Who Do You Think You Are & Hist Detectives

My Experience That Surrounds This Popular Show


 I assisted in supporting and providing Loyalist material for the creation of the new Genealogical TV program, "New Who Do You Think You Are?" Television Series! on NBC on Fridays: starting March 5 at 8PM (Eastern) 7PM. Friends actress, Lisa Kudrow, who is the executive producer of the show will be featured in the episodes, along with actors, Sarah Jessica Parker, Spike Lee, Mathew Broderick, Susan Sarandon, Emmitt Smith, and Brooke Shields.

This TV show is going to be very successful. I assisted them in Loyalist research a couple years ago (c. 2008). I had no idea it was going right through the roof. It is so good for genealogy. The Emmitt Smith episode really hits home for me because of my exciting experience last July 2009, I drove to Roswell New Mexico for the observance and anniversary of the UFO Crash there in 1947. On the way I stopped off in Mississippi to do research on my granddaughters African American side of her family and went into a 3 building, old plantation town of Pace, Mississippi, where I went into the town hall of 3 employees. The Mayor and two young clerks greeted me. After finding out there were no records in that town, I thanked the Mayor and started to leave that small country building. But suddenly I stopped at the door on my way out and something just told me to show the Mayor a keychain school photo of my granddaughter. In hand I turn and said to her, "I must show you my granddaughter's school photo." Mayor Mae Rose Johnson-Williams took the photo and said, "Oh, this little girl looks so familiar." I replied, "no, she was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts and had never been out of state. I than said, "that her grandparents came from here in their town of Pace and that they were, Rebecca Powell and Caine Bridges." Upon that statement, Mae Rose screamed out "Oh my God! This is my family; Oh my God, this is my family!" We suddenly jumped at each other and hugged as long lost relatives crying in eachothers embrace. The two young clerks also teared up with emotion. The chances of that one second turning around to show her my granddaughter's photo was probably a million to one chance because that day was also the last day in office for Mae Rose as mayor. If I walked out that door, or came a day later, we would have never met. I went on to surrounding towns where the family lived and died like Rosedale, Mississippi to find the entire area was where much of our Jazz and Blues grew from. I found old places where Muddy Waters sang and lived, close family friendships with BB King, and where the Harmonica was from (Minter City, Miss.), and so many others like Elvis Presely were influenced by this historical birthplace of so much American music. Now, I have found hundreds of my granddaughter's relatives in Mississippi, Massachusetts, Illinois and New Hampshire, the last state where we live and 45 minutes from one of my granddaughters cousins. Genealogy is truly an adventure and sometimes I think; no, I know, that our ancestors help us find our family links.


The above historical marker reads:

Dockery Plantation

Established by Will Dockery in 1895 and operated 1937-1982 by Joe Rice Dockery. Included a post office, commissary, and cotton gin. The plantation once employed Charley Patton, a legendary blues musician, who inspired suce greats as Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, B.B. King, and Elvis Presley.



TV show, History Detectives, by Lion Television of New York. Now co-produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting & Lion TV.  http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/   now   

I was contacted in the early days just before the show started by Lion Television, New York, NY asking me for guidance in Loyalist research. The case they were investigating was Loyalist Daniel Dunham of Saratoga, NY, 1777 who served under GeneralJohn  Bourgoyne (b. 24 Feb. 1722 d. 4 Aug. 1792)Burgoyne is best known for his role in the American War of Independence. During the Saratoga Campaigne he surrendered his army of 5,000 men to the American troops on October 17, 1777. Appointed to command a force designated to capture Albany and end the rebellion, Burgoyne advanced from Canada but soon found himself surrounded and outnumbered. He fought two battles at Saratoga, but was forced to open negotiations with Horatio Gates. Although he agreed to a convention, on 17 October 1777, which would allow his troops to return home, this was subsequently revoked and his men were made prisoners. Burgoyne faced criticism when he returned to Britain, and never held another active command. 

Daniel Dunham ended up losing all his property, farm and mill in New York. In 1783 he landed at Saint John, Nova Scotia (New Brunswick) Canada and given a city lot. His family latter migrated to Brockville, Ontario, Canada where History Detectives put together the remaining family history.