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Who Do You Think You Are?

I just finished watching Stephen's episode of "Who Do You Think You Are." What an amazing experience!

First off, I expressed major squeeage early on. At the beginning of the show Stephen is showing puttering around what one assumes to be his home. The camera lingered on this shot for 4 or 5 seconds just as Stephen is talking about people's perceptions of him as "being made of tweed." I adore thinking that Stephen has a Jeeves statue of himself. Heh.
JeevesStatue.jpgClick thumbnail for larger picture.

Once Jeeves-related fangirliness could be put aside, I was interested to watch as I've been an amateur genealogist for 20+ years. I've successfully traced a number of family back many generations, even to the 1600s and 1700s. So I figured it would be fun and informative to see Stephen tracing his lines.

The beginning half hour or so was wonderful as he researched his English roots and found a jailbird and Dickensian workhouses and a great-grandfather who was a "master hairdresser." He was so touched by the difficult lives of his ancestors. And he did make reference to carrying on the "family tradition" of serving time in prison, which I found amusing and not at all unexpected...it was exactly what I expected him to say! Frankly, I thought it took him rather a long time to get it said at all!

The end of the show was incredibly moving. The whole story of his mother's family and their experiences during WWII was heartbreaking. I was particularly touched when he found the remembrance plaque on the outside of the house where his great-grandparents lived in Vienna.

I really understood when he talked about understanding history much clearer by understanding individual people's lives. For him, it was the Jews in WWII. For me, it's the Civil War as much of my father's family had been early settlers of South Carolina. Stephen found a generation of his extended family whose death details are "Auschwitz, 1944" or something similar. My extended family has a generation whose deaths are marked like "CSA, 1863."

Perhaps my favorite part of the entire show was seeing Stephen back at his parents' home sharing his newly gained knowledge of their heritage with the rest of his family. That brought back a lot of good memories of my doing the same with my family. I always felt honored to share the knowledge I'd gained to bring my parents and sisters a better understanding of where we all came from.

Anyone else seen this? What were your thoughts?

Comments

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envisogon
Feb. 14th, 2007 11:11 am (UTC)
I watched it too and it was so touching to see him learn about his family roots. I was thinking about the part in Moab about when he ranaway from home trying to find some answers on where he came from. I think after this He done found the answers and much more.
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