Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Who Do You Think You Are (US)

According to Reuters
If exploring the lives of celebrities seems a little tired, NBC has a solution: Find their relatives.

The network is developing an American version of the hit British series "Who Do You Think You Are," where stars are shown the oft-surprising details of their ancestors' lives.

In the UK version, the series uncovered backstories included tales of bigamy, wartime heroism and, in one case, attempted murder. Celebrity participants often are brought to tears as they learn about their relatives' hardships.
Randy presents a few ideas for celebrities, and asks "Who would you suggest? Who do you want to know the ancestry of?"

While it appears the UK version has focused on celeb's ancestral hardships, my personal choice would be Patrick Swayze. He's going through some personal hardships right now, and it would be great to uncover some information about his deep ancestry for him.

OK, who am I kidding? Depending upon how far back they go, his ancestors are mine. This is a selfish desire. And in that v(e/a)in, I'd like them to focus on proving or disproving the ancestry that OneWorldTree provides:

Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400)
Thomas Chaucer (1367-1434)
Alice Chaucer (1385-1475)
Joan De La Pole (1436-)
Mary Stoner (1461-)
William Barantyn (1481-1550)
Margaret Barentyn (1500-1547)
Margaret Harcourt (1554-) *
Richard Of Astley Chamberlayne (1555-1601) *
Robert Chamberlain (1590-1639)
Joanna Chamberlain (1620-1711)
Mary Betts (1654-1734)
Judge Samuel Swayze (1689-1759)
Samuel Swayze Jr. (1712-1784)
Samuel Swayze (1737-1800)
James Swayze (1774-1840)
Alexander P Swayze (1808-1849)
James Wesley Swayze (1840-1893)
Jesse E Swayze (1890-1925)
Jesse Wayne Swayze (1925-1982)
Patrick Wayne Swayze (1952-)

* (obviously if these entries are accurate, the dates of birth/death are off a bit)

Joanna Chamberlain is the earliest ancestor the researchers at have accepted, but their descent from Joanna matches OneWorldTree's. I should be happy with tracing a line back to 1620, but the potentiality the earlier ancestors present is too juicy. So, if the researchers NBC hires could carry it any further back, I would be *most* appreciative. It should be noted that Joan De La Pole is the daughter of William De La Pole, the first Duke of Suffolk, who gets mentioned in Shakespeare's Henry VI Parts I and II. That could make it even more 'compelling'.

Another fun guest might be Craig Newmark of Craigslist fame. Assuming not all celebrities are of the Hollywood type. Despite his surname he is not a known kin, though one never knows what one will find out in the future, so any research done for him might benefit me at some point.

Other than these two selfish interests, my only hope is that they find some interesting stories to encourage more people to research their history.

"When a society or a civilization perishes, one condition can always be found. They forgot where they came from." - Carl Sandburg

"If you can't get rid of the family skeleton, you might as well make it dance." - George Bernard Shaw


Anonymous said...

ah, I'm not all that much fun.


Anonymous said...


But you are the only individual with my surname who has acquired enough of a celebrity factor for the show to research. ( the live individual category, there's always the Canadian Pianist, or the British twins, but they're not alive.)