1) Pretend that you are one of the subjects on the Who Do You Think You Are? show on NBC TV.
2) Which of your ancestors (maximum of two) would be featured on your hour-long show? What stories would be told, and what places would you visit?
3) Tell us about it on your own blog, in comments to this blog post, or in a Note or Comment on Facebook.
My episode will kick off the "Ordinary People" season of WDYTYA, all of the celebrities in the US either having been featured in previous seasons or having declined to be on the show.
After the opening credits the scene will be the annual 4th of July picnic in my backyard where I'll be surrounded by grandchildren hanging onto my every word as I tell stories of their ancestors. I'll pause when I finish telling of Anna's life, sigh deeply and say, "But, alas, Anna was adopted and 'though I've searched these many years I have no idea who her biological parents were."
The cameras will then follow me inside where we'll sit at my newly purchased kitchen table (after one look at my old battered the table the production crew decided it simply would not do!) and the camera will pan across the pile of letters and other documents that I have, focusing finally on this picture of a Camfield family gathering. Anna is on the far right and they zoom in on her.
I will be driven the 25 miles to Syracuse and the next scene will show me walking into the Onondaga County courthouse, where I'll be met by a professional genealogist who will very somberly explain that in the 1850's sometimes there simply were no records made of informal adoptions. The camera will pan back to me as I wipe a tear from the corner of my eye.
Seeing my disappointment, the professional genealogist tells me that they have found something on my great-great-grandfather, Michael Camfield. I perk right back up and exclaim, "Oh, how wonderful! I can't believe it!" The cameras follow us as we walk across town to the Erie Canal Museum.
There I am given a quick tour and told more about the canal and what Mike's life would have been like guiding horeses and mules along the canal. (I already know all of this of course, but the history of the canal makes for good TV.) We then walk to the Onondgaga County Historical Society where I am shown a magical document. I gasp and exclaim, "Oh my God, I can't believe it!" (I have no idea what the document is, if I did I'd have already shared it!)
I'll now be told that they have found when and where Mike entered the US and I'll be shown waving from the window of a Greyhound bus on my way to New York City and Castle Garden.
Walking up to the entrance we'll bump into Steve Danko and Lisa Alzo having their picture taken together in front of the entrance. It turns out that they will be helping me on this leg of my journey! They'll show me Mike's ship manifest which will reveal his correct surname and I'll exclaim, "I never imagined that spelling! How on earth did you find this!" Right on cue, Blaine Bettinger joins us and expains yDNA to the audience and tells how they actually determined the correct surname by testing the DNA of one of my male Camfield cousins, entering the details of the test into a DNA search engine and finding a match!
After that excitement I'll look again at the document and I'll gasp and squeal again, "Oh my God, there are his parents, brother and sister too!" I will then be shown a photo of a painting of a ship in the general class that Mike traveled and told how lucky I am that I have been chosen to repeat his journey. The cameras will follow me as I head for the dock and my own Trans-Atlantic journey. I'll be traveling steerage, just as my ancestors did and the camera will pan away from me as I stow my few belongings in a corner of the hold. I'll be heard screaming, "Oh, no! Please don't leave me here in these deplorable conditions! I want to fly!" as the scene fades to a commercial for Ancestry.com.
The cameras will pick me back up at the dock in Le Harvre, France and from there I'll be whisked away to the Alsace-Lorraine region on the border of France and Germany. There I will be shown walking the hillsides as I make my way to the home of the Camfield cousin with whom we were able to get a DNA match. Our meeting is very touching and will pull at the heart strings of the audience. (We may need several takes to get the perfect emotional balance for TV.)
The show will conclude with shots of me flying home in my coach seat reflecting on all that I've learned, what a wonderful journey it's been and how it has changed my life forever.
Next time on WDYTYA............