Saturday, March 27, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are?

My wife and I have been watching installments of "Who Do You Think You Are" on NBC on Friday evenings. It's fair to say its much more than an advertisement for, as producer Lisa Kudro has managed to put together some intriguing stories of various celebrities discovering their roots, making connections, and filling in gaps in half-remembered family histories.

After spending the first few minutes of each show disdainfully complaining that rich movie stars don't need to be treated to the exhaustive work of teams of archivists and genealogiststhey can afford to hire people like thatwe settle in for what always turns out to be a suspenseful and touching story.

Of special note to Civil War buffs are the episodes on Emmitt Smithdescended from slaves, and slave ownersand Friday's (yesterday's) episode with Matthew Broderick. Broderick, of course, portrayed Colonel Shaw in what is still one of the best Civil War movies ever made, Glory, but he never knew about his own Civil War ancestor.

I heartily recommend watching the Broderick episode on or through iTunes when you get a chance. It's pretty fascinating. Not only does he discover some amazing facts about his grandfather on the battlefields of WWI, Broderick follows another ancestor, on his mother's side, from Gettysburg to Peachtree Creek. The end of that journey is both surprising, and deeply moving.

I won't spoil it here.

In the photo above, Matthew Broderick with Gordon Jones, director of the Atlanta History Center, who graciously spent a lot of time with The Civil War Forum when we visited Atlanta a couple years ago.


Chris Evans said...

Thanks for the link. I really enjoyed watching the Broderick episode. I found it really fascinating and neat to see all of the American military history woven in. I wish they could have had Broderick go to Gettysburg as there is a monument to his ancestor's regiment, 20th Ct., there. Also, it would have been neat for them to show the scene that you have the picture of with Broderick holding the musket. That didn't make the final show unfortunately.
Thanks again,

Stang said...

Haven't watched the MB episode yet but I need to. Funny about my "connections" with these 2 episodes. I am from Pensacola, as is Emmitt and I have Watson's in my line. Go through Burnt Corn a couple of times a year and to the Monroe County Courthouse for research purposes. And I had an ancestor that was killed at the Battle of Peachtree Creek, although he fought for the other side :)