Saturday, February 19, 2011

Some quick thoughts on the third episode of WDYTYA

  • I've thought it before but I like how there's always one or two family members of these celebrities who help them on their family research journey - someone else who holds information important to starting the search or someone else interested in hearing about what that person finds out. A love of family history is something my dad and I share and so I can relate to the whole family history search bringing you closer to the family already in your life.
  • Along that same line, so many of these celebrities, and I think also some of us, use their genealogy search as a way to get close to immediate family members they lost, like Matthew Broderick and his dad last season, and Rosie O'Donnell and her mom last night. Looking into their person's family tree is a way to stay connected to loved ones who are gone or who we might never have known very well.
  • Rosie's family history is very similar to my own, as we are both Irish Catholics from Long Island, so it was very interesting to see what steps in her research that she took that I had already taken, and I was also paying attention to anything she did that I never thought to do, so I can use it in my own research!
  • New York City Municipal Archives shout-out! Rosie went there to look up some info on her family and I have been there many a times to look for birth, marriage, and death certificates - LOVE that place!
  • Some people hit nothing but dead ends, and obviously a show like this isn't going to follow people who can't find anything on their trees, but how lucky for Rosie that she found so much information about the people she was looking for - obits with dates and place names, baptismal records in Montreal and in County Kildare, Ireland. Persistence and serendipity, I tell ya...
  • I knew nothing about those workhouses that her Murtagh relatives lived in before emigrating, but how sad and awful those places must have been! Many of my Irish ancestors actually remained in Ireland long after the potato famine, coming to New York in the late 19th century, but my immigrant ancestor James Gorry and his wife's family, the Corrs, left Ireland during that time period. Such a devastatingly awful piece of Irish history - I can't even imagine what it must have been like to live through.
  • Oh my God, I can't believe Rosie was able to identify the woman in that photo that had hung in her play room as a child! Talk about serendipity!
  • And last but not least, of course I cried, the most I have so far this season, at pretty much every part, but I guess the part I'll single out is how Rosie was able to put the pain of losing her mother at a young age in perspective to the struggles and pain her Murtagh relatives went through and how everything they went through was why she is the person she is today (we'll forget for a moment that rumor has it the person she is isn't so nice...)
Next week, Kim Cattrall...looks like another good one!

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