Sunday, April 22, 2012

Finding Your Roots

I just finished watching the 6th episode of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on PBS. It featured the family histories of Robert Downey, Jr. and Maggie Gyllenhaal. I thought this particular show was absolutely fantastic and I'm trying to figure out why I liked it so much.
Both "stars" seemed to be genuinely interested in their family histories and in their DNA results.
Both family trees were traced waaay back in time. Both Robert and Maggie seemed genuinely surprised at how long some of their ancestors had lived in the U.S.
Maggie's family included Swedish royalty and a connection to Henry the first of England. The fact that she has a cousin who has spent years researching the Gyllenhaal line and hasn't contacted her was a bit troubling to me. Surely he must have tried contacting her, right?
The Eastern European history that was woven into the stories was also fascinating. It added credance to my theory that my husband's Swedish-Finn grandfather left Finland to avoid conscription into the Russian Army.
And I loved the footage of the county court records. I have no idea which courthouse was filmed, but it made me want to dig through some deed books!
What else did you like or dislike about this episode? Please click the "comment" button below and share your thoughts.

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