traced back into England and ended with an ancestor most people have heard of: Edward the First, King of England from 1239 to 1307.

I do have to think the show’s producers ran out of time to provide further generations. Edward the First’s ancestry is well documented: his parents were King Henry III and Eleanor of Provence and their ancestry has been documented further back for several more generations. However, nothing prior to Edward the First was mentioned in the program.

Valerie Bertinelli’s Italian ancestry was perhaps more interesting, where she learned more about her beloved grandmother’s whose early years were not known to the rest of the family. Perhaps even more interesting was the story of her grandmother’s mother, Maria, an incredibly strong woman who overcame great odds. A young widow, she left Italy with her two small children at beginning of Word War I and settled in Pennsylvania. She then married for a second time. The woman escaped being murdered by her second husband, Gregorio, by pretending to be dead after being shot. Her husband then stepped into a second bedroom and committed suicide.

Wednesday’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” with Valerie Bertinelli

Valerie Bertinelli examining family photos with her parents. Click on the above image to view a much larger version.

This week’s U.S. version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” promises to be interesting. 1980s sitcom star Valerie Bertinelli will embark on a mission to learn more about her Italian grandmother and discovers her grandmother’s mother, an incredibly strong woman who overcame great odds. But the biggest surprises are on Valerie’s maternal side, since her mother knows nothing about her own roots. Traveling to England, Valerie uncovers previously unknown connections to the Quakers, early Pennsylvania history, and even the British aristocracy.

“Who Do You Think You Are?” with Rachel McAdams & Kayleen McAdams

Click on the above image to view a much larger version.

I had a chance this evening to watch the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? on TLC. This week’s episode featured Canadian actress Rachel McAdams and her sister Kayleen McAdams. The two were shown researching their mother’s family tree. Unlike many of the past episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? the sisters were able to research (with a lot of assistance from professional genealogists) two different branches of their mother’s ancestry.

They first traced their ancestry back to a couple in England who apparently met when both were employed as servants in a mansion near Plymouth, England. I was pleased to see an old friend, Paul Drake, featured as the history and genealogy expert in Plymouth. Paul produced a number of documents showing the family and their employment. Paul also mentioned that the mansion is still standing so the sisters soon visited the place and learned more at the place where their ancestors worked and first met.

Rachel McAdams & Kayleen McAdams to be featured in This Week’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Click on the above image to view a much larger version.

This week’s U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? will feature Rachel and Kayleen McAdams. Rachel McAdams is a Canadian actress with a long list of appearances and awards. You can learn more about her in Wikipedia at Kayleen is Rachel’s younger sister.

In this week’s episode, the sisters will discover an English ancestor surrounded by a privileged world, but forced to separate from those he loved. Rachel and Kayleen then connect with relatives uprooted by war, and uncover the harrowing circumstances behind their Canadian roots.

The program will air on TLC on Wednesday, August 6, at 9PM ET/PT. Check your local listings for the channel number and exact time near you.

This Week’s Who Do You Think You Are? Episode is Now Available on iTunes

If you missed Wednesday evenings episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring Jesse Tyler Ferguson, you can now watch it online on iTunes for $2.99.

Who Do You Think You Are? Features Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Tonight’s episode of the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? featured Jesse Tyler Ferguson, an American actor known for portraying Mitchell Pritchett on the ABC sitcom, Modern Family. He has earned 5 nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. However, he knew little about his family history. In the first part of the program, Jesse states that he wanted to fill out his “family stump” to convert it into a family tree. He started by interviewing his own father in his home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The program’s professional genealogists undoubtedly traced all of Jesse’s ancestors they could find earlier; but featuring all of them on one program would have resulted in a show that was many, many hours too long. Instead, the producers selected the most interesting person they could find in the family tree and focused on him.

Jesse’s great-grandfather was Jesse Wheat Uppercu. Jesse Tyler Ferguson always knew that he was named after his grandmother, but he did not know that she had been named after her father, the younger Jesse’s great-grandfather. The older Jesse had a long and illustrious career but not all of it was upstanding.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson Retraces the Alaskan Trail on “Who Do You Think You Are?”

On Wednesday’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are (WDYTYA), Jesse Tyler Ferguson will look for information on his ancestors. Jesse is known for portraying Mitchell Pritchett on the ABC sitcom Modern Family, a role that has garnered him 5 Emmy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.

Jesse ends up following the path of his great-grandfather took on the Alaskan trail in 1898. It appears that the expedition was part by boat and part by pack horse. It was at that time when many people were headed to Alaska because of the discovery of gold. Temperatures in Alaska can and did change quickly dooming many expeditions of people who were no prepared for the trip.

WDYTYA airs at 9 p.m. Eastern, 8 p.m. Central.

You can watch a video about this week’s episode at or in the video player below:

“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”.


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