09 April 2007

Who Do You Think You Are, now airing in Israel

Without fanfare, the very popular British genealogy series "Who Do You Think You Are" began airing a few weeks ago on Israeli TV. It is on nearly every night, and we're now watching the second session.

When I saw it while channel surfing, I was frankly surprised since no mention had been made in Israel's English-language press.

It is quite an impressive series. I've had guests watch the show with me, none of whom had ever thought much about family history. After seeing the show, every guest asked me family-history questions, and I think perhaps they now understand what I do and why I do it.

Perhaps the best parts of the show are when the British celebrities featured in the episode say that they don't know anything, don't care to know anything, and then gradually become caught up in the chase for their roots. They visit places in the UK, and also travel to other countries in pursuit of family knowledge.

The show's low-key approach to what can be a somewhat obsessive hobby seems to hook viewers, lighting their imaginations as to what they can learn about their own ancestors.

Ah, the wonders of television. Each of the people featured in an episode shows up at various record offices and archives, innocently asks for a marriage, census or birth record and, in a few seconds, is handed the requested information. The celebrities, of course, always seem to find parking spots directly in front of whatever records office they are visiting and there are never any lines at the window.

In Israel, it is on YES cable's Reality channel (29) at 8.30 p.m. most evenings, followed by a repeat at 1.30 a.m.

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