Saturday, July 26, 2014

WDYTYA? Followup

If you are interested in more information on the story of Cynthia Nixon which aired on this season's first episode of the US version of Who Do You Think You Are? on TLC on Wednesday evening, I have a couple of suggestions for going deeper. If you missed the show when it was first aired, you can watch a recap online at the TLC site. Two respected bloggers offer you a chance to explore the most explosive event in Cynthia's family history in more detail. 

Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, covered legal aspects of the case and turns it into a legal thriller where you get to come up with your own verdict.

Roberta Estes, DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy discussed missed opportunities for researching deeper -- particularly with DNA.

Dr. D has long wondered why Ancestry continues to miss opportunities to market its DNA testing product. The company offers one of the three most used DNA testing programs in the US. However, no DNA test reports made it into any of the episodes of the program last season -- a trend that has continued through episode 1 this season. We are only offered about 42 minutes of content in each episode. A little of that is used to remind us what happened before commercial breaks in case our short term memory is a little challenged. 

One of the biggest challenges of the show is to film around the availability of the guest celebrities. Since it takes several weeks to get DNA tests back from the lab and to identify other potential relatives whose DNA reports might match, it is challenging from a time perspective to include such testing. Still, since is the lead corporate sponsor, one would think DNA testing could be fitted in somewhere -- at least in some episodes. Is it possible that the DNA testing package being offered by Ancestry is not as conducive to genetic analysis as the tools offered by some of its competitors?


  1. I have long suspected that WDYTYA actually works just the opposite of how it is broadcast. First, a genealogist finds some interesting historic person, and THEN they find someone famous who is descendant from that person so that they can tell an interesting story. It would be difficult to follow that same process with DNA.

  2. Hi Stan,

    Thank you for reading my blog and for your comment.

    I have had a very small assignment to research one of the celebrities who will be featured next month. Everything I have experienced suggests that the celebrities were selected first and then research is conducted.