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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: Blair Underwood ancestry- SCOTT/HUMBLE

My impression of the Blair Underwood episode of WDYTYA and commentary on the AA genealogist "dilemma".

I thoroughly enjoyed the genealogical research aspects of the Blair Underwood episode. However, as a somewhat seasoned researcher (old :D ) the part(s) that turned me off were the over marketing of and obivous pitch for their (Ancestry) introduction into the field of DNA testing. And of course the lack of any "on-screen" AA presence in aiding Mr. Underwood in his research.

I do understand as being the major sponsor for the series and their right to sell their product and to use the researchers of their choice, but it is annoying to continually see how "easy" research is pitched in the commercials and then backed-up as they skip from segment to segment showing their discoveries in such an "oh, by the way look what we found" manner. And I have to wonder if any any of the multitude of outstanding AA genealogists and family historian's in the Virginia area were contacted and/or utilized since so much of Mr. Underwood's story was researched in Virginia.

The show was informative in the use of record sets and a glimpse into the life of FPOC not previously shown in the AA celebrity episodes. It went beyond the death certificate of his ancestor in a State institution with newspaper articles and documents helping to explain the situation. And then it touched briefly on Mr. Underwood's FPOC ancestors and one situation of AA's as slave owners. A teaching moment mentioned, but under-explained.

The DNA portion of the show, clearly a selling point for's "new testing" (?) entry into that field left me baffled. At what cost is/was the level of testing done for Mr. Underwood? Is it the same level as what is being advertised by .... Wasn't it stated that he met a 10th cousin? Was the connection thru only the Y-DNA of Mr. Underwood's paternal line? The DNA questions probably couldn't be explained in the allotted time frame, but some indication of a genealogical connection IMHO would have been informative.

Now, all of that to say this was one of the better, if not best WDYTYA show I've viewed.

Art Thomas

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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