Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Who Do You Think You Are?" Series is coming - are we ready for it?

Who are these ladies, and why are they on my genealogy blog? Who do they think they are? Are they my cousins? I can hardly wait to find out!

The long-awaited press release announcing the NBC television series "Who Do You Think You Are?" was distributed yesterday - you can read the whole thing on Leland Meitzler's GenealogyBlog.

NBC Television has a web page up (but with lots of "lorem ipsum" words) here. The show will be produced by Lisa Kudrow and star Sarah Jessica Parker and Susan Sarandon. The first episode will air on Monday, 20 April at 8 p.m. The announcement implies that the first "stories" will be about the ancestry of Lisa, Sarah and Susan.

What does this mean for the genealogy industry and user community? Here are my thoughts:

* A lot of good exposure for genealogy research (hopefully good!). Methods, resources, and use of technology likely will be featured.

* Information about US and world history events that impacted the lives of our ancestors.

Useful research tips for current genealogy researchers.

* A huge swelling of interest in genealogy research from viewers and local media. Are our genealogy societies fully prepared to handle this interest?

* An opportunity for marketing by genealogy companies - software, databases, social networking, publications, technology. Will there be advertising for,,, GenealogyBank, Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic, The Master Genealogist, the Family History Library, NEHGS, NGS, APG, RootsTelevision, etc?

* An opportunity for professional researchers to offer their services. They need to alert local repositories of their availability and expertise.

What should local and regional genealogy societies be doing to prepare for the anticipated swelling of interest after the series starts?

* Have volunteers ready to help inquirers one-on-one with their research.

* Have beginning genealogy classes ready to roll after 20 April.

* Have a list of speakers with "how-to" presentations available for local social groups (churches, libraries, senior centers, service groups, veterans groups, etc.) to tap.

* Be prepared for media inquiries about "how-to" and the benefits of joining a local society.

What do you think about these issues? What's going to happen in the genealogy world? What else can societies do to help inquirers learn and succeed?

I'm really looking forward to seeing just how "politically correct" these shows will be. I'm also really curious to see if I'm related to these ladies of Monday nights.

I'm wondering if there isn't a reality TV show lurking in this genre - sort of a "Survivor: Family Tree" where researchers are voted out of the Archives or FHL after failing at a research task. How about a reality show called "The Genealogist" where the subject goes through interviews and dates to pick out the researcher of his/her ancestral dreams.


Becky Thompson said...

I love your new ideas, Randy! Reality shows, etc! Maybe they'll come along.

Kathryn Lake Hogan said...

Greetings Randy,
Thanks for posting about this upcoming show. I have been keeping my eye open for it. We had a Canadian version of WDYTYA on CBC last year. I loved it! It profiled famous Canadians such as Randy Bachman, Don Cherry and Measha Brueggergosman. Although the show was popular, CBC decided to cancel it. Let's hope this doesn't happen to the US version.

Jennifer said...

Actually, I can totally see the family resemblance between you and the fair lasses....

Runaground said...

I would love to see a WDYTYA on President and First Lady Obama and their families!

And btw, love your blog!

Sheri Fenley said...

It is so exciting to think of all that can happen from this show. My frame of mind lately had been glum, but I now feel sparks in my Mojo lighting up!