Opinion | Family

The Genealogy Gospel: Why We All Want to Know Our Family Tree

Two new TV shows highlight our hunger to know where we come from.

Regardless of their fame or fortune, no matter how many books or albums they've sold or level of influence they've achieved, never once had it occurred to me to be jealous of Reba McEntire or Rick Warren.

Yet there I sat, watching country singer McEntire on NBC'S Who Do You Think You Are? (Fridays, 8pm EST) and Pastor Warren on PBS's Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates (Sundays, 8pm EST), feeling the envy rise as they lived my dream—the dream of digging deep into family history.

if I had the spare change or moments, I'd sign up for Ancestry.com and whittle away the hours searching out my family tree. I'd travel to the American South like McEntire did, trying to piece together why my Danish great-grandfather moved his Swedish wife and young daughters out of Chicago, dragged them down to Alabama, and then disappeared. I'd head out West to Washington State to see if I could discern why my great-grandmother became a preacher—a Christian Scientist preacher. And then I'd explore ...

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Posted:May 3, 2012

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