Friday, April 30, 2010

Season Finale of WDYTYA?

Tonight at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City I attended a Finale Party for the first season of Who Do You Think You Are? hosted by principal sponsor Ancestry.com. If you saw it you know it featured Spike Lee. So, until next fall there will be no new episodes.

Representatives of Ancestry.com told us that they have received reports from many parts of the country that family history researcher traffic is up from both seasoned genealogists and neophytes.

In order to get ready for this season's seven episodes their research team spent over 6,000 hours. They originally explored 20 lives. The ones they abandoned were not because they were not interesting but because of scheduling conflicts with the stars. An average of 460 hours of researcher time were spent on each of the 7 episodes that made it on the air. Tonight's final episode required more than that average.

Wow, what could we have done in class on "Who Do You Think You Are Deb Festa?" if we could have invested 460 hours on researching her life? As Sarah Jessica Parker would say, "Unbelievable!"

[Note to those who were not in my class this Spring: I did a take off on WDYTYA? in the last class session when we were studying Italy and France. I traced the grandfather of Deb Festa, one of the students, from Italy to PA to CA and then the grandmother from England to PA to CA where they were married. Then I traced the grandmother's trip back to England to take Deb's father and aunt back to England to visit the Grandmother's prior home in Cornwell to meet her English family when the children were about 8 or 9. This was a few days after Sarah Jessica's episode had first aired and so Deb's role in class was to exclaim, "Unbelievable! after each new revelation. We had great fun with this format.]

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