The successful celebrity family tree reality series “Who Do You Think You Are?” that aired on NBC has just released Season 1 on video. You can now look at the family history search of Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Brook Shields, Emmitt Smith, Susan Sarandon, Spike Lee and Lisa Kudrow.

Who Do You Think You Are videoI believe the show was a hit because of the ever increasing popularity of genealogical research just as the show has generated even more interest in the subject.

To understand who you are you need to know where you came from—at least this is true for many people.  In the series, the celebrities share their life-changing discoveries as they work with talented professional genealogists whose passion for their subject inspires people to start their own research.

Although they are all fascinating I personally think Matthew Broderick’s story was the most compelling. You witness the process that helps him unlock his family’s mysteries, with the discovery of his ancestors’ roles in World War 1 and the Civil War. Broderick travels to battlefields in France and to the Civil War South where he finds a lost ancestor in a numbered grave.

Sarah Jessica Parker of “Sex and the City” fame finds an ancestor who leads back to the Salem witch trials. We learn how terrible these witch trials were and how people were unfairly labeled witches.

Emmitt Smith, of the Dallas Cowboys, has an emotional journey following his slave ancestors to Benin and Spike Lee, film director, producer, writer and actor,  meets a relative he didn’t know he had.

The TV show was so popular that it has been brought back for another season with the second season premiering on  Friday, February 4 at 8 p.m. ET.

The new season will feature Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Rosie O’Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie, Vanessa Williams, and Ashley Judd. As with the previous season, I’m sure there will be some surprising revelations with links to events in American history.

Hat’s off to Ancestry.com and the very skilled genealogical researchers who deserve a huge shout-out for making it all look so easy throughout the entire series.

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