Have you ever watched an episode of the phenomenally successful BBC show Who Do You Think You Are ? and wonder why these celebrities appear to have such interesting origins ? Perhaps you’ve thought to yourself if only my own ancestral background was half as interesting ?
Who Do You Think You Are ? has now racked up 12 series on BBC TV, as well as a host of international spin-offs, a magazine and a 3 day annual live show attracting countless thousands of would-be family historians. It has popularised family history by making it interesting to all.
Well here’s a little secret about the celebs chosen – they’re no different to you and me ! It is true that from time to time celebs have been approached to appear on the show but have had to be ‘rejected’ because they didn’t have a sufficiently interesting family history to create an hour of good television. But for the most part their stories are not so very different to our own. The show is able to be highly selective about the particular family line chosen. Think of it this way – we each have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grandparents. That’s 16 different family branches and sixteen different stories that can be told. With a bit of informed research there’s every chance that engaging stories can be identified in some of our own family bloodlines. It could be about migration or the military, about poverty or oppression, or one of entrepreneurship or invention. If records were kept, then they can usually be uncovered !
I’d encourage everyone with an interest in their family history to look beyond the obvious in 2016 and explore different branches of their family. It might just throw up an engaging story, worthy of a WDYTYA episode, and bring your family history to life.