March 5th, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are Sarah Jessica Parker?

Genealogy research can change everything about who you think you are! As I watched the opening credits, while they showed clips from the upcoming season, I found myself growing more and more excited for these people about to embark on the most intriguing adventure. They will be going back in time to discover who they are and where they came from, and understanding a little more about themselves.

I shared Sarah’s excitement when she sat down with her brother and talked about what she might find. Her journey started with a conversation with her mother, a good place to start for anyone looking for their ancestry. Her mom had a lot of pictures and names that gave Sarah a place to start, Cincinnati.

Make friends with the public library genealogist, she might be the link to your past. A visit to the library made it abundantly clear that you can’t take just one piece of information and declare it the truth. Sarah found a mystery in her ancestry. The obituary of her great great great grandfather stated that his father died in 1849 in California but when they searched further they found he showed up in the 1850 census. So it’s so important to research more than one source and cross reference so you can get down to the truth.

Searching her genealogy led to heartbreak when she found out that her great great great great grandfather John S, Hodge got sick and died in 1850 while mining for gold in California. When you start this incredible journey of research your hopes are high and the excitement overwhelms, but the lows can be incredibly low too. I felt for Sarah when she thought of her great great great grandfather not knowing his father, growing up without him.

For me that’s the part of genealogy research that makes it so intriguing. The lives of these ancestors are played out in your head like a movie, but unlike a movie, their pain was real, their joys were real and their lives were real.

The fascinating thing too was how far back Sarah was able to go with that one branch of her family tree. Her ancestor, Robert Elwell was the first Elwell in America and his children were involved with the salem witch trials.

History has come alive for Sarah Jessica Parker through her genealogy research. Watching her relate all the information to her mother about what she found out about this previously unknown branch of her family tree renewed my own desire to continue searching for my family history.

What a family history, Gold Rush, Salem Witch Trials, what amazing links to the past and the history of America. Sarah Jessica Parker said she never really felt that she was American… well Sarah, you can’t get more American than this… her family has real roots in America.

Sarah Jessica Parker is a delightful, gracious person and I enjoyed watching her story unfold.

Well, I have to do a little research now too, why not get started on your search as well. Check out these websites and start a search. Also, download a family tree template so you can keep track of the names you find. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be adding 24 more pages of family tree templates categorized and free for downloading! Another project I am very excited about.

So tell me, what did you think of the first show of Who Do You Think You Are?